X-Men (1st series) #57

Issue Date: 
June 1969
Story Title: 
The Sentinels Live!

Stan Lee (editor), Roy Thomas (scripter), Neal Adams (artist), Tom Palmer (inker), Sam Rosen (letterer)

Brief Description: 

In her apartment in Manhattan, Lorna Dane is attacked by two Sentinel robots. Meanwhile, in Egypt, Alex Summers is terrified by his newly-manifested, uncontrollable mutant powers. He pleads with the X-Men to stay away from him. Three local policemen arrive to enquire of the situation. They are surprised to see that the man the X-Men accuse as a criminal – the Living Pharaoh – is, in fact, Professor Abdol, a distinguished Egyptian archaeologist. They begin suspecting the X-Men as criminals instead. Distressed, Alex again proves unable to control his powers and lashes out at the officers. In the ensuing fight, Cyclops manages to take them all out and the team flees, now looking for Alex, who’s apparently run off in the desert. Their search for the next few hours proves futile, until the X-Men decide to communicate with Lorna and ask her to track down Alex through Cerebro. However, through their monitor connection, they discover Lorna’s apartment is trashed and she’s missing. Dead worried, Iceman takes Beast with him and departs for New York with the X-Men’s crate. The others stay in Egypt to continue searching for Alex – unaware that he’s also attacked in the desert by a Sentinel unit. A few hours later, Beast and Iceman investigate Lorna’s apartment, only to be greeted by two policemen who want to place them under arrest. The two mutants flee custody and hide in an apartment Cyclops keeps nearby. While there, they watch a talk show on the TV. One of the speakers reveals himself as Larry Trask, the son of the deceased mutant-hater Bolivar Trask. Much to their horror, Larry rants and raves about the mutant threat and heralds the return of the Sentinels!

Full Summary: 

In her apartment in Manhattan, Lorna is trying to practice her mutant powers. Disappointed with the outcome of her efforts, she tells herself to face it: she’s a washout! It’ll take more than a costume, green curls and a new apartment in Manhattan to pep up those fading magnetic powers of hers.

Suddenly, she hears leaden footsteps approaching from two sides. “Prepare yourself mutant… THE SENTINELS LIVE!” one of the robots known as the Sentinels announces as it and one of its peers break into the apartment and cluster the terrified, speechless Lorna. “No… no… help!” Lorna screams in response. But there is none to answer Lorna’s startled plea or hear her cry echo through the corridors…

Half a planet away, in Egypt, the startled X-Men stand ringed in disbelief around a circle of destruction. Angel mumbles that it took an army of slaves decades to build that ancient temple, but it was shattered in the twinkling of a gnat’s eyelash! Cyclops adds that it was shattered by the power of one man – Alex Summers, his brother! At least, as Warren keenly observes, Alex wasn’t hurt. Scott, however, wonders why Alex is still crouching there, in the temple’s debris, like a beast at bay? After all, the Beast adds, they have the Living Pharaoh here, attired in tow, awaiting Iceman’s arrival with the gendarmes.

“Can’t you see?” Alex cries in anguish. Doesn’t the evidence of their eyes mean anything to them? Does somebody have to die before they realize he’s a walking, talking disaster area? That latter-day Pharaoh told him he could absorb cosmic rays and turn them into pure, destructive force. But Alex didn’t believe him – till he had to escape from his own airtight chamber. Then it was as if his very fear, his frenzied desperation, were suddenly transformed into savage, stone-smashing energy. If he razed a whole temple, all in one rash instant, what might he do to a living, breathing human? For, he still can’t control his power; can’t turn it on or off. One second from now… he might destroy them all! He asks them to beat it, then, all of them, and leave him to his nightmares!

Just then, Beast sees Iceman approaching with the local constabulary. The policemen in question are riding camels. Their superior is shocked to see that the “menace” the young one – Iceman – talked spoke about is none other than Professor Abdol! Cyclops is surprised: these two know each other? Of course, the Living Pharaoh – aka Professor Abdol – puffs in disdain. Is he not this land’s leading archaeologist? But now, it is his turn to speak! And he accuses that man, he wails as he points emphatically at Alex. The officer is at a loss: that beardless youth?

The Pharaoh assures his friend that things are not always what they seem. The very heavens shriek their demand for his punishment! For he unearthed here a temple – as old as any in the land. But the young man destroyed it… as surely as he now stands amidst the ruins! The man thinks over this. It seems beyond possibility… and yet… Cyclops asks him to listen to him: it is this man, Abdol, who’s the menace. The man exasperates: he dares accuse Professor Abdol? Perhaps it is wisest they are all taken into custody, beginning with the defiler of the ancient edifice!

