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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

X-amining X-Men #63

"War in the World Below!"
December 1969

In a nutshell
The X-Men and Ka-Zar fight Magneto in the Savage Land.

Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Neal Adams
Inker: Tom Palmer 
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Plot
As Angel flies off to battle the X-Men, Magneto enjoys the irony before informing his followers that soon his ultimate mutant creation will be complete. Angel meets up with the X-Men and Ka-Zar, but Ka-Zar simply bats him aside and continues towards the Creator's headquarters. Magneto's Mutates and the Swamp Men emerge, engaging the X-Men in battle. Angel, realizing he's been duped, flies back to Magneto and overhears him gloating about creating the Mutates. Magneto explains to Angel how he survived their last encounter just as his latest creation emerges.


The X-Men storm the compound and are confronted by an entranced Angel, Magneto, and the newly-created Lorelei, a mutant whose song paralyzes all men. Magneto boasts that his mutant-creating machine, working with the local magnetic fields, can create enough mutants to takeover the world. But Marvel Girl is unaffected by Lorelei's song, and fights off Magneto before telekinetically opening Cyclops' visor and destroying Magneto's machine. Explosions breakout and Magneto is crushed underneath the wreckage of his machine. The X-Men flee, believing Magneto to be dead.

Firsts and Other Notables
This is the first appearance of Lorelei, a Savage Land mutate who can entrance men with her song.


More notably, this is technically the final Roy Thomas/Neal Adams collaboration. Both creators stick around (Thomas writes the next issue and #66, while Adams draws issue #65), but this is the last time they work together on the book.

A Work in Progress
The Savage Land Mutates are here called Neo Mutants. It is revealed that they are mutants Magneto artificially created. When his headquarters is destroyed (and Magneto seemingly killed) the Mutates begin to revert to normal; later stories continue to show them in their mutated form.

Magneto gives more details about his escape from the X-Men and Avengers in his last appearance. Apparently he used his power to burrow underground and discovered massive underground caverns which eventually led him to the Savage Land.


Magneto uses armor complete with a jet pack and some kind of ray guns against the X-Men in order to prevent his magnetic powers from interfering with his machinery. 


Ah, the Silver Age
According to Ka-Zar, "the law of the jungle says he who waits for the cobra to speak, shall never hear the babbling brook!" Okay...


Ka-Zar's sabretooth tiger Zabu is compared to a super-charged XKE, which the internets tell me is a type of car (a Jaguar) that was discontinued in 1975.

Marvel Girl gets a nice, Eowyn-esque, girl power moment.


For Sale
There's gold in them thar hills! 


Teebore's Take
Thomas/Adams take on Magneto is...less than spectacular (in particular, his whole plan centering around Lorelei is pretty lame) but it's fun, and Adams is given plenty of opportunities to draw cool stuff like dinosaurs. There's also something to be said for having Marvel Girl not only hold her own against Magneto, but essentially defeat him single-handedly. As the sixties draw to a close (this issue is dated December 1969, though it more likely saw print a few months later) it's perhaps well past time that Marvel Girl came into her own, but better late than never. Showcasing how powerful Marvel Girl has become even makes for a nifty bit of unintentional foreshadowing, as it won't be long after the debut of the new X-Men in 1975 that Marvel Girl becomes the most powerful member of that team.

13 comments:

  1. how does magneto even have the skills to create such a machine?
    no, no, no. none of this makes any sort of sense

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  2. @Falen: how does magneto even have the skills to create such a machine?

    Magnetically?

    To be fair, he's whipped out far more ridiculous machines in the past. Remember that one he created that somehow used Angel's parents' DNA to create a mutant slave army, but Iceman smashed it before it did anything, back in issue #18?

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  3. when the hell are they going to learn their lesson and quit 'assuming' Magneto is dead. Maybe someone should be double checking that shit before they leave

    also, i like how the gold ad is saying how you can own 'REAL GOLD'
    yeah- it's called jewelry

    wv: litibin
    i don't know what it means, but it makes me smile with all those 'i's in there

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  4. @Anne: Maybe someone should be double checking that shit before they leave

    Point. And actually, that's the impetus behind the first story in X-Men: The Hidden Years, an early 00s series designed to fill in the gap between the end of the Silver Age run and Giant-Size X-Men #1; the X-Men go back to the Savage Land to make sure Magneto is dead (he's not).

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  5. well then...
    you win this round xmen...

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  6. @Anne: Eh, not so much. It basically takes Professor X slapping them upside the head and calling them idiots for leaving without confirming Magneto was dead to get them back there...

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  7. I'm always astonished by how short the Thomas/Adams run was - it's been what, 8 issues ?

    From now on, it's basically over : #64 is obviously a fill-in, #65 is a bizarrely awful plot wrap-up that they had to call a fill-in writer for, and #66 is yet again filler, one of the most underwhelming "last issue" I've ever read.

    The first few months of 2011, when you're going to examine the "canceled" period, are going to be interesting...

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  8. @JD: I'm always astonished by how short the Thomas/Adams run was - it's been what, 8 issues ?

    Yeah, eight pure Thomas/Adams issues, though Adams was contributing plots to the issue before he started drawing, and I believe Roy gets a plotting credit on issue #65 even though Denny O'Neil scripts it.

    Considering how (more or less rightfully) revered it is, it is surprising how brief it is, and really, how much ground they cover (wrap-up the Living Pharoah, Sentinels, Sauron, Magneto in the Savage Land). And of course, it's a huge influence on Claremont and Byrne.

    #66 is yet again filler, one of the most underwhelming "last issue" I've ever read.

    Absolutely, though from what I've read, no one knew when creating it that it would be the last issue. It sounds like it was bascially a case of "well, Neal is leaving, let's crank out a fill-in while we figure out what to do next, oh, we're canceled?"

    The first few months of 2011, when you're going to examine the "canceled" period, are going to be interesting...

    Indeed. I'm still debating how I'm going to approach that. I definitely know I don't want to do an issue-by-issue examination of the Hidden Years, but I might do an all-in-one post (then again, very little of any significance or relevance happened in that series).

    And I want to cover some of the other major X-Men guest appearances, like the random Hulk issues, Marvel Team-Up, and the Defenders two-parter with Magneto as well as some of Beast's solo adventures in Amazing Adventures, but I still haven't decided if I'll do those en masse or one by one.

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  9. I remember when Paul O'Brien went through every issue of The Hidden Years for his indexes. The poor man...

    Yeah, an omnibus entry should be enough.

    Don't forget the Secret Empire saga ! A totally unrelated Captain America storyline serves as the climax for half a dozen appearances in as many random series by various X-Men members (most of which involve them getting beaten and captured off-screen).

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  10. You know, it just occurred to me that Magneto is using Angel to "buy him some time." You know what else would buy him some time? Slapping his jet pack on one of his cronies and having them fly to the X-Men. They'd be just as effective.

    I mean, why the ruse? It's just Angel. What's Angel going to do to the X-Men anyway? Taunt them from above?

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  11. @JD: I remember when Paul O'Brien went through every issue of The Hidden Years for his indexes. The poor man...

    Yeah, Paul O'Brien has had to read some awful comics through the years...

    Don't forget the Secret Empire saga !

    Ah, yes, good call! I even have a nice trade collection of that story from which I could probably get some good scans.

    @Dr. Bitz: I mean, why the ruse? It's just Angel. What's Angel going to do to the X-Men anyway? Taunt them from above?

    Uh...magnetically?

    Seriously though, I have no idea.

    Maybe he thought having Angel fight the X-Men would delay them longer than having to fight some random dude because they're teammates? Which is a pretty stupid assumption on his part regardless, but then the joke's on Magneto because the whole "Angel unknowingly fights the X-Men for Magneto" business gets resolved in, like, two panels.

    Ka-Zar basically says, "I don't care who he is," whacks Angel with a branch and then Magneto's followers start attacking everyone and Angel realizes he's been duped.

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  12. "(this issue is dated December 1969, though it more likely saw print a few months later) "

    A few months earlier, actually. Comics back then were dated a few months ahead, so this probably hit news stands around September of 1969.

    (That would put the final issue, 66, at around December of 1969. The original X-Men truly were of the 60s, and not a second later!)

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  13. @Jason: A few months earlier, actually. Comics back then were dated a few months ahead, so this probably hit news stands around September of 1969.

    Thanks Jason! I knew it was one or the other, then forgot to look it up before posting.

    The original X-Men truly were of the 60s, and not a second later!

    Boy, ain't that the truth?!?

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