Sauron (comics)

Sauron (comics)


real_name=Karl Lykos
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut=(as Lykos) "X-MEN" (Vol.1) #59, (as Sauron) "X-MEN" (Vol.1) #60
creators=Roy Thomas
Neal Adams
alliances= Weapon X Savage Land Mutates Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
-Superhuman strength and stamina
-Hypnotic eyes
-Ability to absorb life forces and mutant powers
-Can sense mutants|

Sauron is a Marvel Comics supervillain, an enemy of the X-Men. Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Neal Adams, he first fully appeared in "X-Men" #60 (September 1969).

Sauron is the alter ego of Karl Lykos, sharing a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde relationship with the physician. He is an energy vampire who resembles a humanoid pteranodon after feeding. He often inhabits the hidden prehistoric jungle the Savage Land.

Fictional character biography

Karl Lykos was the son of an explorer's guide. As a teenager, he accompanied his father to Tierra del Fuego as the elder Lykos guided a wealthy client named Mr. Anderssen and Anderssen's young daughter Tanya. While defending Tanya from mutant pterodactyls, Karl was bitten by one of the creatures. During his recovery, he discovered that he could now drain the life-force of other organisms. He found himself repeatedly tempted to use his new power, feeling that he needed to drain life energy from other humans or animals to survive.

When Karl's father died, Mr. Anderssen took Karl into his home in thanks for rescuing Tanya. As the years passed, Karl and Tanya fell in love. But Tanya's wealthy father would not allow her to date Karl because of his lack of wealth. In an effort to win Mr. Anderssen's support, Karl went to medical school and became a physician. He treated patients through hypnosis, but secretly robbed them of energy at the same time.

Dr. Lykos became a colleague of Professor Charles Xavier, and first encountered the X-Men when they sought treatment for Havok. When Lykos absorbed energy from Havok, there was a horrible side-effect: he transformed into a vampiric, pterodactyl-like monster with human intelligence and superhuman hypnotic powers. He named himself Sauron, after J.R.R. Tolkien's villain (also reminiscent of the word "saurus", Latin for lizard), and battled the X-Men. But when he realized that his transformation would threaten Tanya, he fled to Tierra del Fuego. Without energy to absorb, Sauron turned back into Karl. When Tanya tracked him down, Karl threw himself off a cliff to avoid harming her.

Presumed dead, Karl actually survived, merely unconscious on a ledge below. He journeyed to the Savage Land and survived in human form by only draining less developed animals. He befriended Ka-Zar and used his medical skills over many months to care for Ka-Zar's allies. But when several X-Men were stranded in the Savage Land, Lykos was overwhelmed with the desire to absorb the powerful life energy of mutants. He transformed into Sauron once again after absorbing Storm's energy. He reverted back to human form during a battle with the X-Men, and Ka-Zar explained that Lykos was an ally.

A notable appearance was in the first story arc of the series "Marvel Fanfare" (1982), written by Chris Claremont. In that story, Tanya learned that Karl had survived the leap from the cliff. She joined Angel and Peter Parker on a journey to find Karl in the Savage Land. Unfortunately, he had reverted to his Sauron form and joined the Savage Land Mutates. The X-Men traveled to the Savage Land and defeated Sauron and the Mutates. They brought Lykos back to the United States, and at the X-Mansion Professor X seemingly cured Lykos of his condition. Karl and Tanya decided to resume their relationship and a normal life.

Unfortunately, Lykos was again transformed into Sauron and joined the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, despite the fact that he is not actually a mutant himself. Sauron went on to menace the X-Men and other heroes on a number of occasions.

Sauron became a prisoner of the recent Weapon X program jumpstarted by director Malcolm Colcord. Being held there against his will, Sauron started up a revolution with fellow agent Brent Jackson and dethroned Colcord as director, giving that position to Jackson. Sauron in return became a more powerful villain on the team, but vanished after Weapon X rival John Sublime launched an attack on Weapon X, and the group had to go underground.

