Z'Nox in Sox

So, it turns out that Senator Ward (in ASM #23-24) is an ally of the Z'Nox. Does that name ring a bell with anyone? Oh, I know. Dr. Seuss, right? Z'Nox in socks in a box with Knox. Actually, No.

The Z'Nox are an alien race so insignificant in the Marvel Universe scheme of things that they only appeared once before; in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #65. That issue, written by Dennis O'Neil and drawn by Neal Adams, is mostly known for the resurrection of Professor X.

It begins when the X-Men are greeted at their headquarters by Alex Summers (Havoc) and Lorna Dane (Polaris). They have some very important news to tell. The Z'Nox "a star-spawned race from the Andromeda Galaxy, utterly dedicated to plunder and enslavement" are using their "gravity transformer drive" to bring their planet alongside the Earth. This plan was discovered months before by Professor Xavier who realized he needed to devote all his time in seclusion "in a sub-basement of this mansion" to devise a counter-attack to the threat. To that end, he asked the Changeling to assume his appearance and run the X-Men in his stead. It was the Changeling, then, who died in The X-Men #42, March 1968. (Bet some of you out there didn't even know that the Prof had been, for two years, dead.)

Xavier sends the X-Men to battle the Z'Nox while he uses his mental powers to cast around the world and link thousands of compassionate minds. He funnels these minds to Jean Grey, where they eventually become part of Cyclops' optic rays, which he fires at the Z'Nox ship. The aliens, being evolutionarily lacking in compassion, react with pain to the influx of kindness. "No Z'Nox can survive such mental corrosion", they decide. The Z'Nox planet reverses course and leaves the solar system. All Z'Nox remaining on Earth commit suicide. (Or so it was thought until they appeared in Amazing Spider-Man.)

There is one other item worth mentioning about X-Men #65. When the X-Men first encounter the Z'Nox, they must take on a giant being that Iceman refers to as "the watchdog". It looks more like a big green guy with scales. Here is what Neal Adams had to say about this in the pages of Comic Book Artist #3, Winter 1999.

"I had decided, because not too much was going on in the story, that I wanted to have some watchdog in this alien ship. So I created a watchdog that would prowl through this ship, and handed in my pages for dialogue and inking... Sure enough, patches had been put in over my spaceship watchdog, who went around on all fours, and it had been turned into a man-like creature walking around on his hands and knees, which seems a little strange for a biped to have to do. But since the ceiling was there, he couldn't stand up... It was one of those decisions that I think Stan made quickly... That was such an atrocious change that I don't think I'll ever forgive Stan for that one."

And that's probably all you ever need to know about the Z'Nox except that their appearance in Amazing Spider-Man (coupled with the recent appearances of Bloodstone and Namora in Marvel: The Lost Generation) prove that, for good or ill, no characters are ever forgotten in the Marvel Universe. No matter how silly, no matter how throwaway, they are always just an issue away. Me, I'd like to see the return of Drom the Backwards Man, if you don't mind. If Professor X can return from the dead and the Z'Nox can return from oblivion, surely someone out there can figure out a way to bring back poor Drom.