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Ororo Munroe (Earth-616).jpg
Wolverine, truly there is more to you than meets the eye.
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James Howlett (Earth-616).jpg
At my size babe, that ain't hard.
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Appearing in "To Save the Savage Land"

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  • Savage Land boat

Synopsis for "To Save the Savage Land"

Continued from last issue...

The construction of a massive citadel by the Sun People, the cult of Garrok the Petrified Man, has severely threatened the ecosystem of the Savage Land and the X-Men have agreed to help Ka-Zar prevent its destruction. As they approach the citadel, they are ambushed by a squad of Pterodactyl riders loyal to Garrok. During the fight, Cyclops, Colossus, Banshee and Ka-Zar are taken prisoner and carried away.

Wolverine assumes a leadership role and convinces Zabu to return to the Fall People’s village while he, Storm and Nightcrawler to the citadel’s gates. They find a sentry on lookout duty, but Wolverine sneaks up to him and “deals” with him. The confrontation takes place off-panel while Nightcrawler and Wolverine look appalled.

Sneaking inside, Wolverine deduces it’s the waste removal area for the city. While pointing out the route to their teammates, Wolverine is attacked by a small carnivorous dinosaur that chomps down on his arm. By unsheathing his claws, he easily waylays it. Storm remarks how he’s injured, but Wolverine states that he heals “real fast.” More dinosaurs attack, but Storm sweeps them away with a flash flood.

Eventually, the trio make their way to a vast arena, in the middle of which Garrok and Zaladane have the captured X-Men and Ka-Zar tied to posts. They are attempting to execute Colossus (held fast to a pyre by vibranium bands) by immolating him. As his organic metal body becomes red hot, Colossus wonders how much heat his body can withstand or if his skin can melt. Nightcrawler makes the longest single teleport leap of his life and removes the blindfold from Cyclops’ visor. Cyclops then uses an optic blast to free Colossus and Banshee while Storm (carrying Wolverine) swoops in to attack. As the team engages Zaladene’s troops in combat, Storm frees Cyclops and Ka-zar.

Garrok has exhausted too much energy building the citadel and needs to recharge his power. In the middle of the skirmish, he flees the scene but Cyclops sees him and takes pursuit. The chase leads him all the way to the top of the citadel. Cyclops realizes that the citadel is situated on top of the geothermal fissure that has heated the Savage Land since prehistoric times. Garrok attempts to access its power to recharge himself and the two men wage an “optic-beam duel”.

As he battles Cyclops, Garrok derives too much power from the citadel, de-stabilizing it. The combat below comes to an abrupt halt as the citadel begins collapsing. The X-Men begin rushing the Sun God’s people out of the city before it fully caves in. The citadel collapses and Cyclops and Garrok begin plunging down a shaft leading to the center of the Earth. Cyclops is rescued by Banshee while Storm races after Garrok. She withstands the extreme heat as well as her own claustrophobia, almost succeeding in rescuing Garrok. At the very last moment, though, she’s struck by debris. Succumbing to panic, she flies to safety while Garrok seemingly falls to his death.

The last of a the fortress caves in just as the X-Men escape. Storm emerges from the carnage but land far away from them. Banshee is about to fly to her location, but Wolverine stops Banshee him. He realizes that she wants to be alone to process what just happened.

Two weeks later, after the weather in the Savage Land has returned to normal, the X-Men bid farewell to Ka-Zar and Karl Lykos. They take a boat through the Drake passage leading to the ocean on their trek back to the civilized world. But as soon as they travel through the tunnel out of the Savage Land, they find themselves in the middle of a powerful and raging storm. This story is continued next issue...


  • This issue contains the first mention anywhere of Wolverine's healing factor and unbreakable bones: "I heal real fast! And the critter ain't been born that can break my bones."
  • Wolverine is also shown to be able to communicate with predatory animals, such as Zabu (Ka-Zar's pet sabretooth tiger) which may be a slight hint at the original idea of Wolverine being an evolved animal rather than a human mutant.
  • Additionally, this issue marks a significant turning point for Wolverine's characterization. While the incident takes place off-panel, it is strongly implied that Wolverine flat out murdered the sentry guarding the citdel entrance. Jim Shooter, then the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, took exception to this moment and mandated that Wolverine not be shown to ever use lethal force. Nevertheless, it was considered a key moment in the evolution of Wolverine's character. (It is, however, also out of character with Storm's later depiction. In this incident, Storm merely looks away disgusted. Given that she is later shown to be especially averse to taking human life, it seems unusual that she would not have intervened or at least objected.)
  • Speaking of Storm, the reprint series Classic X-Men Vol 1 22 featured a bizarre retcon to this adventure. The backup story relates that prior to the X-Men's departure from the Savage Land, Storm accidentally fell through another interdimensional rift and spent several years having solo adventures in this other realm before she was magically transported back to the exact point in space AND time she left her origin dimension!
  • Storm references the X-Men's second adventure fighting the Ani-Men in Norad's base in the Valhalla Mountains (X-Men Vol 1 95).

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