X-Men (1st series) #60

Issue Date: 
September 1969
Story Title: 
In the Shadow of … Sauron!

Roy Thomas (writer), Neal Adams (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker & colorist), Sam Rosen (letterer), Stan Lee (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men take their leave of Judge Chalmers, who promises to clear their names, free the other mutants and take care of the amnesiac Larry Trask. In the meantime, the X-Men rush the injured Havok to a doctor, an old acquaintance of Xavier named Karl Lykos. They do not know that as a boy Lykos, when saving a young girl, Tanya Anderssen, was bitten by a kind of pterodactyl and since then hungers for energy which he absorbs from his patients. Obsessed with the idea of getting more energy from a mutant and with the hope of one day being able to marry Tanya, he absorbs Havok’s mutant energy when the X-Men are gone, transforming into a pterodactyl-like creature himself, an evil alter ego calling himself Sauron. Back at Xavier’s, the X-Men train and Lorna Dane, who has joined the team, shows she isn’t interested in Iceman. When they see Sauron on the news and hear that mutants are being suspected, Angel flies to confront Sauron, unaware of what he has let himself in for.

Full Summary: 

A dark-haired man stands above a lying unconscious one, absorbing energy from him.

Elsewhere, Judge Chalmers tells Cyclops that he cannot depart with the X-Men. Perhaps the monstrous Sentinels are destroyed forever, yet he must undo the damage which they wrought.

Cyclops knows Judge Chalmers intends to free the other mutants after the X-Men leave, but what about Larry Trask? The witchhunter who unleashed the Sentinels on them? He still seems in a state of shock.

Chalmers points out Cyclops makes too light of his part in that witch hunt. Still, it’s true that Larry vowed vengeance against the X-Men because he believed they killed his father years ago. Little does he know he too is a mutant. Nor must he ever suspect. The mere hint might turn his state of shock into one of schizophrenia. Chalmers pulls the medallion over Larry’s head. It will remove his memory and perhaps ease his inner torment.

Scant seconds later, one of the Sentinel ships launches upward, the X-Men aboard. Angel asks the others why they contacted a medic all the way in the city for Cyclops’ injured brother. Beast explains he is an old associate of Professor Xavier. They once worked on a mysterious enterprise called Project Mutant. Hank continues the Professor’s records on Karl Lykos are impeccable. He doesn’t know much more, but right now he’s the only physician they dare trust.

And what’s that supposed to be mean? Angel angrily asks. That all mutants are still outcasts? Until Judge Chalmers can clear them, Cyclops explains. Beast has the plane evade a police copter and they are en route to Lykos. He suggests they drop off Lorna Dane on the way but she tells them that as a mutant her place is now with the X-Men.

In Dr. Karl Lykos’ practice, his patient thanks him after having awakened. He doesn’t know whatLykos does while he is under hypnosis but it’s sure curing that hypertension of his. He only feels a little weak when he wakes up. A side effect, Lykos explains to Mr. Tidnally and suggests they increase treatments.

That moment, a nurse leads in Scott and Jean (both in civilian clothes), who are supporting Alex. After a quick examination, Lykos can assure them that, apart from a few ribs that need mending, Alex is all right. Students of his late colleague, eh? He must speak with them at length sometime soon.

Scott offers they’ll stay in the waiting room but Lykos forbids it. His methods require privacy. Come back later tonight… much later. He’s been watching too many Ben Casey reruns, Scott tells him.

Jean admonishes him he should know better than to argue with a doctor. They can’t do Alex any good moping around here. Besides it’s a lovely day… just right for driving away the cobwebs. She takes him by the arm.

Always knows what’s right for somber Summers, doesn’t she? he jokes. When he thinks of all the time they wasted, just because he had a hang-up about his optic blast… Oh well, he still not exactly on Medicare. And since Warren loaned them the new Maverick his parents gave him…

Soon they are back at the school. Scott is nervous, as the place seems to quiet and nobody answers their calls. He hears something behind a door. Jean reminds him too late it leads to the Danger Room.

Inside, Angel, Beast and Iceman are training as Lorna Dane watches. When they hear Alex is all right, they invite Scott to join them. He leaves to change.

Iceman boasts that he needn’t dodge the heat beams like the others but can frost them over. He may be the youngest X-Man, but--

That moment, a hurled device smashes his iceslide and he falls off. Beast catches the falling Iceman, remarking he may be the youngest X-Man, but also the most inept. He throws his angry young teammate to Angel, who catches him.

Jean remarks Bobby apparently doesn’t like being shown up in front of his girl. Lorna replies Bobby’s fun but she’s nobody’s “girl.” Jean hopes she‘s not around when Lorna lays that line on Bobby. She suggests they put the squeeze on the so-called stronger sex. There’s another test device hidden behind that wall. Lorna asks to activate it. Her powers were fading before but now she feels somehow rejuvenated.

Lorna activates the device and steel tentacles go for the X-Men. Cyclops joins the battle freeing his teammates. Iceman slams ice into Angel’s face in retaliation for his previous behavior.

