Uncanny X-Men #57-63
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men #57, Uncanny X-Men #58, Uncanny X-Men #59, Uncanny X-Men #60, Uncanny X-Men #61, Uncanny X-Men #62, Uncanny X-Men #63
I got these issues thanks to a mini-series reprinting the X-Men issues with Neal Adams on art (although it oddly excluded issue #56).
This set of issues starts in the immediate aftermath of the previous arc. Havok, Cyclops' brother, can not control his powers and considers himself a danger. Therefore he flees from the X-Men. Cyclops is very upset by all of this, to the point where he calls some Egyptian policemen "camel jockeys" (To be fair, they are riding camels).
While hiding, Havok gets captured by Sentinels, and so does Polaris back in the States.
The Beast and Iceman head back to investigate Polaris' disappearance while Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Angel remain in Egypt (and look at the crazy layouts!).
After learning that the Sentinels are again active due to the efforts of a Larry Trask and Judge Chalmers (and look at those faces, beautiful artwork!)...
...the Beast and Iceman are attacked by a Sentinel. They find these Sentinels are much more powerful than the previous versions. They are able to adapt to mutant's powers and the one they are facing is beyond their ability, leaving Iceman to sacrifice himself so that the Beast can continue to search for Polaris (and again with the awesome layouts!).
When the others in Egypt hear what's going on, Angel decides to rush ahead and fly to the US. Cyclops says that he's never made a trans-atlantic flight before (i thought that he had done so in the crossover with the Avengers back in Uncanny X-Men #45/Avengers #53, but i'm not quite sure where he was coming from at that point and he did stop at the Red Raven's place along the way). However, Angel is captured by Sentinels during the flight. More and more mutants are collected by the Sentinels. Havok does a decent job trying to bust out, but fails.
At this point it is revealed that the Magneto appearing in recent issues was actually a robot, which the Sentinels destroy.
The remaining X-Men find the Sentinel's base using a mini-Cerebro. At one point the Sentinels detect a mutant presence whose power dwarfs any other single mutant.
They reason that it must be a group of mutants, but Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Beast are actually on the opposite side. Not sure what to make of that, but the three do attack.
Meanwhile, the judge starts to have second thoughts about what he and Larry are doing. After all, it seems pretty unconstitutional (a point made by a television announcer). But by pulling off the medallion that masks Larry's mutant nature (Trask has precognitive ability but does not know it), he basically screws everything up. Now the Sentinels are acting on their own.
Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Beast manage to do fairly well by switching costumes with Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Toad respectively, confusing the Sentinels.
Judge Chalmers also manages to free Havok. However, the Sentinels are actually defeated when Cyclops convinces them that the only way to truly protect humanity is to stop the source of all mutation, which they identify as the sun. They fly off into outer space to put a stop to it and the text assures us that the sun is too big for the Sentinels to do anything about. It's a good thing they bought that argument. I've always felt that the sudden explosion of mutants in the 1960s was due to increased radiation due to nuclear energy. It would have made a nice What If? to have the Sentinels instead try to take over the world in order to enforce nuclear disarmament.
Meanwhile, Havok, even though he is wearing a costume designed by Trask to control his mutant energies, reaches the overload point and explodes. The others call a colleague of Professor Xavier's named Dr. Lykos. Leaving Judge Chalmers at the Sentinel compound with a comatose Larry Trask and a room full of evil mutants...
...the X-Men head to Lykos' office to try and get help for Alex.
Lykos is actually some sort of energy vampire, ever since he got bitten by radioactive pterodactyls (no, really) on the outskirts of the Savage Land. He's been leeching from humans so far, and once he gets a hold of Alex, he gets more energy than he's ever had before, and he transforms completely into a were-pterodactyl. He was also a Tolkien fan as a kid so he names himself Sauron.
Sauron encounters Angel, who is flying about in a costume that is uglier than ever.
More insanely cool page designs by Adams:
The X-Men's fight with Sauron takes them back to the place where he first was bitten, and after Sauron seemingly kills himself to stop himself from eating his girlfriend, the X-Men enter the Savage Land.
Angel, injured fighting pterodactyls, enters separately from the rest of the team (which does not yet include Havok or Polaris) and ends up getting help from Magneto, who he does not recognize because he is not wearing his costume (and this is the first time we've seen Magneto out of uniform).
He escaped from his seeming death when fighting against the X-Men and the Avengers (actually it was Toad's treachery that finished him) by burrowing into the Earth where he "learned that the world below is honeycombed with alloy-rich caves... caverns beyond the power of homo-sapiens to conceive". From there he worked his way to the Savage Land. Magneto helps Angel in more ways than one. In addition to healing his wounds, he also gets him out of that god-awful patchwork costume he's been wearing and gives him the blue version of his classic outfit.
The other X-Men meet up with Ka-Zar. Because no matter where you enter the Savage Land, Ka-Zar is there.
Magneto is turning the Swamp People into super-powered mutates...
...and Ka-Zar is trying to stop them. Magneto manages to smooth talk Angel into slowing down the other X-Men so that he can finish his plot.
The male X-Men get hypnotized by the mutate known as Lorelei...
