- Each microsecond you delay the invasion will be invaluable! I need not stress the importance of your mission! There is nothing left to say but goodbye...and Godspeed! Now go -- quickly!
- -- Professor X
Appearing in "Before I'd Be Slave..."
- The X-Men
- The Changeling (Only in flashback)
- The Z'Nox (First appearance) (Main story and flashback)
- Various Z'Nox warriors
- Unnamed Z'Nox beast
- Nick Fury (Voice)
- Fantastic Four
- Dr. Theodore Norton, an astronomer
- David Brinkley
- Chet Huntley
- Unnamed multitude of humans of "good will"
- New York
- Magnetic South Pole
- Z'nox (planet) (First appearance)
- Z'Nox world-ship
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier
- X-Men's Rocket Ship
Synopsis for "Before I'd Be Slave..."
The X-Men have returned home from Washington D.C. following their battle against Sunfire to find Havok and Lorna waiting for them at the door of the X-Mansion in costume. The two new additions to the X-Men press the senior members that there is a matter of importance that requires their attention immediately and orders them to put on their costumes. With the senior members of the team tired following their ordeal in Washington, they are less than receptive, prompting Lorna to use her magnetic powers to hurry them into the mansion with a lamp post, however Beast grabs it and bends it in half, his patience sorely tempted, he tosses it only to have the lamp post incinerated by Havok's power. Fully charged with power, Havok tells the group that they are deadly serious, and the other X-Men begrudgingly enter the mansion and change into their X-Men uniforms.
In the X-Men's war room, Havok briefs them on an alien race known as the Z'Nox, creatures from the Andromeda galaxy who are a warrior race with no compassion who go across the galaxy invading and enslaving entire planets, and that their next target is planet Earth. They intend to use a Gravitational Transformer to decimate the entire planet with earthquakes and tidal waves. The X-Men are shocked by this, but are entirely skeptical that the novice members of their team could have done such extensive research. Havok tells them that they had not, that someone else had, as Jean breaks down in tears of relief at no longer having to keep the secret any more. Professor Xavier enters the room alive and well, much to the surprise of everyone else.
The Professor explains that months ago he had become aware of the coming Z'Nox invasion and he was required to go into hiding in order to prepare a suitable defense to drive them away. Visited one night by the terminally ill Changeling, Xavier agreed to allow him to impersonate the Professor while he prepared for the coming invasion. He then imparted a portion of his mental powers to both Changeling and Jean to upkeep the ruse. Things played out when Changeling sacrificed his life battling Grotesk and dying valiantly in the fight.
With his explanation complete, the Professor puts the X-Men through a rigorous training routine to prepare to be the first line of defense against the Z'Nox. When the Z'Nox activate their hidden weapon on the South Pole, SHIELD is the first to react, however the device’s defenses prove too powerful for the spy agency to get past. With the X-Men ready for battle, the Professor has them all board a rocket that he has prepared for this mission and launches them at the approaching Z'Nox planetoid. Getting past the planetoid’s defenses, they crash into one of the buildings, and upon emerging find a gigantic alien creature waiting for them inside.
As the Z'Nox weapons begin to wreak havoc across the world, the X-Men defeat the creature and burst into the Z'Nox control room and begin fighting the captains of the invasion force. While on Earth, the Professor, with Lorna's help, begin the final strike against the Z'Nox. With his mental powers, the Professor creates a giant psi-link between all the just minds on Earth and has Lorna direct his mental energies with her magnetic powers toward Death Valley on Earth.
Professor Xavier channels all of this mental power against the Z'Nox invasion fleet. He then orders Marvel Girl, Havok, and Cyclops (with Iceman's help keeping the heat level down) to channel their powers against the transmission device on the South Pole. Unable to bare the onslaught any further, the Z'Nox invasion fleet orders a full retreat and reverses course. With the mission a success, the X-Men flee the planetoid and return to Earth.
The Professor meanwhile, uses his mental powers to thank those that aided him before passing out, leaving Lorna to wonder if the Professor didn't just save the world at the cost of his own life.
This story is continued next issue...
The return of the most unexpected mutant of all! Plus—a battle royal against—the Star Spawn!
- While Havok has been associated with the X-Men since issue #54, this issue is the first which he operates with the team in costume in an official capacity.
- Stan Lee Dared Ask Himself: Who Could Tell A Peril-Packed Tale With A Pertinent Message For The Modern World? The Answer:
- Dennis O'Neil (Writer)
- Neal Adams (Artist)
- Tom Palmer (Inker)
- Jean Izzo (Letterer)
- references: X-Men #62, X-Men #63, X-Men #64, X-Men #42, and X-Men #38
- Oddly, Professor X combines the psyches of a multitude of humans worldwide and has Lorna Dane project them towards "Death Valley" to help the X-Men...who are battling the Z'Nox at the South Pole.
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