X-Men #62 (1969, November)
I have nothing interesting to say here today. So, let’s just get to “Strangers In A Savage Land!”
It starts with Angel being attacked by Pterodactyls. One of them hits a glancing blow, and he struggles to stay conscious as he falls. He flashes back to when he woke up from the trance Sauron put him in. Alex and Lorna told him the X-Men had gone to see Lykos, and Angel tried to find them. Lykos’s office was empty, but an address book led him to Tanya’s father. Further investigation led him to Tierra del Fuego. Tanya told him the X-Men were searching where Lykos’s body fell, and that led him to go down after them. He falls into a warm pocket, and crashes through a tree branch to the ground. Some weird frog-looking (named Amphibius) thing finds him and points him out to his Creator, a man with white hair, who declares Angel dead. But they still grab his body.
Meanwhile, the other X-Men are being attacked by a T-Rex. Cyclops blasts the T-Rex, then Ka-Zar shows up. He tells them to be silent, Icemanfreezes his hand, Ka-Zar punches him, Beast punches back, Ka-Zar punches back, and then Zabu terrifies Beast. Ka-Zar leaves, and spies on some Swamp People who’ve captured a Water Person. He attacks them, but the leader causes him to suffer a case of vertigo. The X-Men jump in to the rescue. A cut to the Creator, who says he detected a faint spark of life in Angel, and now prepares to see if he can restore Angel to full life. He does. Angel wakes up, with a new (and much cooler) costume. The Creator reveals that he comes from the outside world, as well. Equilibrius staggers in and says he was defeated by the X-Men, which upsets the Creator. Angel says that if the Creator’s on the level, he’ll help against the X-Men.
The X-Men are following Ka-Zar as he follows a Swamp Savage he allowed to escape. They hear a Piper, and are attacked by a giant water-dwelling dinosaur. While the X-Men fight the monster, Ka-Zar takes out the Piper. Cut back to Angel and the Creator. We meet the Creator’s followers: Gaza, a blind man who sees mentally; Amphibius, a man-frog; Barbarus, with four arms; Lupo, “at one with certain beasts,” as the Creator puts it; Brainchild, with a computer-like mind and childlike emotions; and the absent Piper. Angel flies off to stop the X-Men from attacking him, and the Creator talks about conquering the world. He opens a door, and places his hand on a certain familiar red-and-purple helmet.
Pretty good issue. I do wish Thomas would’ve done more character work, though. He has brief moments here and there, since his return, but nothing major. The twist at the end of this issue, though, was pretty cool. And the Mutates are cool. And, of course, Neal Adams was awesome. Still, it’s odd. When Thomas was first on the title, the characterization was very good, but the plotting was bad. With his return, the plotting’s been very good, but the characterization’s been missing. Might be part of why it only lasts four more issues.