X-Men (1st series) #61

Issue Date: 
October 1969
Story Title: 
Monsters Also Weep!

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

Brief Description: 

Angel is beset by Sauron’s illusions when they are joined by the other X-Men. Sensing he is about to turn back to his human form, Sauron lures Angel away and hypnotizes him into taking his human self back home. Back in his office, he is surprised to find there the woman he loves, Tanya Anderssen. The other X-Men in civilian clothes come there as well to get Alex Summers, who has recovered thanks to Lykos’ therapy. That moment, Tanya’s father joins them and makes a scene as he considers Lykos unworthy of his daughter. He forces her to return home with him. The X-Men return to the mansion to find an apathetic Angel. When one of them mentions getting Lykos’ help, Angel turns hysterical and Beast kayos him. They decide to get help from Lykos, while Lorna and Alex are to look though Xavier’s notes on the doctor. While Havok and Angel are asleep, Lorna finds out that Lykos is a non-mutant variant. At that moment, Lykos slips into the X-mansion and absorbs some energy from Lorna and the others, allowing him to become Sauron once more. He then flies to Scarsdale to kill Dr. Anderssen but the X-Men are already waiting for him. From Tanya’s reaction, he realizes how evil he has become and decides to flee back to Tierra del Fuego to die there in the cabin where he was born. Tanya has an inkling about his destination but doesn’t tell the X-Men. Instead, she follows Lyko on her own. When he sees her, the starved Lykos realizes he’d kill her with his hunger for energy and chooses to throw himself off the mountain top instead. The X-Men, who secretly followed Tanya, manage to save her from jumping herself.

Full Summary: 

The Angel flew to face what he believed to be a thief, only to stare at the horror that is Sauron. “Your eyes!” he screams. Moments later, he finds Sauron to be gone, only to be replaced by three horrible monsters swooping straight at him. He doesn’t understand what is going on but dodges the first monster’s jaws, only to almost run into an overgrown mantis. He lucks out and manages to dart right through the three of them.

Immediately, he realizes that means they are not really there. Are they just illusions caused by that lizard-faced thief or was he an image too? Someone’s fighting him with mirrors, he believes halfhearted. As the illusions haven’t disappeared, he decides to confront them right on, flying into one creature’s gaping jaws. He is successful and the illusions fade away.

Sauron mockingly tells him to enjoy that brief taste of triumph for it shall be his last. The guy in the mask is real, Angel realizes. He is not masked, the terror boasts, and his name is Sauron!

Sauron recalls he was born that day when young Karl Lykos fought primordial reptiles off. As a result, he had a terrifying ability to drain energy from living bodies and the need to do so. Eventually, Lykos drained Alex Summers’ mutant energy and became the creature of darkness that craves more mutant energy to go on living.

Suddenly, Sauron is hit by an optic blast, courtesy of Cyclops. The other X-Men have arrived. Marvel Girl tries to mentally bombard him. She looks into Sauron’s eyes and suddenly sees monsters instead of her teammates.

Sauron laughs, realizing that now he merely needs to catch a victim’s eye and he can bring him under his power.

When Angel hits him, Sauron grabs him with his footclaws. Luckily, Beast slams into Sauron, who mocks Beasts’ attempts at helping his teammate. Angel orders Iceman to take him. Sauron believes this to be a bluff, not seeing Iceman coming up behind him on an iceslide until he attacks. Sauron finds he loathes the cold; he breaks free and shatters the iceslide. Quickly, Marvel Girl telekinetically catches Iceman while Angel chases Sauron.

At the same time in Lykos’ office, Alex almost struggles awake when the telephone rings. However, before he can pick up, the ringing stops, the woman caller having given up.

Under the bridge where he has fled, Sauron feels he is slowly changing back to Karl Lykos. He grabs Angel when he follows him, aware he cannot take his loot tonight. Only his escape matters now. An escape which Angel shall provide. He hypnotizes him.

The other X-Men worry but a moment later Angel emerges, carrying Lykos in his human form, whose face the others can’t see. Claiming nothing has happened to him, he flies off with Lykos and returns him to his office.

Lykos orders Angel to leave and remember nothing. He hears someone in the therapy room and is surprised to find Tanya Anderssen, the woman he loves. She explains she called but, when he didn’t answer, she had a premonition and had to see him.

