X-Men #115 (1978, November)
Ah, a nice, relaxing day off. In which I have to do some laundry. Dammit. Oh, well. I’ll do it right after “Visions of Death!”
So, last issue ended with Sauron standing over Storm. This issue starts the same way, with Wolverine quickly attacking him. Sauron hypnotizes him into attacking the other X-Men. Cyclops blasts him and gets Banshee airborne so he can use a sonic scream to smash Sauron to the ground. Wolverine wakes up to see a monster blasting at Jean, not realizing it’s Cyclops blasting Sauron. Cyclops moves just enough to avoid being gutted, then Wolverine hesitates before trying again, giving Cyclops a chance to blast him away again. Cyclops and Banshee hit Sauron with a high-low, and Sauron tries to fly away. Sauron sees Peter, and starts to drain him, until he changes to Colossus, which ends up being more than Sauron can take. Sauron lands right next to Wolverine, and turns back to Karl Lykos. Ka-Zar shows up and stops Wolverine from killing him.
Later, in a hut, Cyclops asks why Ka-Zar and Lykos needed the X-Men’s help. Lykos starts by explaining how he’s alive. Last we saw him, he was committing suicide in Tierra del Fuego in X-Men #61. Apparently, there was a ledge below him. Well, that’s kinda anti-climatic. Anyway, he found his way down to the Savage Land, where he made a better life for himself. Then he saw Zaladane turn a man named Kirk Martson into the god Garokk, the Petrified Man. He was last seen in Ka-Zar’s own series, dying. Zaladane brought him back to deal with a strange city in the swamp, which Garokk quickly and easily destroys. This wraps up a dangling plot from Ka-Zar’s series, where he was trapped in the dimension of a race called the Sheenars. When Garokk destroyed their city, Ka-Zar discovered he was in his own dimension. Since then, Garokk’s built a large city using slave labour, and Ka-Zar asks for help against the city.
Cyclops refuses, saying the X-Men need to go check on Xavier, but promises to return. As they head for an underground river leading out, they find the entrance blocked by ice. Turns out the sun-god Garokk has upset the ecological balance of the Savage Land, and that the snowstorm means death for the Savage Land. So much for leaving.
Claremont and Byrne have fallen into a good rhythm at this point. They hit the right beats in terms of action and characterization. Claremont’s wordiness bogs the book down only slightly, and is offset by Byrne’s art. Poor Wolverine gets blasted by Cyclops twice. It’s interesting to note Wolverine’s treatment in these early days. By the ’90s, there was no way he’d get blasted around so easily. And certainly an optic blast would no longer knock him out, even temporarily. On the other hand:
And why not:
This month also saw a notable milestone: Spectacular Spider-Man #24 featured the debut of the one, the only, the incomparable Hypno-Hustler. One of the greatest villains of all time. Move over, Dr. Doom. Sit down, Dr. Octopus. Exit stage left, Magneto. For the Hypno-Hustler has arrived!