X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #6

Issue Date: 
September 1994
Story Title: 
Primal Scream

John Francis Moore (writer), Paul Smith (storyboards), Mandel Alves Flor, Fabio Laguna, Al Rio and Edde Wagner (pencilers), Ralph Cabrera, Keith Champagne, John Lowe, Mark McKenna, Al Milgrom, Joe Rubinstein and Tim Townsend (inkers), Steve Dutro, Bill Oakley and Richard Starkings (letterers), Joe Agostinelli, Ariane, Mel Sanchez, Andrew Triana and Matt Webb (colorists), Kelly Corvese (editor), Bob Harras (group editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief), Kerry Gammill, Dan Panosian (cover)

Brief Description: 

A ship is shot down as it flies over a military base guarding the Savage Land. All passengers survive, which includes Havok and his two Savage Land captors. Later, Cyclops, Jean Grey and Polaris arrive and gather all the intel they can from the military personnel. Satisfied, they head into the Savage Land. Meanwhile, Sauron is busy draining the life energies of the native tribesmen. After he finishes he sees a figure from his past and suffers a nightmarish waking dream. A bit later, Scott, Jean and Lorna meet up with Nereel and learn Sauron is behind Alex’s kidnapping. They head off towards Sauron’s Aerie in the hopes of rescue. At the Aerie, Havok is finally delivered to Sauron, but before he can be put to use Sauron uses him as bait for the X-Men he senses approaching. Sure enough the X-Men arrive and fall for his trap. After Jean and Lorna are taken out Scott surrenders. Later, the two Summers are strapped to an energy transference machine designed by Brainchild. Sauron uses the machine to drain the powers of both Summers brothers, but things go wrong and the machine starts to overload. Sauron grows bigger as tremendous amounts of energy course through him. He screams out over and over again in pain, which allows the recently escaped Jean and Polaris to find him. Polaris uses her powers to destroy the machine and she and Jean free Scott and Alex from its grasp. The Mutates order them to leave and they do so willingly. Their newly found freedom is short-lived as Sauron attacks them en route to Nereel. The X-Men crash land and do their best to avoid their winged nemesis. It doesn’t last long and the fight begins again. Sauron manages to get everyone under his control except Cyclops. After breaking Havok free the two brothers gain the advantage and knock Sauron down for the count. Jean enters his mind in the hopes of freeing the Lykos persona, but instead witnesses both the Sauron and Lykos personalities destroyed. No longer human, Sauron takes to the skies leaving the X-Men to wonder what his new future holds.

Full Summary: 

Part 1: The Arrival

Mountains of Antarctica

The alarms begin blaring at Deep Ice Station Alpha, the station that guards the area known as the Savage Land. UN security forces scramble to their posts. Inside one of the bunkers the communications officer reports to his superior there is no response from an unidentified aircraft headed their way. The commander asks for the estimated time of arrival. The comm. officer estimates another 30 seconds. The commander orders the craft blasted out of the sky.
The turrets light up and fire in succession at the strange aircraft. The ship takes a solid hit and loses altitude. It crashes into the snowy banks of the arctic landscape, breaking in half and skidding across the ice and snow. Alex Summers crawls weakly out through the gashed hull. He collapses not twenty feet away.

Inside the plane wreckage, Worm and Whiteout argue with each other, Worm blaming Whiteout for their predicament as he said the ship could withstand the missile attack. He adds that if their quarry escaped they would be in big trouble. Whiteout tells him to relax. Alex has nowhere to run. Worm agrees and adds that his slime still coats Havok and so he is still under his control. Whiteout worries about delaying any further and suggests they get a move on as their master has little patience these days.

Sauron’s Aerie

Sauron grasps the head of Tuval and slowly and very painfully drains his life essence. Tuval had watched as the other members of his hunting party had endured the same suffering and he had wondered silently how much it hurt. He realizes it is more than he could have ever imagined and death does not come fast enough.

Once Tuval’s life is fully drained Sauron tosses him aside among the bodies of his other victims. Sauron wraps his arms around his head and whines that he needs more victims. He calls out to Barbarus, who is standing nearby, and asks for the others. Barbarus informs him all the captives have been used up.

