Hey everybody, welcome to another week in Marvel Snapshot! This week’s character spotlight will be on none other than the flying menace of the Savage Land, Sauron! Yes, Karl Lykos is going to be the topic of discussion, so le’ts get right to it! Sauron was created by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams, 1969 (X-Men #59).
Karl Lykos was the son of a field guide. His father led many people on expeditions, but one in particular, Mr. Anderssen, had a beautiful daughter that young Karl fell in love with. On one expedition, Karl and Tanya were attacked by mutant pterodactyls. One of them bit Karl, and thus he was forever plagued by the urge/need to siphon life-force energy from people to live. After his father died, Karl went to live with the Anderssens. He eventually went to medical school and became a renowned doctor. He also ended up working with Professor Charles Xavier. During a time when Havoc needed treatment, Karl drained some of his energies, and was transformed into the hideous beast known as Sauron. He fought the X-Men, but then fled because he didn’t want to hurt Tanya.
Years later, Tanya persuaded Spider-Man and Angel (Warren Worthington) to help her search for Sauron. They found him in the Savage Land alongside Ka-Zar. He’d been working as a doctor, helping the natives. When the three heroes arrived, the mutates used a genetic transformer on them, and they were changed into a more animal state. Lykos helped to restore them, but then reverted back into his dinosaur-like state, and joined Zaladane and the mutates. The X-Men eventually returned to the Savage Land and rescued Lykos, and brought him back to the United States where Professor Xavier seemed to cure him. Eventually, though, Toad, of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, changed him back into Sauron.
Lykos later became part of Weapon X. After some in-fighting, Sauron became one of the more powerful members of the group. Alongside Brent Jackson, they ran the program for a short while. This was before John Sublime launched an assault on them, and the program went off the grid.
One of his later stories was in the New Avengers story “Breakout.” In it, Sauron is a prisoner on The Raft, but he soon escapes thanks to Electro (and the Skrulls). He heads directly for the Savage Land, and begins to plot with Brainchild. Soon after this, the New Avengers come to the Savage Land, but they are quickly subdued by Vertigo. After learning some information about the breakout, Iron Man uses his voice-activated armor to free the New Avengers and stop the mutates. Sauron isn’t subdued so easily, though, and it takes a bullet in the head from Yelena Belova to slow him down. He recovers from that by siphoning off Wolverine’s healing powers. The team still dispatches him rather quickly.
Another adventure in the Savage Land during Secret Invasion, and one with the New Mutants, were in Sauron’s future. Overall, he’s a great villain because of his unique power set, and ability to adapt. He’s also very intelligent and cunning. I’m sure his usefulness is far from over in the Marvel U.
As usual, check out my recommended reading list along with some of his best covers to date! See you next time, and enjoy!
Essential Classic X-Men vol. 3 – Tpb
Essential X-Men vol. 1 – Tpb
The Savage Land – Tpb
Weapon X (2002) vol. 1 – Tpb
New Avengers (2005) vol. 1, “Breakout” – Tpb