X-Men (1st series) #62

Issue Date: 
November 1969
Story Title: 
Strangers… in a Savage Land!

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

Brief Description: 

Angel gives chase to the X-Men to warn them of Karl Lykos. He retraces their steps and finally ends up in Tierra del Fuego, where Tanya Anderssen informs him that his teammates went down that chasm to retrieve Karl Lykos’ body. Angel follows but is attacked by Pteranodons. He falls down and in the jungle below – part of the Savage Land – is found by a mysterious, white-haired man calling himself the Creator and his super-powered creatures. The Creator uses his machines to revive Angel. He makes the Angel believe that he is a sort of Savage Land version of Professor X and that Ka-Zar and possibly the other X-Men as well are endangering his work. Angel leaves to stop his teammates, unaware that his savior is none other than Magneto. In the meantime, the other X-Men have run into a reticent Ka-Zar, who is fighting superpowered swamp savages who are attacking the other peaceful tribes. 

Full Summary: 

It can’t be happening again! It can’t! the horrified Angel shouts as he spirals downward, attacked by several flying Pteranodons. He tries to keep out of the reach of their razor sharp claws but cannot dodge a glancing blow to his head. It sends him plunging downwards and recent events move past him.

The Angel is awakened by Alex Summers aka Havok after Sauron hypnotized him and his teammates had to take him out. When Alex and Lorna Dane explain that the X-Men have gone to see Dr. Karl Lykos about Warren, Angel reveals that Dr Lykos is Sauron. He has to stop them… or help them. He orders Lorna and Alex to stay behind. This is X-Men business!

Lykos’ office is empty but his address book offers another address where he finds Dr. Anderssen, who immediately attacks Warren, demanding to know where his daughter is. After the startled man has realized that not all winged creatures are Sauron, he explains that his daughter is in love with Karl Lykos. She’s followed him wherever he has gone. But he doesn’t know where!

A further closer search of Lykos’ office reveals a journal… telling of his strange childhood and mentioning a certain fountain in the far-off land called Tierra del Fuego.  

Angel flies there, to find Tanya Anderssen, who informs him that Karl Lykos is dead and the X-Men are searching for his body down there.

Angel follows into the yawning chasm but tiredness and recent injuries take their toll and he proves no match for the taloned furies…

Down he tumbles… his eyes seeing nothing until suddenly he is awakened by a burst of warm air against his falling body. His wings flap instinctively, desperately, but alas too late. He lands hard.

An amphibian creature wearing a strange harness find him. Addressing someone else as the Creator, he announces what he has found. The Creator, a white-haired, sharp-featured man in a jumpsuit with a strange harness addresses him as Amphibius. The stranger must have entered through the endless abyss, as the Creator once did. But this one will never return from whence he came. For he is dead. Then he is useless to the Creator and to their cause, Amphibius replies, disappointed. He reckons without his master’s unparalleled genius, the Creator replies. Bring him… for even death may serve one who knows its innermost secrets…

Miles away, the other X-Men find themselves attacked by a Tyrannosaurus rex, which breaks Iceman’s iceslide. Cyclops fires his optic blast at the creature. A moment later, he is pulled up by strong arms and thrown to the ground. They have done enough! Ka-Zar, lord of the jungle, announces. This is his land… not theirs.

The X-Men see their suspicions were right. They are in the Savage Land. He orders them to be silent. What’s wrong? Cyclops demands. Are they keeping his dinosaur awake? He shall say no more! Ka-Zar announces.

Iceman tells him it’s impolite to point and freezes Ka-Zar’s outstretched hand. And it is dangerous to mock him, Ka-Zar retorts and slaps Bobby. Angrily, the Beast slugs him and is hit in return. When Ka-zar’s sabretooth tiger, Zabu, joins the fray, Beast decides lying still and playing dead are the right response.

Ka-Zar tells Zabu to come. What they do, they must do alone, for Ka-zar’s fight is not the X-Men’s. The two leave.  

The X-Men follow at some distance. Ka-Zar hides in a tree to watch a strange procession. Ka-Zar identifies them as swamp savages, except for their leader. And they have captured yet another of the water tribe. Ka-Zar senses their purpose is evil and attacks.  