No!” Alex cries in panic upon hearing this. He warns them to keep away from him – stay back! Or else they’re taking their life in their hands! One of the officers exasperates: no man may threaten them! “It’s happening again!” Alex screams as cosmic rays surge uncontrollably out of him and assail the policemen. The superior officer exclaims, in horror, that the youth is a demon! Angel reminds them they warned them and blocks the way of the policemen. He suggests they amscray while they still can! Cyclops commends Warren on his block. He was afraid to lash out for fearing of hurting someone himself. However, he notes there are more of them. “For shame, dauntless leader!” Beast intervenes and kicks the gun out of one policeman’s hands. Has he forgotten the battle-bred Beast?

However, in the ensuing fray, the X-Men all but forget the lone, fleeting figure which streaks off across the darkening dunes – until Iceman informs Cyclops that he can’t find Alex. He’s split while they’ve been fighting. “Oh no!” Scott cries in anguish – that crazy, confused kid! They’ll never find him on the desert at night! “You! You camel-jockeys did this!” Cyclops snaps at the policemen. It’s their fault Alex has gone… they who drove him off! Scott was holding back before… afraid of what might happen. But now the gloves are off! Berserk, he blasts at them with full force.

Moments later, as the astonished authorities lick their wounds the X-Men take off with their mini-jet. Angel remarks it is a good thing that was a wide-angle shot, or else those guys would need more than a few band-aids! But, he remarks with some worry, they had to leave the Pharaoh behind. Cyclops reminds him the Pharaoh is powerless now – but Alex isn’t. Not before he destroys himself… or an entire continent. Beast asks him not to panic; they’ll find his wandering sibling. Will we, Hank? Warren muses. He is not so sure.

As hours pass, the somber shadows lengthen and fierce blazing heat becomes numbing cold. Flying right next to the mini-jet, the airborne Angel tells Scott to face it: if Alex hasn’t turned up by now, it’s because he wants to be among the missing.

Below, hiding from them, Alex wonders why the fools don’t leave him alone. So this is what it means to be a mutant! To be afraid to touch anything… afraid even to breathe. And yet… was ever another so mutant so terribly, desperately alone? Even Scott, who’s always lived in fear of what his optic blasts might do, never had to cope with power like Alex’s. Power that makes his every gesture a threat… his every movement a menace.

Suddenly, the desperate Alex hears a voice proclaiming he needs worry no longer – for he will never menace anyone ever again! Alex looks up, only to see a Sentinel unit about to dash at him!

In the sky above, Warren remarks it’s getting too dark even to see his teammates; this is hopeless. Marvel Girl retorts nothing’s ever hopeless… not if… Cyclops tells her to hold it. Something Angel said made him remember: Cerebro. Maybe its mechanical eyes will succeed where theirs failed. They’ll have Bobby’s girl Lorna hook up their mutant-detector by long distance and…

“Holy Hannah!” Scott spontaneously exclaims just then, as, through the monitor in the mini-jet, he connects with Lorna’s apartment – only to discover the apartment is a shambles! Never mind that, Bobby snaps – where in blazes is Lorna? They left her there not two days ago! “Easy little buddy!” Hank tries to calm him down. Panic is no substitute for calm, deductive analysis! Scott also attempts to allay the terribly upset Iceman by suggesting that Lorna was perhaps out when it happened. Or maybe she did it herself, Jean theorizes.

“Maybe! Perhaps!” Bobby snaps. He’s through with guessing games! He wants to know what happened to Lorna – and he wants to know now! Hank touches his shoulder and reassures him he’s with him. They’ll commandeer the next freighter U.S. bound. No need, Scott retorts. He and Bobby can take this crate. He’ll carry on his own search on foot alone. “Forget that loner stuff, Cyke!” Angel berates him. He only said things looked hopeless – he didn’t say he’d fink out on him. And neither will Jeannie.

As it is, Bobby and Hank depart almost immediately with the crate. As he pilots away, Bobby feels a little guilty. They left Cyclops, Angel and Marvel Girl with just a handful of supplies. He didn’t even have time to thank Scotty. Hank assures him that Scott knows Bobby would do the same, if it were Jean who might be endangered.

Elsewhere, the mysterious mastermind behind the attack of the Sentinels calculates his next move. His instruments indicate the X-Men have split up. But that won’t save them from him now – nothing will!