Sauron doesn’t seem to be listening, instead focusing on a shadowed individual standing beyond the doorway. He yells out accusingly at the figure. Barbarus thinks he’s talking to him and holds out his arm as if to protect himself from the maniacal Pteronodon. Sauron tells the figure he doesn’t belong and charges, leaping over the ducking Barbarus. Sauron yells, “I will kill you!!” and reaches for him through the door opening with his razor sharp fingers. Barbarus grabs a hold of Sauron and tells his master no one is there. Sauron seems to collapse in his embrace, defeated, realizing it was only his imagination.

Gaza rushes down the stone steps after hearing the commotion. Sauron spies the Mutate and orders him to stop looking at him, that there’s nothing wrong with him. Gaza reminds his master that he’s blind. He reports the news of Worm and Whiteout’s crash. He tells Sauron it’s unknown if Alex Summers survived. Sauron yells at him to find out because he needs Alex Summers. He’s his only salvation.

Ten Kilometers Southeast of Deep Ice Station Alpha

Scott Summers, Jean Grey and Lorna Dane stand outside the Blackbird talking with a Lt. Makeba about the plane crash. Makeba’s people have found no survivors, so he suggests Alex may still be alive. Lorna tells Makeba they believe Savage Land Mutates are behind the kidnapping. Makeba suggests if they survived the crash they’d be in the Temperate Zone, but admits it will be tough to find him. Cyclops says they’ll find him, calling Jean an accomplished tracker. Cyclops thinks to himself they’re lucky Jean is there, masking them as government agents so it’s easier for them to gain access to the Savage Land.

The three mutants head off into the snowy landscape. Lorna thanks Scott and Jean for helping out, but worries whether they’ll find Alex in time. Scott suggests they head towards the jungle since the Mutates aren’t acclimated to the cold weather. Unbeknownst to them, Whiteout and Worm observe the rescue team as they fly through a nearby cavernous region. Whiteout recognizes Lorna as Zaladane’s false sister and starts to worry. Worm tells him to forget about it, they won’t be found. They continue toward the Pangean tunnels that lead to the Aerie. Whiteout suggests they hurry, as Sauron’s appetite has grown more insatiable.

Sauron’s Aerie

Sauron is suffering from a waking dream. In it, he sees himself as a young boy completely infatuated with his friend, Tanya Anderssen. He relives the time he desperately fought to save her from the savage pterodactyls in the caves of Tierra Del Fuego. During the battle Karl was wounded by their razor sharp talons and left with a fierce hunger. His dream shifts later into his adulthood when he was a psychiatrist and fed off of his mentally ill patients. The scene changes once again to when the X-Men had fought him to reclaim the captured Alex Summers whose cosmic energies transformed him into Sauron.

Sauron’s dream drifts back to the love of his life, Tanya Anderssen, fully-grown and beautiful. He remembers killing her, freeing himself from the last vestige of his humanity. These thoughts cause the green-skinned beast to yell out Tanya’s name in anguish.

Sauron cries defiantly that Tanya was Lykos’ weakness... and Lykos is dead. He screams out that Sauron needs no one. He cowers in the corner and as he looks up spies the same figure from earlier. Sauron tells him it can’t be, that he’s a phantom. He yells out at the top of his lungs, “Leave me alone!!”

Village of the Fall People

Scott, Jean and Lorna meet with Nereel, leader of the Savage Land’s united tribes. There they discover Sauron is the mastermind behind the kidnapping of Alex. Nereel also informs them of the raids brought upon her people by the Mutates and how they are taking prisoners to feed Sauron’s appetite. Jean wonders why he’s after Alex, though.

Torgah interrupts their conversation to state that Sauron must be killed. Nereel agrees with his assertion and explains they are amassing a raiding party to storm the station Sauron inhabits. Cyclops offers his assistance, but asks if they can have time to free Alex. Torgah gives them a day, and warns them to be wary for Sauron will not show them mercy.

Pangean Tunnels

Barbarus and Lupo work their way through the tunnels in the hopes of finding their missing comrades. Barbarus expresses his doubts as to Sauron’s sanity and thinks their leader will soon be dead. This causes Lupo to get angry and he leaps at the four-armed warrior. He clenches his fingers around Barbarus’ throat and readies his right fist to strike. The two are then coated with Worm’s slime and force apart. Whiteout informs the them they’ve arrived with Sauron’s mutant.

