X-Men #21 (last issue | next issue)

"From Whence Comes...Dominus?"

Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Jay Gavin (A pseudonym for artist Werner Roth taken from the first names of his sons. He would be credited under his real name starting with X-Men #23)
Inker: Dick Ayers
Letterer: Artie Simek
Editor: Stan Lee
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Cover date: June 1966
Cover price: 12 cents

Last issue, our heroes were in a private jet heading towards the desert base of Lucifer in the southwest US. They arrive to see a fantastic sight: a beam of light from the sky hits the base and six indistinct shapes fly in the beam from the sky into the butte disguising the base. Nearby, Porter Mack and his dude ranch workers, this issue's comic relief, see the light show and head towards Buchanan's Butte to investigate.

The Professor lands the jet and sends the X-Men off to find a way into the base while he telepathically monitors the situation outside. The team soon runs into Porter Mack and company, who open fire on the X-Men. An optic blast from Cyclops destroys the ledge beneath them and they all tumble into the river. The cowboys all run off, leaving Mack to face the X-Men alone. The X-Men quickly capture him and send him back to town on his horse, his torso encased in a block of ice. "How'll I ever explain this to the boys back at the dude ranch?" he laments.

On an ice raft, the X-Men take the river underground, but they're all sucked into a whirlpool. Above ground, the Professor's telepathic contact with his team is cut off, and he is captured by a pair of robots. At least he's now found a way into the base, he reasons as he is brought before Lucifer. Lucifer reveals that Dominus is the vast machine before him, a machine he will use to enslave the Earth. Meanwhile, Angel, Cyclops, and Marvel Girl are imprisoned in a transparent cage, while Beast and Iceman fight some robots. Lucifer explains to the Professor that Dominus, and the robots that operate it, were teleported to the planet with a beam of "ionic light". Dominus blankets a planet with rays that sap the will of the planet's inhabitants, turning them into mindless slaves. Lucifer also lets slip that the robots are "indispensable" to operating Dominus. Hmmm...

Beast and Iceman are captured by the robots and tossed in the cage with the others. But only one robot is left to guard them. Marvel Girl telekenetically flips the switch on a nearby panel which opens the cage, and Cyke dispatches that robot with a well-placed optic blast. The X-Men make their way into the heart of Dominus, but they receive a strange telepathic warning: Dominus must not be damaged. The team begins arguing amongst themselves, thinking the message was a trick of Lucifer's. But Cyclops insists that they must follow the Professor's instructions, and zaps Angel when he tries to damage Dominus.

The X-Men are about to come to blows when the five remaining robots attack. One robot charges the Beast, who nimbly dodges the attack. The robot explodes, and Dominus remains undamaged. Cyclops takes one out, and the last three robots are destroyed when Dominus reflects their attack back to them. With the robots its operation destroyed, Dominus is useless. The Supreme One contacts Lucifer and banishes him to a "nameless dimension" as punishment, and the Earth is saved.

Lucifer's plans were permanently foiled, but he wasn't gone for good and made a few more minor appearances. He showed up again in Iron Man #20. Even Dominus would appear again, sending the WCA back in time in West Coast Avengers #17.

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