Several hours later, Iceman and Beast break into Lorna’s trashed apartment. Bobby notes that the place is a wreck – but that doesn’t matter. What matters is: where’s Lorna? Hank promises they’ll search every crevice and cranny. And they’ll begin…

“You’ll begin, mutant, by lifting your hands up… high!” a policeman announces, pulling a gun at both of them. His fellow officer informs them they are under arrest – both of them. “Police – American style this time! But how… why??” a puzzled Beast wonders. Iceman tells Beast that he can argue the niceties of law with them. All Bobby cares about is finding Lorna – and it’ll take more than one phone call to do that! So, it’s guns-on-the-rocks this time! They should just be glad the X-Men aren’t the killers humans think they are! With his ability to control temperature, he puts both the officers’ guns into ice.

A most admirable admonition, Hank remarks – however, it’s time they took their leave! “Oh no you don’t, mutie!” one of the policemen retorts and throws a swivel chair at him. His colleague asks the other officer, Joe, not to do it; the big one’s by the window! If he hits him now, he might…

As Beast and Iceman are about to escape through the window, the chair hits Beast and throws him off-balance. Hank drops like the proverbial sack of potatoes – however, Iceman thankfully saves him from being splattered below by generating an ice pole. Grabbing the pole, a breathless Hank admits it would appear he owes Bobby one rescue. Bobby tells him to skip it; nobody’s keeping score! Right now, they’ve got to find someplace to lay low! He remembers Cyke’s got a place not far from here. They’ll head there and map out a plan of action. Sliding along on Bobby’s ice-tramp, Hank suggests they just keep to the alleyways. He thinks that Bobby’s all right for now – but for how long before he yields to bitter remorse?

Almost as soon as Iceman picks the lock of Scott’s darkened apartment, he sits down in despair, holding his head. He wonders where Lorna is; what have they done to her? Why are the police after them? Beast proposes that perhaps the six o’clock news will clarify matters. Turning the TV on, he catches a special report on – and he lip-reads the word “mutant.” He turns the volume on.

It’s a talk show and the presenter is currently interviewing Judge Chalmers. He asks him why his Federal Council on Mutant Activities was founded. Chalmers is glad he asked him that question. His five-year study has conclusively shown that mutants are a menace to human dominance on Earth! “Oh great!” Bobby puffs. Now a federal judge has jumped on the anti-mutant bandwagon! Hank tells him to quiet; there’s more…

Judge Chalmers concludes by saying he’s given them enough dry facts and statistics. He presents them with a more personal, more tragic account by his special assistant, Larry Trask. Raising his hands in the air, Larry addresses the audience. His story isn’t a pretty one, but it’s true. He asks them to listen it and they’ll understand why mutants are the greatest single danger facing mankind today! He is not the first Trask to decry the mutant massacre. His father did the same, three years ago. And the mutants killed him for it!

Bobby puts two and two together and asks Hank if he know who this must be: the son of Bolivar Trask! Beast assures him he knows and tells him to listen… Larry recounts to the audience that he was with his father on that fateful day, when he breathed life into the first Sentinel.

Watching the first Sentinel coming to fruition, Larry assures his father he’ll be famous for this. Bolivar Trask claims that fame means nothing for him. But Earth must be made safe for humanity! Then, on the very day Larry leaves for college, Bolivar reminds his boy that he’s taught him a lot. Larry will succeed… if Bolivar should fail. Larry is confident his father won’t fail – he can’t!

Shedding tears of sadness, Larry admits that his father did fail, thanks to mutant treachery! He never saw his father again… at least, not alive! And as he stood over his body, crushed by a fallen Sentinel, he vowed to carry on the fight against the merciless X-Men and their ilk – the very monsters who had slain him.

Exasperated, Iceman tells Hank he’s got it all wrong; it was the Sentinels who turned on Trask… not the X-Men! Beast sighs that men believe what they want to believe.

Turning cross now, Larry informs the audience that he’s spent years collecting evidence to document their case against the mutants. Only hours ago, they attacked authorities on the bank of the Nile! But time has run out for those murderous freaks. For his father taught him much before he died. So much that he can stand before them today, and proclaim… THE SENTINELS LIVE!

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Men)
Alex Summers (Cyclops’ brother)
Lorna Dane (X-Men ally)

Living Pharaoh/ Living Monolith

Larry Trask
Judge Robert Chalmers


Egyptian policemen
American policemen (one of them named Joe)

Talk show host

Bolivar & Larry Trask

Story Notes: 

The storyline involving Bolivar Trask and his Sentinels took place in X-Men (1st series) #14-16.

First appearance of Larry Trask and Judge Robert Chalmers. This issue also marks the first appearance of Sentinels Mark II, the second generation of Sentinels.

Though no doubt not intended as such, Cyclops’ use of the phrase “camel jockeys” could be interpreted as a anti-Arab racial epithet by more modern readers.

Story Title: 
The Female of the Species!

Stan Lee (editor), Linda Fite (writer), Werner Roth (penciler), Sam Grainger (inker)

Brief Description: 

Marvel Girl demonstrates the full scope and various uses of her telepathic and telekinetic abilities.