Sauron’s Aerie

Worm drags Alex into the control room where Brainchild is hard at work. Brainchild admonishes them for destroying the craft he restored. Worm tells him to quit whining and accuses him of being jealous that they were allowed to travel to the Outland. “Sauron needed me here to prepare this conduit system—which was been on line for hours awaiting your tardy entrance,” Brainchild retorts.

Sauron enters the room and spies his prize. He lunges for Alex, but Brainchild cuts him off explaining he wouldn’t survive a direct energy transfusion. Sauron brushes the Mutate aside, explaining he senses others approaching and will use Havok as bait.

Part II: The Ties That Bind

The Savage Land Jungles

Off in the distance Cyclops spots Sauron’s stronghold. The trio takes to the air thanks to Jean’s telekinesis, to which Cyclops makes a bad joke about airline peanuts. They reach the hangar entrance and drop inside. Cyclops whips out a mini-Cerebro to lock onto Havok.

He picks up some nearby readings and takes off in the direction. They find Alex unconscious, sprawled out on the rocky flooring. Lorna yells out his name in worry. Jean probes his mind and informs them he’s still alive. Jean also senses a nearby presence, but Lorna is already in flight headed towards her lover. Scott warns her it might be a trap, but she doesn’t care.

Sauron makes his grand entrance coming in from behind Jean and knocking her to the ground. Cyke fires an optic blast that Sauron deftly avoids, threatening him about hurting his brother. Sauron claims he would never hurt Alex as he is more valuable to him alive. Scott asks him what he means by that, but is then knocked over by a tumbling Jean.

Sauron turns his attention towards Lorna, who is crouched down beside Alex. She threatens him as well, but makes the mistake of looking into his hypnotic eyes. Lorna falls under his control. Sauron grabs her by the arms and takes her away. He calls back mockingly at Scott, saying he’s all alone again like when he was a boy.

Scott’s too concerned with Jean’s condition to worry about Sauron. She’s very groggy and in no condition to fight. He decides his best option is to wait things out and he tells Sauron he gives up. Sauron lands nearby with Alex in tow. He tells Scott he and his brother have similar energy patterns and that the both of them will supply him with all the energy sustenance he needs during his reign over the Savage Land.

Scott tells him it won’t work, that there are others coming. Sauron asks if he’s referring to Logan, the same X-Man who he hypnotized into letting him go not long before. Sauron doesn’t wait for an answer, calling Whiteout over to make Cyclops come quietly. Cyke pleads with her to see reason, that Sauron is insane. Her reply is that it’s not her place to question Sauron’s will. Whiteout opens the box she’s carrying, which contains a Black Lotus flower. The effect is almost instantaneous as Cyclops breathes in the aroma and is lost in the Lotus dream.

Later, the two Summers brothers are strapped inside Brainchild’s energy transference machine. The large-domed Mutate explains that with both Summers the machine can alternate between power sources thereby never depleting either one. Sauron laughs in glee at the news and wonders why he never though of it before.

Scott wakes up Alex who asks what he’s doing there. Scott explains the failed rescue attempt and how something with the machine is negating his optic blasts. Alex takes a look at his surroundings and jokes the two of them are double “A” batteries. Cyke gets serious and asks Havok how he’s holding up. Alex says he’s doing ok, but worries about Sauron’s state of mind. He’s shaking like a junkie on a binge.

Brainchild tells Sauron everything’s ready. He assures his master the machine will shut down in case the energy levels become unsafe. Sauron scoffs at the idea and tells Brainchild he will let him know when he’s had his fill. Brainchild tries to argue the point, but Sauron will have none of it. His voice trails off as he once again sees the shadowy figure standing atop the energy transference machine. Sauron is incredulous. He killed him once before and he’ll do it again. As Sauron stares at the figure, his face becomes clear: Dr. Karl Lykos.

Sauron takes to the air after the form of his human self. Barbarus watches as his master argues with thin air and rubs it in Lupo’s face that he was correct in regards to Sauron’s sanity.

The blind Gaza questions Brainchild as to whom Sauron is yelling at. No one, Brainchild tells him. Gaza presses the issue and Brainchild admits Sauron is seeing visions of his human self and fears the power he takes from the mutants will only heal his body, and not his mind.

Sauron reaches the terminal and places his hands upon the conduits. Energy courses into him and he lets out a long, excruciating scream.