Soon the X-Men in their civilian clothes enter Lykos’ practice to get Alex. Jean wonders if Warren was under the enemy’s control. They find an enthusiastic and recovered Alex shaking hands with Lykos, who reminds him of his appointment next week.

Tanya tells Karl she is proud of him and will be happy to be his wife. He reminds her that her father forbade that. Enter a livid Dr. Anderssen, who announces Lykos is not worthy of marrying Tanya! He is a charlatan and a fraud and shall die a pauper! He will not have Tanya share that fate!

Tanya walks toward Karl, reminding her father she is of age now. But Lykos turns away, refusing to marry Tanya while the shadow of wealth falls between them. Now, he’s being sensible, Anderssen agrees. That makes him a much bigger man in his eyes. And a greater fool in hers! Tanya cries. Lykos vows he will have wealth and power soon, to which Anderssen accuses him of raving like a madman. He orders Tanya to come home with him to Scarsdale. She will never see that man again.

The Anderssens leave and the X-Men are embarrassed to have witnessed that scene. Alex apologies and thanks Lykos again, then asks about the cost. Lykos announces he will send him the bill. When the X-Men are gone, he vows it will be a bill nobody has ever paid before… a bill to fulfill his wildest dreams and make sure their worst nightmares!

The X-Men find the Angel back at the mansion. According to Lorna Dane, he flew in and has been sitting there ever since, blank-eyed. Cyclops muses he almost seems hypnotized. Maybe Dr. Lykos could help him too, Bobby suggests. At the mention of that name, Angel shouts out hysterically, demanding they don’t let Lykos near him. When he tries to flee, Beast regretfully hits him.

The X-Men decide to get Lykos while Alex and Lorna are to look through Professor Xavier’s notes on Lykos. Iceman warns Havok not to do anything more. Lorna is his chick. Lorna scoffs she’s nobody’s property, but announces this is the wrong time for this discussion.

Sometime later, unaware of Karl Lykos slipping into the building, Lorna announces she’s found something on Lykos. Xavier discovered Lykos was something he called a “non-mutant variant.” She turns around, only to find Alex has fallen asleep. Lorna muses aloud that of all of them he has the greatest most terrible power, including it would appear a certain power over her heart.

She hears something behind her but too late, as Lykos grabs her and begins his absorption and consequent transformation into Sauron. Lorna falls unconscious and Sauron absorbs energy from Havok and Angel as well, preparing for the last act of the drama.

He flies away to a mansion in Scarsdale and there crashes through a window, planning to kill Dr. Anderssen. Anderssen recognizes his voice as the one of Lykos. Before Sauron can attack, Beast jumps on Sauron’s back. The X-Men have arrived.

Marvel Girl exclaims he would have murdered Anderssen. In a moment of reason, Sauron realizes what he would have done to Tanya and grasps how fully his evil side is in command. He flies off. Tanya claims not to know where he is headed but actually has an idea.

Sauron pushes himself flying toward Tierra del Fuego even as he gets weaker and weaker. Moments before he changes, he reaches his father’s old cabin in the icy wilderness. Lykos again, he enters the cabin and decides he must die here. Nevertheless, he can’t help clinging to life as he puts on the oven for some warmth.

It’s been a full day and he’s growing weaker. Suddenly, he hears a voice from outside calling him. It’s Tanya. She runs toward him and he realizes with his ravenous hunger his touch would mean death for her. He runs toward the cliffs and jumps.

Tanya is too close but is held back by an iceshield, courtesy of Iceman as the X-Men have just arrived. Though too late to save Lykos.

Marvel Girl mourns that if Tanya had led them here directly they might have stopped this. Cyclops muses this might have been for the best. Two beings struggled for supremacy in Karl Lykos’ mind: a monster and a man. But the man won over the monster in the end. Somehow they must find strength in that.

Characters Involved: 

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

Karl Lykos / Sauron

Tanya Anderssen
Dr. Anderssen

Story Notes: 

Apart from a brief Sauron appearance in X-Men: the Hidden Years, the story of Lykos and Tanya is continued in Marvel Fanfare (1st series) #1-4.

Written By: