Tuesday, 14 August 2012

X-Men #60-#61: No, not *that* Sauron

X-Men #60 picks directly from #59 and tidies a few loose ends (Larry Trask has been left alive, and probably mindwiped by the medallion again). The main point left over is Alex needing medical attention. They take him to Dr. Lykos, who had worked with Professor Xavier on a "mysterious enterprise called... Project Mutant".

For the first time we see an explicit idea of superpowered mutants being merely the latest in a historical process of evolution: a caption asks "what did the last Neanderthal say to the first Cro-Magnon?". X-Men's attempts to engage with evolution have often been quite clumsy, and don't connect meaningfully with it either as a scientific idea, or on a philosophical level of rationality vs. superstition (which the modern evolution "debate" is a proxy for, when it's not really about chronology). It is hard to talk about natural selection in a universe that has no shortage of godlike beings claiming to be creators, after all. But that's as far as it gets here.

The X-Men didn't read Xavier's notes well enough. Lykos is a "non-mutant variant" who feeds on the life force of other humans, and finds mutants particularly tasty. Feeding on Alex, he becomes a were-Pteradon (something already latent within him). He decides to be Evil with a capital E, and gives himself the name "Sauron", citing J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings on panel. But while his evil side is pretty absolute, there's a good side to him too, and in the end he sacrifices himself to save his love, Tanya.

On other panels, Lorna is becoming not a bad character. She has a conversation with Jean (thus passing the first two tests), but it doesn't quite manage not to be about boys. She's resisting Bobby's advances, and falling for Alex. Also, it appears Jean and Scott have quietly hooked up off-panel somewhere, although they haven't told the rest of the gang yet.

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