Elsewhere, Jean awakens and finds herself shackled to a wall with Lorna at her side. She tries waking Lorna up, but she’s out like a light. She gives Lorna a mental push and it does the trick. The electromagnetic mutant wakes up and uses her powers to break the shackles loose. She frees Jean next and then tears apart the door blocking their way out.

Meanwhile, Sauron’s screams continue. He finally tells Brainchild to stop, but the fail-safes on the machine burned out and there’s nothing Brainchild can do. Gaza stares in the direction of Sauron’s horrible screams. Brainchild notices Sauron’s body is changing to accommodate the increasing energy.

Nearby, Jean and Lorna hear the screams of Sauron and head in that direction. Jean can sense his painful psychic vibrations. Lorna comments he deserves every ounce of pain he gets. They enter the room and see the machine in front of them. They surmise Sauron’s draining the powers of Scott and Alex.

The Mutates spot them coming and get ready for action. Lorna takes out the machine with a magnetic attack. The machine explodes in a shower of sparks and smoke. The visibility in the room drops to zero so Jean uses her telepathic bond with Scott to find their teammates. The two women break the Summers boys out of their encasings. Both Alex and Scott feel drained and weak. They check to see if Sauron is still around, but they find no trace of him. Instead, Barbarus and Gaza approach them with weapons drawn.

Barbarus accuses the Outlanders of once again bringing disaster to the Savage Land. The X-Men are unsure what to do next, but Jean senses Barbarus’ disloyal thoughts to Sauron and uses that to influence his mind. She gives Barbarus a telepathic nudge to let them go reminding him Sauron was an Outlander too.

The Mutates lead the X-Men back to the hangar bay. Barbarus tells them to follow the river to get back to the Lake Village. Worm doesn’t want to let them go, but Barbarus tells him he’s in charge now. The foursome takes off on a piece of the hangar wall, which Lorna keeps afloat magnetically. Unfortunately, they soon discover the skies belong to Sauron, a much larger and stronger Sauron that is. He grabs the hangar wall section and rips it out from under them. The X-Men begin their hazardous plummet to the ground.

Part III: Wings Of Despair

Lorna and Jean do their best to slow everyone’s descent. They crash through the foliage with Sauron hot on their tails. They land with a splash in a murky swamp.

They crawl to shore where Havok comments about his mouthful of swamp water. Cyclops wonders what happened to Sauron. Jean guesses he underwent a secondary mutation caused by both their mutant energies. Luckily, his enlarged wingspan will prevent him from following them through the dense vegetation.

They decide to stay in the swampy areas and try to lose Sauron. Havok doesn’t think he’ll ever give up, though. Lorna tells Alex not to worry, that she’ll protect him until his powers return. This leads the group to discuss Alex and Lorna’s future as man and wife. Just as the conversation is about to turn ugly they spot an ancient ruin not far off in the distance.

They argue over whether they should seek shelter inside, but Cyclops wins out saying they need to find Nereel and warn her people of Sauron’s transformation. They stumble upon a black, reflective lens sticking out from the ground. Lorna and Scott check their reflections on the orb’s surface and see Sauron coming in for an attack from behind. Cyke and Polaris duck and Scott reminds her not to look into his eyes again. It’s too late, though, as all three of his teammates are ensnared.

Sauron forces them to see their worst nightmares. Polaris becomes Malice, Jean becomes the Goblin Queen and they face off against each other. Meanwhile, Havok is forced to confront his jealousy issues concerning Scott. Alex tells Scott he’s tired of living under his shadow. Scott tries reminding him of how Lykos was once his doctor and how he’s dredging up his insecurities. He tells Alex to snap out it.

The ground beneath them begins to shake and opens up. Both brothers fall into the murky cavern below. Scott searches for Alex with haste, knowing they need to stop Jean and Lorna as soon as possible. He finds Alex getting up from the water, his mind finally clear of Sauron’s influence. Havok hands Cyclops his visor, which came off during the fall. Alex can feel his power coming back, and looking into Scott’s radiating eyes it seems his is as well.

While above, Sauron gloats over the fierce battle he’s caused between two friends. Lorna has Jean in a chokehold and is ready to unleash some electromagnetic fury. Sauron stops them before any deaths can occur because he is hungry and needs some nourishment. He calls the two women to him, looking very happy. That is until an optic blast shoots right past his left ear.