Full Summary: 

Marvel Girl directly addresses the readers. She begs them not to be alarmed if they feel strangely compelled to pay unusual attention to the contents of the following pages! The ability to influence the degree of concentration is just one of her many mental powers! To exhibit another of these extraordinary mutant gifts, she will telekinetically turn this page – but if it couldn’t work, could they do it for her? The X-Men aren’t infallible!

Standing under an apple tree with a basket in her arms, Jean explains it’s much easier for her to control things from a closer range – like those apples, which she telekinetically collects and puts in her basket. She wonders what Newton would’ve made of this fall!

Now in the kitchen, Jean telekinetically manipulates a knife to peel the apples. She confesses she’s not exactly the domestic type, but when it comes to baking an apple pie, she has a distinct advantage!

In the living room, Marvel Girl cheerfully explains that housework’s snap, too. Not only can she lift heavy stuff, like this chair – she proceeds to lift it – but she can even whisk all the dirt and dust outside, where it belongs!

But that’s enough of the Hints from Heloise! Her powers become really useful when she has to deal with some of the bad guys running around on their fair planet. She proceeds to demonstrate this, as she telekinetically deflects a mace hurled to her by a villain. Many’s the time this little deflection trick has come in handy. She can protect her fellow X-Men the same way, too.

Now apparently tied with ropes by a villain, Jean manipulates a pair of scissors towards her, ostensibly to cut herself free. She quips that she can never turn a date on the pretext that she’s tied up!

Jean is now trapped in a room. She explains that if she ever finds herself held prisoner, she can mentally search out the lock. And with telekinetic ease, slide out the bolt! She proceeds to demonstrate this.

Jean now telekinetically soars across the interior of a volcano. She banters she doesn’t usually go in for volcano-hopping, but she wanted to show them what a high-soaring speed-demon she can become, when the sparks start flying!

Telekinetically lifting herself in the air, in order to jump over a wall, Jean explains that levitation can carry her up and over almost any wall ever built. This is a great way to escape a dull garden party! Telekinetically lowering herself to the ground, she goes on to add she never has to wait for a down elevator, if there’s a window handy. She can lower herself to the ground as gently as a falling leaf!

Perhaps her most powerful ability is that for which Professor Xavier trained her – the ability to conquer a villain through sheer brain power. Jean demonstrates this with a villain: sneaking up on him, she exerts her mental control over him. Requiring tremendous concentration, she can will a person to be defeated, without ever using physical force. Indeed, the villain drops to the ground, resigned. Jean explains it is the same level of concentration that lets her mentally communicate with the other X-Men.

But things aren’t always quite that grim. Walking down the street can be an adventure in itself, besides giving her all kinds of practice in telekinesis! Indeed, as she walks down the street, Jean watches a man mugging a woman. Jean calmly changes the purse-snatcher’s getaway run into an obstacle course – pushed by Jean’s telekinesis, a trash bin provides obstacle for the thug. Jean mocks that he’d better watch where he’s going! A tug of his hat and a little purse-snatching of her own – and the thug is overpowered, while the purse ends up in Jean’s hands.

Pretty soon, things are back to normal, what with the purse restored to its rightful owner and the thief arrested by the police. As she continues her stroll down the street, men halt to marvel at her beauty. Smiling rather voluptuously, Marvel Girl adds that part of being normal is to turn men’s heads without really trying!

Characters Involved: 

Marvel Girl

Various unnamed villains
Policemen and passers-by

Story Notes: 

Unlike the rest of the original X-Men, Marvel Girl doesn’t get a back story involving the conditions which led to her joining the X-Men. Presumably, this is because Jean was already shown on-panel joining the team, the last of the original X-Men to do so, in X-Men (1st series) #1. The issues of the origin back stories for each X-Man were: #38-42 (Cyclops), #44-46 (Iceman), #49-53 (Beast) and #54-56 (Angel). Jean only gets the present “power rundown” feature, similar to those already presented for Iceman (#47) and Beast (#48).

This marks the first time a female writer has contributed a story to the X-Men mythos. As mentioned by Stan Lee in the first page of this story, they “thought it’d be glitzy if, just for a change, this featurette on the mesmerizing Marvel Girl were written by a member of the supposedly weaker sex!”

English physicist, mathematician and philosopher Isaac Newton famously claimed that he was inspired to formulate his theory about the law of universal gravitation after watching an apple fall from a tree.

Hints from Heloise is a famous newspaper column which provides lifestyle hints. The column was run by Heloise Bowles between 1959 and 1977. After her death, it was picked up by her daughter, who has also adopted the alias “Heloise.”

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