...but she doesn't affect Jean
After a fight with a gun-shooting Magneto (apparently he can't use his powers near the machine) Marvel Girl uses her powers to control Cyclop's optic beam, which destroys Magneto's mutate making machine, which apparently also causes the existing mutates to devolve.
Magneto seems to opt to get crushed under the machinery rather than fight the X-Men.
Anyone know what a XKE is? Apparently it's a type of car made by Jaguar. Well, Gaza, the blind mutate, packs the wallop of a XKE.
Lorna/Polaris is clearly falling for Alex/Havok starting from their first meeting. Poor Bobby.
The art in these issues is really something different. It is sort of a combination of Gene Colan's atmospheric realism plus Jim Steranko's design experimentation. It looks good and feels a lot more modern; it could easily pass as artwork from the mid 1980s. However, the story and dialogue is still very Silver Age.
Since issue #38, this book had been running a back-up feature that covered origins and power demonstration sequences. That ends with issue #57 with a feature on Marvel Girl. It wasn't included in these reprints, but it was reprinted in Cat #4 and i cover it there.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is a group of several stories that aren't directly related but flow into each other, and they're crammed into the reprint mini-series in a somewhat awkward way, so i'm including them all in a single entry. The first issue here starts soon after the last issue of the previous arc and so i've got that arc placed directly before this one. Luckily the X-Men were pretty isolated from the rest of the Marvel universe at this point so there's no problem lumping a group of issues together like this.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: X-Men Classics #1, X-Men Classics #2, X-Men Classics #3
Inbound References (21): show
The robot Magneto didn't get explained for a REALLY long time, if it got explained at all.
The Jaguar XKE was an extremely cool,desirable car among teenagers back then.
Arnold Drake was responsible for Polaris, Mesmero, Cyclops-as-Eric The Red, Alex Summers, and the Living Pharoah(but not the Monolith), and they were easily his best Marvel contributions. The Monolith showed up in Neal's true first issue, which didn't get reprinted until years after this deluxe reprint. Jim Steranko designed Polaris' costume and the 3D X-Men logo. Drake's introduction of Alex Summers was totally out of the blue, there'd been no mention of any Summers siblings prior to that.
Banshee doesn't reappear until 1972 in Captain America, and here he still has the goofy headband and that stupid pipe.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 7, 2011 1:06 AM
Neal Adams was just fantastic, wasn't he?
Posted by: Wanyas The Self-Proclaimed | August 8, 2011 1:06 PM
Yes he was, just as god as john byrne in the "old" days- uncanny xmen 11-143
Posted by: kim | March 7, 2012 4:30 PM
There's a dropped plot line, or hints of one, between the end of Drake's run and the end of theses issues: in addition to the Pharaoh losing power when Havok is around, Cyclops's power mysteriously weakens during his battle with the Pharoah, and Lorna alludes to her powers fading just before the Sentinels capture her. Not sure where all this might have been going, or if there was even meant to be a connection.
In addition to Arnold Drake's contributions mentioned above by Mark Drummond, he also seems to have been the first writer to use mutants as metaphors for homosexuals. The team discovers Lorna when they go to San Francisco in search of "latent mutants" -- an echo of the idea of "latent homosexuality" in vogue among psychologists at the time -- and when Lorna first reveals her green hair to Bobby she tells him she was "born this way." Faint allusions, but pretty clear ones in retrospect.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 8, 2012 2:39 PM
Sauron was initially supposed to look more like a giant vampire bat(like DC's later Man-Bat), but Roy Thomas thought the Comics Code would object.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 3, 2013 6:05 PM
You could also mention in the "Reprinted" section that UX #57-59 were also reprinted in Giant-Size X-Men #2.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 21, 2013 10:15 PM
The Reprinted In field just indicates if my copy was from a reprint. It helps helps explain why i might have missed something due to page cuts or changes in the reprint.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 22, 2013 7:37 AM
LOL, at the start of #57, I would love to know why Lorna--who is alone in her apartment--is wearing her full regalia. It's not like she was a publicly-known superhero or X-Men team member with an image to uphold, and the costume--with its tiara, cape, upper arm pieces, fingerless gloves, lace-up sandals, halter top with a skull clasp, etc.--seems so impractical and time-consuming to don. Well, I guess Adams wanted to draw the Steranko costume (with a couple of minor changes).
Posted by: Shar | March 10, 2014 2:06 PM
Angel says to Magneto in X-men #63 'But I saw you die!' and Magneto references his death in Avengers #53. Magneto then explains how he survived in Avengers #53 But the X-men and the Angel thought it was the real Magneto during Arnold Drake's run all the way through from X-Men #49 to X-Men #112 according to Cyclops. It was there the Magneto states " The Magneto that Mesmero served...was a robot" So there is the inconsistency of Angel's statement and who knew what or when. Angel should not be surprised to find Magneto alive. Or if Angel knows he was a robot in X-Men #49-#52 and expresses that in X-Men #63, why doesn't Cyclops know that in X-men #112?
my head hurts....