The group’s leader’s eyes begin to glow and Ka-Zar suffers from vertigo. The savages press their attack on him.

Seems like Ka-Zar’s captors never heard of the Geneva Conventions, Beast wisecracks. Iceman reminds them Ka-Zar told them it isn’t their fight. Cyclops announces they are making it their fight. In other words: attack! And they do.

While they battle, in a strange citadel the man known only as the Creator stands before a cryogenic unit, remarking it has kept alive the flickering spark of life he detected in the stranger. He hopes to be able to restore him to sentient life.  

His servants, the mutated swamp savages, are sure he can do it, though one of them remarks if only he could solve his own affliction, arms which need mechanical support, as easily as he turned them into superpowered mutants.  

The Creator orders them to be silent and observe. The Angel’s eyes flutter open as he is healed (and wearing a new costume). The Creator explains that he too is from the outer world and came here to create a more noble race of man.

That moment, Ka-Zar’s attacker – Equilibrius – comes running, explaining he fled. They had captured Ka-Zar when four others attacked, with powers that scattered his swamp men.

The other X-Men! the Creator exclaims. Angel remarks that he said that like the X-Men are his nemesis. They aren’t, unless his set-up here is on the shady side. The Creator explains he is engaged in vital work here. But if the other X-Men listen to that murdering Ka-Zar… Angel interrupts. The Creator saved his life. If he can prove he is on the level he’ll help him… even against the X-Men.

Elsewhere, Ka-Zar thanks the X-Men but tells them to go. Cyclops replies they are involved in this now. And why did Ka-Zar let the last swamp man escape? There is no time for talk, Ka-Zar retorts. Heed Ka-Zar’s words and flee the Savage Land… while they still can! Come, Zabu! They run after the barbarians.  

The X-Men follow and Iceman complains they come to salvage a body and end up in the middle of a civil war. Not a civil war, Ka-Zar corrects. He senses there is more at stake than any of them can dream. He tells them to listen to the fluted strains from nearby. He has never seen their maker but whispered tales call him Piper. When he makes music, death and destruction are his dread refrain.

Very interesting, Iceman remarks unconvinced, but what has that got to do with them? The answer comes moments later as a giant snake is about to attack Marvel Girl. Iceman quickly encases it in ice while Ka-Zar dodges it and runs away. The snake dives down again and the hot springs melt the ice. It has several tentacles with which it surrounds the X-Men.  

Iceman and Cyclops blast the creature’s head while Iceman complains about Ka-Zar’s cowardice.

However, as long as the music plays the monster won’t give up. The next moment, Ka-Zar grabs the Piper and takes him out. With the music over, the snake slides away and the X-Men realize they misjudged Ka-Zar.

Back in the citadel, Angel summarizes that the Creator has been searching for mutants among the tribes like a stone-age Professor X. The Creator explains there are untapped sources of radiation in this land which make mutants and therefore outcasts of many primitives. He has rescued these mutants from hostile tribesmen and taught them to harness their latent powers. Now they would fight for him to protect his work from an envious Ka-Zar.

He introduces them: blind Gaza who sees mentally, the man-frog Amphibius, four-armed Barbarus, Lupo who is at one with certain beasts, Brainchild with a computer-like mind and the emotions of an infant and the absent Piper.

Angel tells them there is no need for them to battle Ka-Zar or his buddies. He’ll call them off. He promises them peace and flies off.  

Beautiful! the Creator laughs. The Angel will delay the others… thus giving him the precious moments he needs. The moments that will make him the master of an entire planet!

Then the Angel does not suspect? Amphibius asks. How could he? the Creator asks. The Angel has never seen him before, except in his all-conquering colors. Perhaps it is true what they say, Magneto muses and takes up his helmet, clothes do make the man…

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl

Amphibius, Barbarus, Brainchild, Equilibrius,Gaza, Lupo, Piper

in flashbacks:
Angel, Havok, Lorna Dane

Dr. Anderssen
Tanya Anderssen

Story Notes: 

This is the debut of Angel’s new costume which ironically proves to be his most iconic one.

This is the first time Magneto is shown without his helmet.

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

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