Scott stands on Iceman’s iceslide. Lorna remarks she hates seeing Cyclops escape unscathed. Jean telekinetically drops a device, cutting Scott’s port of the slide off.

Beast wonders how their brother mutants fared when Judge Chalmers ushered them back from dreamland. Never mind brothers, Iceman leers. Tell him about the Scarlet Witch. She’s one early bird even the worms get up to catch.

Jean muses apparently all their old sparring partners were there, except Magneto and the Changeling. She wonders how they escaped. Beast doesn’t share her curiosity, calling her “Pandora.” He wonders what happened to all the villains. It’ll be a cold day in Helsinki before any of them comes out of concealment again.

At Dr. Lykos’ practice, he sends his nurse away early. Once she is gone, he muses that finally one of them may have come to him. And if so… No! he shouts and berates himself. What he is thinking only the devil would contemplate! Is that what he has become? A fiend spawned by a frozen hell? Frozen… he recalls the cold of that unholy day…


He remembers Tierra del Fuego, the land that skirts the Antarctic. Karl’s father was an ex-sailor and guide. He and a teenage Karl led Herr Anderssen and his young daughter Tanya on a tour of the mountains when suddenly little Tanya went missing. Four hours they searched the cliffs, first together then alone.

Finally, Karl discovered a hidden tunnel and followed it for many yards. He heard a scream and rushed forward to find a cave. In it, Tanya was about to be attacked by several pteranodons. Karl grabbed a club and managed to them off. However, he was hurt in the process.

The two men eventually found the children. A physician himself, Anderssen bandaged the lacerations on Karl’s flesh. However, he worried the feverish boy would not last the night.

In his fever dreams, Karl fought against nightmares and cold hatred gripped his being. Until hours later he awoke, feeling weak. He reached for his dog that had been keeping wake at his bedside. After Karl touched him, he felt better, but the dog was frightened and limped away.

As he grew older, Karl found strange spells coming upon him that turned him into something not quite human and forced him to drain energy from people. After his father died, Karl lived with the Anderssens, who had been grateful to him. The two youngsters fell for each other. Bur Herr Anderssen’s plans for his daughter did not include a young man of promise but no means.

Karl left, swearing to return and claim Tanya’s hand when he possessed the proper wealth. The saw each other rarely but she sent him letters full of love and Karl decided he would do anything to gain the fortune that would make her his. Karl labored hard at medical school and became a success. But his need for purloined human energy became ever greater. All his money and resources were siphoned into the ever more elaborate electronic apparatus needed merely to keep him alive by robbing his hypnotized patients of their vitality.

But he always knew human mutants were the answer to his dilemma. He knows Xavier wished to find and train them. Alex Summers must be one of them.

Lykos starts the device and feels more power than he has ever felt. When it becomes too much he breaks contact with the machine, but it is too late… as he begins to transform, outwardly into a pterodactyl-like creature. He chooses evil! he shouts. An evil so great and monumental that only one name in the annals of literature can contain it. The name of Tolkien’s ultimate villain… the name of Sauron!

He flies upward into the night sky…<ü>

Later, the X-Men watch the news hearing of a witness describing a thief with wings. The police suspect mutants. Angel wants the X-Men to act and squash the rumor. Jean protests. Cyclops reminds them they voted to lie low till human tempers cool. Let the police handle this. What does his father pay high taxes for? Angrily, Warren thumps the table. He doesn’t pay them so that mutants can be accused of every unsolved crime this side of Judge Crater! Maybe Summers’ back is broad enough to take it… but his is covered with feathers and they’ve just been ruffled!

He slams the door and comes back minutes later in his original costume, the costume of the Avenging Angel. He takes to the sky. The others decide to follow.

Angel flies towards Manhattan and confronts Sauron. Angel believes he is wearing a mask. Then he looks into Sauron’s eyes and screams…

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Havok, Iceman, Lorna Dane, Marvel Girl (all X-Men)


Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch (both Avengers)

Blob, Living Pharaoh, Mastermind, Mesmero, Toad, Unus, Vanisher

Judge Chalmers

Larry Trask

Dr. Karl Lykos / Sauron

Lykos’ patient

In flashback:

Teenage Karl Lykos

His father

Dr Anderssen

Tanya Anderssen

Story Notes: 

Larry Trask’s’s story continues in Avengers (1st series) #102-104.

“Ben Casey” was an American medical drama TV show from the 60ies.

The absence of Magneto and the Changeling is no coincidence as future issues will show.

In Greek mythology, curious Pandora opened a box of the gods, thus releasing all evil into the world.

Karl Lykos is shown to be Tolkien fan.

Judge Crater was a New York City judge who became famously known as “The Missingest Man in New York” after he disappeared August 1930 after a night on the town with his mistress. Crater had been linked with possible corruption, causing some to speculate it had something to do with his disappearance. He was eventually declared legally presumed dead nine years after his disappearance.

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