Behold the Eyes of Sauron

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The X-Men have barely had time to calm down since the excitement of the mutant genocide and they’re about to face a monster. This isn’t a lost, hapless mutant. This isn’t some guy in a suit with a fancy gadget. This isn’t a bank robber, a robot, or some pathetic megalomaniac plugging the holes in his ego. This isn’t Magneto’s crazy face. This is a god damn monster. Sauron is one of the first villains they’ve faced that could easily rip them limb from limb. He is a villain to fear, and I’m excited to see where he comes from. Issues 60 and 61 tell the story of his origin, his tragedy, and his first encounter with the X-Men.

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The story picks up with the team heading out of the now abandoned Sentinel base, where Justice Chalmers is tying up some loose ends. Larry Trask is in emotional shock at the revelation that he is in fact a mutant. Chalmers places the medallion back on his neck, which again represses his mutant powers and his memories. Larry Trask can go back to living a normal life, but Trask Industries is a mess. A company that nearly destroys the human race can’t be worth much- wait, no what am I saying. Monsanto. Exxon-Mobil. Dow Chemical. Coca-Cola. Trask Industries probably just saw its stock price triple. Larry will be fine. And if not, fuck Larry.

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On their trip back, they suggest dropping Lorna off at her home. She tells them that her home is with the X-Men now, which is pretty awesome. It’s nice having some new characters around, and we still have yet to really see what she can do. I’m still waiting for someone to call her Polaris. She is a mutant, and her old life is something she knows she can’t go back to.

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So the first thing they do is visit that doctor in New York, Dr. Lykos, the friend of Charles Xavier. The guy seems like a real dick. The last issue already pretty much established him as a maniacal douche, and he immediately sews seeds of distrust. A patient is seen leaving his office, exhausted and confused after being put into some sort of trance. A Jerky Boys sketch about a dentist comes to mind. The X-Men leave Alex in his care, and the doctor insists that he needs absolute privacy to perform his methods. A Jerky Boys sketch about a dentist comes to mind.

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They assume that Scott is perfectly safe and receiving great care. Some of that is probably true. The team retires to the mansion for some much needed R&R. This is the first time since 46 that we’ve seen the gang all back together in the mansion. So who’s up for some Danger Room! Hank, Bobby, and Warren are sharpening their skills with a good workout, as Jean and Lorna look on. Bobby has been pretty vocal and creepy about his affection for Lorna, so Jean feels comfortable bringing it up. Lorna is quick to point out that she is nobody’s girl. Bobby is going to be pretty disappointed if he ever decides to actually talk to the girl. He talks about her like she is his property, his prize for being the first one to lay eyes on her. Dibs, bros. Lorna is not impressed. Bobby kind of deserves it. What about Zelda and Vera?

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In fact, while Lorna is telling Jean that she isn’t Bobby’s girl, Bobby doesn’t hear because he’s too busy telling Bank and Warren how attracted he is to Wanda Maximoff. Bobby’s a good guy, but he’s young and foolish. He seems more into the hunt than the kill. He should cool it.

Hank is considering the scene that must have unfolded after they left, once Chalmers released all of the other mutants. Toad, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Unus, Blob, Banshee, The Living Monolith, Mesmero, and now also the Vanisher are gathered together in one frame. I bet that never happened again. The only reason for it is for Hank to ponder the likelihood of any of these mutants showing their faces in public any time soon. After the Sentinel incident, all these guys are sure to be laying low for a little while. They mention that two mutants managed to escape the reach of the Sentinels, Magneto and the Changeling. But how? Perhaps the answer will reveal itself soon.

They don’t mention that Namor, Mastermind, and Mimic were never apprehended. I don’t believe that Namor was established as a mutant at this point, but Mimic is an oversight. I wonder what that son of a bitch Carl Renkin is up to. Mastermind still hasn’t been seen since the Stranger turned him into a block of solid matter.

The scene then switches to the office of Dr. Lykos, where he is sending his nurse home for the night. That will leave him alone with Alex, and free to begin his experiments. He seems to be battling some inner demon, going back and forth with himself like Gollum.

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Then we’re sent into a flashback, beginning with a mountaineering expedition. We find out that he loves a girl named Tanya, but her father does not approve. So for whatever reason they’re all on a mountain. Sure, ok, whatever. Tanya gets lost in the snow and the doctor goes looking for her. Following her into a dark cave, they are both attacked by a swarm of what seem to be pterodactyls. Lykos is scratched, and he suffers terrible dreams and fever. He begins to hate the cold.

Once he awakes, his faithful dog comes to his side. Immediately upon laying his hands on him, Lykos drains a fair amount of the dog’s energy. Feeble and fatigued, the dog stumbles away looking like it aged decades. Dr. Lykos apparently has a strange power that absorbs people’s life energy.