Both Cyclops and Havok have arrived, ready to rock with their powers restored. Sauron turns around, confident that his newfound strength can’t be stopped. The brothers come up with a quick plan. Scott blasts him full force while Havok blasts the giant idol behind him. The idol comes apart and topples on top of Sauron. They discuss what to do with their enemy’s unconscious form. Jean suggests trying to find Lyko’s personality somewhere within his mind and help the good doctor reassert control. Scott tells her to be careful.

Jean finds herself in a cold, bland landscape. She sees Karl tied to a post, nearly naked and starved looking. He tells Jean she shouldn’t have come. That Sauron is going to kill her. Jean frees him from the ropes and tells him to be strong, like he was for Tanya. Karl, now free, stumbles forward exclaiming how weak he is.

Sauron arrives and tells Jean Lykos is too weak, too scared to fight and he will not let him take over again. Sauron dives at her, batting Jean aside. She notices how close she is to the dark void of Lykos’ soul. Sauron threatens he will send her into that abyss.

Lykos gets to his feet, looking stronger than he was moments before. With clenched fists he orders Sauron to stop, that he won’t let him hurt anyone else like he did Tanya. Sauron calls him a hypocrite, saying he did everything Lykos was afraid to do. Lykos says he was confused and should have never let it happen. He charges Sauron and starts wailing on him.

Jean notices how close they are to the precipice of the dark abyss and warns Lykos if they go over both their personalities will be destroyed. Lykos yells back it doesn’t matter it has to end. Jean pleads with him that there’s another way. Lykos says he’s beyond help. Then he pushes himself and Sauron over the edge and into the darkness below. Jean cries out and she finds herself back in her body, tears streaming down her face. Scott holds her close to him.

Jean begins telekinetically removing the rocks on top of Sauron’s body. Havok can’t believe what she’s doing. Sauron could still be dangerous. Jean explains it can’t be so, Lykos committed psychic suicide and both personalities are lost. Sauron stirs with a growl, causing the X-Men to take defensive positions. He lets out a “Nronk?” and takes to the skies. Jean tells them to let him go, he’s just scared. He has nothing left but his animal brain.

Havok wonders if it’s a mistake to let him go. Cyclops reminds him it’s still a possibility that Nereel’s hunting party will find him. Lorna points out the rules in the Savage Land are different. It’s kill or be killed. Alex agrees those aren’t the rules he likes to live by. He hopes, that in the end, Lykos found some sort of peace. Jean looks up into the sky and thinks all he’s found is primal oblivion.

The flock of pterodactyls Sauron tries to join fight him off due to his mammalian scent. It seems the creature that was once Karl Lykos will find no peace on the ground or in the air. He will have to fight to survive in the Savage Land.

Characters Involved: 

Havok, Polaris (all X-Factor)

Cyclops, Phoenix IV (all X-Men)

Nereel, Peter (Nereel’s son), Torgal, Tuval (all natives of the Savage Land)

Lt. Makeba


Barbarus, Brainchild, Gaza, Lupo, Whiteout, Worm (all Savage Land Mutates)

Sauron’s flashbacks:

Karl Lykos, Tanya Anderssen (children)

Karl Lykos, Tanya Anderssen (adults)

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

Story Notes: 

Karl Lykos’ transformation into Sauron occurred way back in X-Men (1st series)#60.

Tanya Anderssen was killed in X-Force (1st series) #5 when both she and Lykos were kidnapped by Toad’s incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Toad forced Lykos to drain her life energy so he could transform into Sauron once more.

Wolverine’s adventures against Sauron happened during Wolverine (2nd series) #69-71. It was in issues #71 that Sauron convinced Logan to let him go.

Madelyne Pryor, Jean’s clone, was transformed into the Goblin Queen during the Inferno Crossover. Lorna was possessed by Malice in Uncanny X-Men #219 and was leader of the Marauders for a time.

There are a gallery of X-Men images in the final pages.

1st pinup- Wolverine by Jae Lee

2nd pinup- Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Phoenix IV by Gary Frank and Cam Smith

3rd pinup- Rogue by Tom Grummett and Dan Panosian

4th pinup- Colossus and Magneto by Mike McKone and Mark McKenna

5th pinup- Archangel and Psylocke by Scott McDaneil

6th pinup- Longshot by Doug Alexander

7th pinup- Cyclops and Phoenix by Stuart Immonen

8th pinup- Generation X by Bryan Hitch and Cam Smith

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