Sauron held the new team of Avengers hostage when they came to the Savage Land ["New Avengers" #5] ; his colleagues had recently hired Electro to break him out of the supervillain prison he'd been sent to, and the New Avengers had gone to the Savage Land to confront him about the forty-one other escapees. The team freed itself thanks to Iron Man's voice-activated armour, and were about to interrogate him, when he was shot through the head by the second Black Widow. Fortunately for Sauron, he had absorbed Wolverine's regenerative healing factor and recovered from his injury, just in time to be soundly defeated by the New Avengers. He was taken back into custody, but not before returning the favor to Black Widow by burning her with his fiery breath. Sauron was placed in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and Maria Hill plans to return him to Weapon X.

In the "Secret Invasion" storyline, Sauron allied with Ka-Zar, Shanna the She-Devil, Zabu, and the natives when the Skrulls were invading the Savage Land. [New Avengers #41]

Powers and abilities

In human form Karl Lykos is fairly typical, except he keeps his ability to absorb the life forces of other living things to sustain himself. This often triggers his transformation into his pterodactyl form. If he absorbs the life force of a mutant he will absorb a portion of their powers temporarily. Due to manipulation by the Weapon X program, Sauron can expel the life force energy in concussive bursts from his hands.

In pterodactyl form he is superhumanly strong and is capable of flight. In battle, Sauron has several additional weapons: a lethal beak and sharp talons on his hands and feet.

At some point prior to his New Avengers appearances, he acquires an additional ability to breathe fire, which he uses to burn the second Black Widow in revenge for shooting him.

He also has a powerful hypnotic ability that requires direct eye contact to complete. He frequently uses his hypnotic power to give his victims terrifying delusions that allies have become monsters. He can also mentally enslave people to do his bidding, although his control is not perfect, as Portal is resistant to his commands.

Alternate Versions

Age of Apocalypse

In this incarnation, Sauron, redubbed Soaron is a more heroic figure, though he is extremely bad-tempered and reclusive, and he is never seen in human form. He is a member of Forge's group of Outcasts alongside Forge, Toad, Brute, Sonique, Mastermind and Nate Grey. The group traveled the countryside posing as a circus troupe, protected by Mastermind's illusions, in order to keep attention away from them while Forge trained Nate. Soaron would often sarcastically remark about nearly any situation the group found themselves in, and constantly referred to Nate as a "whelp". In a mission where the group rescue a large number of humans from a prison train, one of Soaron's wings is seared off and he is grounded. He bitterly remarks about this to Forge later, demanding to know if his wing was enough reason to avoid suicidal missions. When Domino and her team attacked the group, Soaron was noticeably absent, but after Nate went to challenge Mister Sinister, who had been hiding with the team attempting to manipulate Nate, Soaron and Sonique, the only survivors, arrived on the scene to save the latter. Nate accepts he must challenge Apocalypse, and tells Soaron to look after Sonique. Soaron somewhat fondly advises him to "don't concern yourself with us, just worry about yourself, whelp."

When the Age of Apocalypse was revisited, Soaron appeared along Sonique, Cloak and Dagger, Blob and a revived Jean Grey, as a member of Sinister's team known as the Sinister Six, a group meant to aid Sinister in destroying the X-Men.

It appears that both Soaron and Sonique were found by Sinister who forced Jean Grey to brainwash them into becoming members of his team. When the Sinister Six met the X-Men in battle, Soaron failed in an attempted to kill Magneto. At the last moment, Quicksilver prevented his father's death, but at the cost of his own. Enraged at the sight of his dead son, Magneto used his powers to thrust the Silver Samurai's sword straight through Soaron.

House of M

In the House of M, Sauron became a member of Magneto's palace guard on Genosha. He takes part in the battle against the heroes whose memories have been restored.

Other Media


Sauron became a major villain in the "X-Men" animated T.V. series (voiced by Robert Bockstael) after they first visited the Savage Land. Unlike his psychiatrist persona, in this version Lykos was an inhabitant of the Savage Land and was mutated by Magneto, though he later became a follower of Mister Sinister. This version of Sauron did not possess the fire breath of his comic book counterpart. Despite this, he was a formidable foe in many episodes.


In "X2", "Karl Lykos" is among the names on the files Mystique sees on Yuriko's computer.

Video Game

* Sauron appears as a boss in the original X-Men game for the Sega Genesis.
* Sauron also surfaced as a boss in "" voiced by John Kassir.
* He makes an extremely brief appearance on a TV screen in "Ultimate Spider-Man".


External links

* [ Sauron] at
* [ Sauron] at Marvel Appendix

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