Posted by: Martin Dent | April 23, 2014 1:01 PM
And in X-Men #60 during the Danger Room scene in which all the O5 and Lorna Dane are present, Jean remarks to Bobby "From what you told me all of your old sparring-partners were there [captured by the Sentinels], except for Magneto and the Changeling--how did they escape I wonder?" (btw I think Roy T. mistook Jean for Lorna in this panel, since Jean wouldn't have needed to use the term "your"). This sounds to me like at least Jean knew Mags was alive at this point.
Posted by: Shar | April 25, 2014 11:38 AM
Some props to Tom Palmer, too. Yes, Neal is great on his own, but The Zip-A-Tone Kid was really bringing it here, as well.
So...Karl Lykos is a mutant vampire dinosaur with a Tolkien fetish, huh? Man, what was Roy smoking and how can I get some?
Posted by: Dan Spector | July 9, 2014 1:27 AM
The art and layouts here are all kinds of awesome. I read the Masterworks that go me to #50 and then stopped, so I will have to actually read this, since it appears to be better than issues #12 to 50 put together.
I have to disagree with you on the second Angel costume (or, basically his original costume, as the backups retconned in) - it's loads better than the one with suspenders.
I like how Mesmero learns about the Magneto robot but the X-Men themselves won't learn about for years, until Magneto tells them (how did Magneto find out?).
I also love how in the villain picture, Banshee is just standing there with his pipe.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 28, 2015 12:41 PM
What were Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch doing when the X-Men were running around fighting the Sentinels in their costumes? Why didn't they help fight the Sentinels? Or did the X-Men have them tied up naked in a closet?
Posted by: Steven | March 18, 2016 1:20 PM
FWIW Claremonts plot assist in #59 was the idea of the Sentinels flying into the sun to destroy the source of mutation. He was still a gofer/intern at that point, and gave the idea to Thomas.
Posted by: Austin Gorton | March 20, 2016 2:31 PM
Wikipedia's Neal Adams page, citing Wizard Aug '93, has a Roy Thomas quote where he says that Adams did a lot of the plotting during this run.
Not coincidentally, Neal Adams is a big hollow earth enthusiast. To this day, he's an advocate of the modernized (though obviously still fringe) belief of Expanding Earth theory, and wrote and drew in 2012 Batman: Odyssey, that has the Caped Crusader exploring a prehistoric interior earth. Hell, the cover of the trade even has Batman riding a pterosaur. Dude loves drawing him some flying lizards, I guess.
Anyway, what I'm getting at is that we probably have him to thank for making the Savage Land so integrated into the X-Men mythos. While Lee/Kirby were the first to bring the X-Men here, it seems to me that it really just an excuse to introduce a modern Ka-Zar. It's here that we get the idea that Magneto is more powerful here, Sauron, Mutates, etc.
Posted by: FF3 | March 31, 2016 2:25 PM
Another observation - Sauron and Man-Bat (another Neal Adams creation) are basically the same character. Dr Karl Lykos vs Dr Kirk Langstrom, both savage humanoid flyers, both with Jekyll-and-Hyde dynamics...
Posted by: FF3 | April 7, 2016 9:47 AM
That kind of thing happens (happened?) a lot when creators change companies. The Fantastic Four, for instance, are basically the Challengers of the Unknown with super powers.
Posted by: Red Comet | April 7, 2016 10:16 AM
John Byrne has stated on his forum that Neal Adams' Angel costume is black, not blue:
I always thought it was blue, too. And Spider-Man, and Superman's hair, and every other character where blue was used as a highlight for blacks. It's really hard to tell!
Posted by: Friendly Skeptic | July 9, 2016 7:14 PM
Was Ahmet Abdol ever revealed to have any familial relationship whatsoever with the Summers family?
It was never truly explained as to why the Monolith affected Alex's access to his powers...and why it ever affected Scott.
The reprint series looked awesome! I got those signed by Neal in the 80's - I caught hell for missing food shopping in lieu of meeting him.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | August 3, 2016 7:50 AM
During the Twelve Story in 1999, Apocalypse explains that Abdol was not really a mutant- his original powers were non-mutant and Apocalypse had Sinister graft some of the Summers brothers' DNA onto him in preparation for Apocalypse's scheme in that story.
Posted by: Michael | August 3, 2016 8:52 AM
Thanks for that! I'm gonna reread those at my first opportunity. I wonder what else I could have missed.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | August 4, 2016 1:41 AM
Gaza's name is from a phrase from Milton's SAMSON AGONISTES which Aldous Huxley used as a book title, "Eyeless in Gaza".
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | October 10, 2016 5:04 AM
I never got the reference. What an odd pun. I suppose it could have been worse: Gaza could have been a stripper.
Posted by: Andrew | October 10, 2016 12:35 PM
My guess - and it's just a guess - is the original idea was to call him "Samson", but they couldn't use that name due to Gold Key's Mighty Samson, so Thomas came up with "Gaza" as an alternative. He's a blind strongman with long hair.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | October 11, 2016 10:21 AM
LOL at "cold day in Helsinki". It snowed there two weeks ago.
Posted by: Catherine | May 17, 2017 3:48 AM
Comments have been disabled for the summer while i'm not around to moderate.
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