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We see him hanging out with Tanya again, only this time he’s reading a book. It’s called The Fellowship of the Ring. I’ve never heard of it. Sounds dumb.

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Even after saving her life, Tanya’s father still won’t approve of their relationship. Dr. Lykos will seemingly do anything to build a fortune. He needs to be of proper means, so that he can give Tanya the life that she deserves, the life that her father has envisioned for her. All the while, Lykos is feeding a need for energy, harvesting it from his patients. Alex is surging with power, power that he can’t control. The doctor relieves him of it.

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Upon absorbing Alex’s tremendous power, Lykos transforms into something else, something monstrous, Green skin, wide bat-like wings, a long sharp beak, and a powerful tail make him a worthy adversary. This new creatures claims that he is completely evil, and so finds a suitable name. He is Sauron, just like some guy in some book that I once read.

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The X-Men like to stay alert, so when they’re not in the Danger Room they’re sitting in front of the television. A news report describes a crime spree being perpetrated by what seems to be a flying mutant. Warren takes great offense to this and makes the same dumb move as the last issue. He gets mad at Scott’s cautious approach and storms off on his own. Once again, this shit about him being the Avenging Angel.

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It isn’t long before the two are squaring off. Issue 60 ends with this cliffhanger, Angel looking absolutely horrified into the face of Sauron. Specifically, he looked into the creature’s eyes, which seem to have some power of hypnosis or suggestion.  Angel seems paralyzed. Sauron creates the illusion of three creatures and it takes Angel a minute to realize that they’re a trick. By the time he does, Sauron has him on the ropes.

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Lucky for Warren, the rest of the X-Men show up before Sauron decides to kill him. Cyclops catches him by surprise with an optic blast, and Jean tries a mental bombardment. It has no effect, and Sauron turns his illusions loose on Marvel Girl. She imagines that her three teammates are also monsters. Iceman is some sort of ice giant or yeti, which makes perfect sense. Beast is a beast, which makes perfect sense. Cyclops is a vampire, which is fine but why not, you know… a cyclops? Iceman has a bit more luck, but it proves to be not enough.

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I guess a vampire works just as well because Sauron is able to escape with Angel. Back at the office of Dr. Lykos, Alex is woken by a telephone call. For whatever reason, this causes Sauron to lose his power. He hypnotizes Angel and Dr. Lykos is carried away.

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The X-Men arrive at Dr. Lykos’ office and find Alex feeling better than ever. Tanya is also there. There is a big dramatic scene performed for everyone where Tanya’s father rushes in and verbally abuses the doctor in his own office. Lykos refuses to marry her without her father’s blessing and she runs out crying, calling him a fool. He’s being a major pussy.

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Back at the mansion, Warren returns, unresponsive and unaware of what has happened. He finally gives a reaction when Lykos’ name is mentioned, which sends Warren into a panic. Hank has to knock him out, and he is tied up.

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Bobby has this charming little exchange with Lorna where he gets all possessive of her, calling her “my chick!” Lorna is definitely not impressed, and tells him flat out that she is nobody’s property. Bobby should feel like an ass right now.

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You can’t blame Lorna for falling for someone else, someone who isn’t always looking her over like a piece of meat. That someone is Alex Summers, her future X-Factor teammate. Of course the way these comics tend to go, they’ll probably spend a decade too chicken to talk about it. When you’re an X-Man there are always life threatening things happening that get in the way. For example, an evil winged creature of death might absorb your life energy and go on a rampage. Lykos emerges from the shadows and grabs energy from Lorna, Alex, and Warren. Now Sauron is stronger than ever.

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He crashes into Tanya’s father’s home in some ill-fated attempt to prove his worth, that he can be powerful. Thankfully, the X-Men show up and fend him off. Again we see Sauron/Lykos  have a Gollum moment, battling himself. He flies off, his better side winning out. He hides out in a mountain lodge, surrounded by snow and cold. Without any energy to absorb, he will die. His plan is to sacrifice himself before he can hurt anyone.

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In the end, he gets his wish. When Tanya shows up, the X-Men are soon behind. To protect everyone, Lykos throws himself off of a cliff. He’s dead, I promise.

These were two great issues with an engaging, effective villain, a solid story, and a bit of welcome team drama happening in the background. The origin of Sauron really surprised me, because I always assumed that he came from the Savage Land. I never had a clue that he was a human, or such a tragic villain. I also had no clue that he had the powers of mind control and illusion.

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I’m realizing now that the bulk of what I knew of Sauron came from an action figure that I got when I was twelve.

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Posted on September 13, 2014, in Banshee, Blob, Ed Posts, First Appearances, Havok, Iceman, Mesmero, Polaris, Quicksilver, Sauron, Scarlet Witch, The Living Monolith, Toad, Unus, Vanisher and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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