FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THE MARVEL SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE
THE AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 125 (July 1974) The Power of Babel
MANTIS’ vital role in the 1970s Thanos War is on the slate in this post. This first Thanos War was basically the same as the much later Infinity War, coming in movie form soon. Thanos was trying to get his hands on the Cosmic Cube, later called the Tesseract. This object was later ret-conned into being one of the Infinity Stones or Infinity Gems that fit into the Infinity Gauntlet.
So I guess the Infinity War is like the Thanos War but with SIX items for the scavenger hunt instead of just one. If this villain’s name isn’t familiar to you, he’s the big purple guy who keeps showing up in mid-credits scenes of Marvel movies.
THE POWER OF BABEL
Synopsis: The Avengers are back from Vietnam after saving the world from the Star Stalker. Much was revealed about the enigmatic Mantis but much still remains a mystery with some contradictory notes especially puzzling our heroes for now.
Libra is being taken off to prison by the authorities. Mantis tells him she still can’t think of him as her father but she feels that they are both the better for what has happened. He asks if she will visit him in prison but she replies that she does not know. It may depend on what she learns about her enigmatic past next.
Captain America returns to the team after dealing with a long, multi-issue adventure in his own comic book. Mantis welcomes him back and then goes to visit her romantic partner the Swordsman in the hospital as he recovers from being tortured by her crime lord uncle.
After she leaves, Thor, Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch, the Black Panther and the Vision bring Cap up to date on the new developments regarding Mantis.
Soon the Avengers – including Mantis and the recovered Swordsman – get dragged into the ongoing Thanos War which had been playing out in multiple Marvel titles back then.
Parts of the conflict involved Iron Man, Daredevil and the Black Widow plus the Thing from the Fantastic Four but the bulk of the action took place in Captain Marvel’s comic book.
Supervillains like the Blood Brothers, Ramrod, Angarr, Super-Skrull, the Dark Messiah and the Controller served Thanos who – with his homeworld (Saturn’s moon Titan) at last conquered – turned his attention to Earth.
In my research it seemed Marvel Comics has gone back and forth ret-conning whether or not the Captain was already considered an Avenger by this point. He had shared their first ever battle with Zodiac AND fought at their side during the Kree-Skrull War. He also helped them fight the Grim Reaper, the Space Phantom and Hydra.
In any event, after the Avengers and the Captain were fighting Thanos’ forces in a few issues of Captain Marvel events carried on from that point in this issue of the Avengers. Thanos’ space fleet of hundreds of ships are approaching the Earth. The Avengers fly out to cut them off, traveling in one of their Quin-Jets and in Taurus’ repaired Star Blazer Spaceship.
Thanos’ fleet consists of the scum of the galaxy, nothing but criminals and sadists. The Avengers are astronomically outnumbered but manage to destroy a few of the enemy spacecraft here and there. Most burn up in re-entry but a few crash in cities below, alerting humanity to the warfare raging in space.
Public panic begins to circle the globe. Meanwhile, the battle goes on and on until our heroes isolate a space anomaly that turns out to be a cloaked satellite of Thanos’.
While the Avengers investigate it, the Swordsman’s anguished jealousy prompts him to blurt out the way the Vision hovered over Mantis when she was injured fighting Zodiac and how he heavily praised her to him. He accuses the Vision of wanting his woman Mantis.
Vizh reacts with cold anger but the Scarlet Witch is now terrified that she may lose the Vision to Mantis. Wanda’s state of mind is not helped by Mantis’ unconcealed joy over learning that the Vision has been praising her to others. Amid all this tension our heroes continue investigating the vessel.
The Avengers eventually figure out that the satellite is the computer system which processes all the instantaneous translations for the earpieces worn by Thanos’ multi-race armed forces. They destroy the satellite, lapsing most of the attacking space ships into confusion.
The chaos enables the outnumbered Avengers to defeat Thanos’ fleet and they return to Avengers Mansion convinced they just dealt a heavy blow to the mad Titan. MANTIS insists she doesn’t think so, as her mutant empathic powers have made her aware that something is wrong with the entire planet Earth.
Thanos, lurking nearby, reflects to himself that Mantis is right about the state of the world. He sacrificed his fleet willingly because the Avengers’ battle with it has doomed the Earth.
And on that mysterious note this installment ends. Next time around we’ll learn what Thanos meant AND see our future Celestial Madonna Mantis prove her skills once again. +++
I’LL COVER THE NEXT ISSUE SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
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FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE: Superheroes
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