February 27, 2010

Ye Olde School Cafe’: The Savage Land pt 1

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Written by: Billy
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It’s time to dust off those pre-1990 comic books and trades everybody. In this edition of Ye Olde School Cafe’, we’ll be taking a closer look at The Savage Land! This little gem from 1987 (originally in Marvel Fanfare #1-4, 1982) was written by Chris Claremont and art from Michael Golden, Dave Cockrum, and Paul Smith (cover by John Buscema). This story has a lot of characters in it so be ready for a roll call once and awhile to be kept a-breast. The time for introduction is over now, so let us journey to a land of Saber-toothed Cats and Tyrannosaurs!

Our story begins in New Mexico, with a young woman named Tanya Anderssen. She’s taking a helicopter ride to a secret hide-away that belongs to Warren Worthington, A.K.A. Angel, of the X-Men. As she arrives she meets Warren’s woman Candy Southern, and the two proceed into another room to talk with Angel. Tanya tells her tear-jerking story of being in love with a man and how she thought that man was dead. The man’s name is Karl Lykos. Most of us know him by his alter-ego, Sauron! Warren agrees to help Tanya after a little bit of convincing and they make preparations for their trip.

Meanwhile half a continent away in New York City, we see J. Jonah Jamison barking at Robbie Robertson and Peter Parker. Jonah tells the two about how there is an expedition going to the Savage Land and he has secured exclusive rights for the Bugle to cover it. Peter tells Jonah to forget it because he’s been there before and almost got killed. Robbie tells Jonah to sweeten the deal with some money and after some griping, Jonah relents and tells Peter he’ll pay him whatever he wants if he goes on the trip and gets the story and pictures.

In the next scene, we see the expedition going forward with Peter, Angel, and Tanya heading for an experience they’ll never forget. Just as everyone is taking in the scenery, a giant Pterosaur attacks their plane! It basically rips it in half and sends the occupants plummeting towards the ground. Peter uses his web-shooters during the confusion and Warren saves Tanya. The pilots landed safely on top of a ridge away from any trouble. The three friends are about to be on their way when they are viciously attacked by the cult that follows Zaladane (she’s the high-priestess that worships Garrok). Angel quickly takes to the air but is brought down by some unforeseen foe that disoriented him. Peter then shoves Tanya off a cliff to safety into a pool of water. He then changes into Spider-Man and starts to lay a whooping on the savages. Fighting for his life valiantly, even he eventually succumbs to the same disorienting feeling that befell Angel. Before he realizes what’s happening, he’s knocked out by Barbaras (a mutate with four arms and enhanced strength). Spidey wakes up to see that he has been shackled to a table and has some weird machine pointed straight at him. He sees his tormentors and starts to try and talk to them to buy some time to break free. After some introductions, Spidey tries to break his bonds but is helpless against the powers of Vertigo ( a mutate that has hypnotic powers that cause severe disorientation). Then, Brainchild (a mutate with an enlarged cranium and psychic powers), activates the machine and Spidey screams in agony.

We next are shown a scene where Tanya is about to be eaten by a T-Rex, but Ka-Zar (a Tarzan type dude who was raised by Zabu in the Savage Land after his parents were killed there) and Zabu won’t let that happen. The natives attack the giant beast with such savagery that Tanya can barely watch. She eventually passes out but awakens to find her lost love Karl, right beside her. Before they can even finish a meal however, there is an attack on the camp. The intruders are not known at first but then Tanya recognizes the clothes on the winged assailant. It’s Angel, but he’s been mutated by the machine that Brainchild unleashed upon him and Spider-Man. It doesn’t take long before we see the horrific Man-Spider that Peter has been changed into either. The two former heroes along with some of Zaladane’s minions, easily overtake the camp and bring Tanya back to their lair. At this point, Karl and Ka-Zar start to make their way to the citadel where Tanya is being held. They brashly go flying fists first into the chamber and begin to fight with the Mutates and the two mutated heroes as well. Karl and Ka-Zar are heavily out numbered though, and they start to take a beating. Spidey begins to gain a bit of control over his new savage self and stops Barbaras from killing Ka-Zar. He then throws Barbaras at the mutating machine and blows it to bits.

Karl sees though that it has already done its work on Tanya. She looks more like a neanderthal than herself but Lykos remembers that he can siphon energy away from people. He starts to return her to normal but then can’t make himself stop draining energy. He then grabs on to Spidey and drains him, but the consequences are that when he siphons too much energy, he turns into Sauron. Ka-Zar tries to get Sauron to attack him but he knows he’s not quite at full strength yet so he flees to fight another day. After all is said and done, Peter and Angel leave to go get help and Tanya stays with Ka-Zar to help find a cure for Lykos.

Well, that’s it for part 1 of this savage saga. Tune in again next week for part 2 as we see the X-Men join the party to try and stop the power siphoning Sauron and the Savage Land Mutates on their home turf!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. This is yet another trade I own but have yet to read.

    And I love Sauron!!

  2. billy

    @Andy-This is a cool book. Nothing Earth shattering, but a good action/adventure story for sure.

  3. Nothing earth shattering??? Wasn’t it Mike Golden?

  4. …and I notice, if that is the cover they used for the trade, they made a pretty boring decision (though I see the artist tried to simulate the rendering style of Golden on the Pteradactyl)

  5. He failed at that Ken lol. I never read this complete story I actually only had one issue from it and never was able to complete the set. Might just check it out now!

  6. billy

    @KM-Haha, I meant as far as the writing. Typically, Claremont tried to weave a story of some political or emotional issue. Not really the case in this story. Golden’s interiors are good but I think Buscema’s cover is better(with exception to the pterodactyl). Especially Golden’s Man-Spider artwork. I really don’t care for that.

  7. billy

    @Speech-If you can find the singles cheap, pick them up. If not, I think the trade is resonalby priced.

  8. I got this trade when it first came out. I love the first chapters by Mike Golden; good stuff! It also marks the point where the Angel and Ka-Zar both find out that Spider-Man is Peter Parker! That’s a cool bit of usually overlooked Marvel trivia.

  9. billy

    @Bill-Yeah, there is no way around that one for Peter.

  10. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by ComicAttack: Ye Olde School Cafe: The Savage Land pt. 1 #comics #xmen #marvel…

  11. Billy, I have now put you on my ‘on notice’ board…don’t get on the ‘dead to me’ board!

  12. […] yet the charts still look horrid. The 5% gains on the Nasdaq and S&P 500 only recouped a …Ye Olde School Cafe': The Savage Land pt 1This little gem from 1987 (originally in Marvel Fanfare #1-4, 1982) was written by Chris Claremont […]

  13. billy

    @KM-I’ve been so advised. lol

  14. […] Sauron in charge! Spider-Man and Angel couldn’t get it done, even with Ka-Zar’s help in part 1. How can the X-men do it? Well, read on to find out in the conclusion of The Savage Land, in this […]

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