X-Men #63 (1969, December)
So, big US election tomorrow, eh? I’m sure you’re dying to know who I support. The answer is “neither one.” I don’t particularly care who wins the election. I’m more interested in today’s issue, “War In the World Below!”
Magneto’s gloating about how the Angel is rushing off to battle the X-Men on his behalf, and that he’ll soon complete his ultimate mutant. Ka-Zar beats Angel up, then loses interest in him when he learns he’s with the X-Men. Those both seem like entirely appropriate responses to Angel showing up anywhere. Ka-Zar gets punched by Gaza. Beast punches Gaza, and Amphibius jumps on him. The Swamp People charge to the attack to kill Ka-Zar and the X-Men. Angel feels bad that he nearly led his friends to a slaughter, and decides to get back at the Creator. Angel overhears him talking about creatig mutants, and angrily confronts him, then also learns the Creator is Magneto.
We learn how Magneto survived his apparent death in #53 (he used his magnetic powers to burrow to safety, found the world below full of caves and tunnels, and reached the Savage Land; real exciting stuff). He points at something, and Angel is stunned. The X-Men reach the wooden walls of the city, and bust in. They’re attacked by wolves, which are chased away by Zabu. They enter the castle, and Amphibius, on Brainchild’s advice, strikes a stone to make a column collapse. Marvel Girl pushes the stones aside to save them. Brainchild’s knocked out, and Cyclops starts to guess who’s behind it. Then Magneto pops out. He reveals Lorelei, a (supposedly) beautiful woman with a hypnotic voice. She entrances the men, but Marvel Girl’s unaffected. Magneto offers to let her rule by his side, which is, you know . . . ew. Dude, don’t you think she’s a little young for you? Marvel Girl is suitably disgusted, and throws a table at his machines. He destroys the table, and tries to shoot her. She stops trying to fight, but before he can deliver the killing shot, Cyclops’s eye blast destroys his gun. She telekinetically raised his visor, and aims him at his machines. Lorelei comes out of her trance, and so do the X-Men. Magneto (seemingly) dies, letting a large piece of machinery fall on him. The X-Men escape. His mutates start changing back to normal Swamp People. Ka-Zar asks who could be happy with losing their powers, and the X-Men point to themselves.
That final panel felt a little melodramatic and angsty. Not to mention a little out-of-nowhere. Even Cyclops hadn’t been angsting about his powers for a while, and certainly the others hadn’t shown any particular unhappiness with their powers for a long, long time. Other than that bit, though, the writing was solid. Thomas seemed to do especially good characterization with Beast during this period. And at this point, do I even need to say how great Neal Adams’s art was? The guy was an amazing artist.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Lucifer popping up in Iron Man #20. He was exiled to another dimension after being defeated by the X-Men. He manages to build a device that allows him to cross back over to Earth in a limited area. He mentally summons a guard who works at Stark Industries, and demands his help in returning completely. He shows off his ionic energy power, and the guard agrees to help him. Lucifer sends him to capture Tony Stark. The guard is turned into another Lucifer, and he starts a bit of a rampage on his way to SI. He beats Iron Man, but the guard gives up the power when his wife begs him to, so Lucifer’s banished again. It was pretty meh. Especially since Lucifer was always such a silly villain.