X-Men (Vol. 1) #10

Credits:

Cover Date: March 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“The Coming of…Ka-Zar!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

What’s Going On?

The X-Men visit a prehistoric jungle and meet a Tarzan-like character.

Details:

  • News reports from Antarctica showed a scantily clad man and a saber-tooth tiger helped (and later attacked) some explorers. The X-Men suspect that the man in the loon cloth would have to be a mutant to survive in those temperatures.

  • They are wrong, though, as Professor X points out; Cerebro doesn’t sense any mutants in that area. Still, he allows the X-Men to investigate the situation because they are bored and need practice. Cyclops will lead the team on the mission.

  • In Antarctica, the team explores in the direction their loin-clothed man was last seen heading, and they find an imposing crevasse. There, they find an intricate system of tunnels and caves. After a few hours descending these, they found a land that time forgot!

  • While the team was distracted by the prehistoric Marvels around them, some primitive natives attack.

  • The natives manage to kidnap Jean before they are scared away by a sabre-tooth tiger. The tiger belongs to the loin cloth man, who calls himself Ka-Zar.

  • Naturally, there is a misunderstanding and the X-Men briefly fight with Ka-Zar.

  • Eventually, though, they made up and agreed to go after the guys who took Jean.

  • They need to hurry, because Jean and Warren —- Angel was scouting ahead of the group, and wound up captured by the same people—- are going to be sacrificed!

  • But to who…or what… will they be sacrificed to? A T. Rex, naturally.

  • Luckily, the X-Men and Ka-Zar finally reach the scene. The bad guys —- the “Swamp Men” —- have a well-fortified base, so Ka-Zar calls for help in breaking through their defenses.

  • The heroes rout the “Swamp Men” and rescue Marvel Girl and Angel. They leave on semi-friendly terms with Ka-Zar, who then blocks the entrance to the Savage Land behind them.

Is It Good?

It’s not good, but it’s not terrible. It’s just…dumb. The fact that the X-Men went on a dangerous mission —- and let’s be honest, any trip to the Antarctic is inherently dangerous —- because they were going stir-crazy at home is ridiculous. It doesn’t get less goofy when they find the tropical Savage Land and it’s entirely silly premise. The only good things here are Kirby’s art (dinosaurs!!!) and the character work.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of Ka-Zar and his sabre-tooth tiger, Zabu. Ka-Zar is basically a Tarzan knock-off, and Zabu is his pet sabre-tooth tiger.
  • This is the first appearance of the Savage Land, although it is not given a name in this issue. It is a hidden land beneath Antarctica that has prehistoric creatures (like dinosaurs) and primitive human tribes.
  • This is the first appearance of Maa-Gor, of the Man-Ape tribe.
  • Jean’s fine control of her telekinetic powers is improving to the point where she is able to do just about any complicated or delicate work imaginable.

  • Scott and Jean are still quietly pining for each other.

  • Professor Xavier has returned to the team. He left in X-Men #7 to concentrate on finding Lucifer.
  • The US government apparently contacts Professor Xavier when they suspect a mutant problem is brewing.

  • Apparently, Beast has some sort of tracking ability. I don’t think this is mentioned again.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • It seems silly to include pronunciation notes for a character’s name, but this is actually pretty useful.

  • It’s worth noting that, when Professor X left the X-Men a few issues ago, Lucifer was at large and presumed dangerous. As of this issue, Lucifer is at large and presumed dangerous. It wasn’t a very productive trip, Professor.
  • Really? Blood brothers?

  • Warren, have some self-respect and correct people when they call you by the wrong name.

  • “Skill of a born mutant”?  If that was a thing, then why do the X-Men need to practice using their mutant powers at all?

  • I love that no mention is made of how cartoony Iceman’s “giant snowball of bad guys” is.

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