FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE
AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 129 (November 1974) Bid Tomorrow Goodbye
AVENGERS ROSTER: Thor (Donald Blake, MD), Iron Man (Tony Stark), The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Frank), The Vision (not applicable), The Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne) and MANTIS (Mantis Brandt).
BID TOMORROW GOODBYE
Synopsis: The story picks up where we left off last time. The Avengers and the sorceress Agatha Harkness – the Scarlet Witch’s mentor – have gathered outside Avengers Mansion. Stunned crowds of onlookers have gathered as well, in reaction to the incredibly bright artificial star that appeared over Avengers Mansion like a sci-fi version of the Star of Bethlehem.
Kang the Conqueror, a frequent foe of the Avengers, appeared on the scene, saying that the star was a signal to him. A signal that the time of the Celestial Madonna had arrived and that 20th Century Earth was ripe for conquest.
NOTE: The Marvel Comics character Kang the Conqueror is a good example of ret-conning used in a SUCCESSFUL and REASONABLE way. Kang is the military dictator of 40th Century Earth and had often come back to conquer the 20th Century with his future technology.
When Kang first appeared in The Avengers in 1964 comic books were still considered to be “just for little kids.” This meant that in his early battles against the Avengers no mention was ever made of the familiar sci-fi concept that IF Kang had succeeded in taking over 20th Century Earth it would change the future so drastically that it might result in him NEVER EVEN BEING BORN.
As I said, back in the early to mid 1960s Marvel Comics administrators were still abiding by the conventional wisdom that comic books should be targeted JUST at children who were 10 or 11 or younger. Such children were not expected to see through the flaws of simplistic stories, so comic books stayed “dumb” which kept limiting their audience to little kids in a self-perpetuating cycle.
Stan Lee, whose animated corpse makes cameo appearances in Marvel movies (I’m kidding) was famous for trying to introduce more complex stories that might appeal to older audiences. Stan the Man felt comics could appeal to all ages just like sci-fi tv shows like Star Trek and many others.
Marvel thrived with that approach from the late 1960s onward. This brings us back to Kang the Conqueror’s role in the Celestial Madonna storyline. The creative team at The Avengers back then used this tale to ret-con WHY Kang attacked the 20th Century so often AND provided a reason why he could feel secure that it would not endanger his existence in any way. (Details below.)
Back to the story: The Avengers attack Kang, whose high-tech armor is beyond even Doctor Doom’s (except when other stories call for it NOT to be). That armor – as usual – enables Kang to go blow for blow with our heroes. Continue reading