FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE
AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 127 (September 1974) Bride and Doom
AVENGERS ROSTER (Friends of the Groom): 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)
FANTASTIC FOUR ROSTER (Friends of the Bride): Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards, PhD), Invisible Woman (Sue Storm Richards), The Thing (Ben Grimm), The Human Torch 2 (Johnny Storm), Medusa (not applicable), Franklin Richards and Agatha Harkness
INHUMANS ROYAL FAMILY (Family of the Bride): Black Bolt (King), Medusa (Royal Consort temporarily serving in the Fantastic Four), Gorgon, Triton, Karnak and Maximus the Mad
BRIDE AND DOOM
Synopsis: At Avengers Mansion the six current team members are at the dinner table for a turkey meal prepared by Jarvis, their butler. Suddenly, Gorgon, a member of the Inhumans (movie coming soon) and Lockjaw the car-sized teleporting dog appear in the room.
Gorgon had Lockjaw teleport the two of them to Avengers Mansion to pick up the team and bring them to the Inhumans’ hidden futuristic city the Great Refuge. He is surprised to find that Quicksilver (Pietro Frank), their former member and Wanda’s brother, did NOT tell them about the impending wedding of Pietro to Crystal, one of the Inhumans.
Quicksilver, in spite of the hatred he and the Scarlet Witch had always endured for being mutants, harbored such intense bigotry over Wanda’s romance with the android Vision that he had cut off all ties with her months earlier. The Scarlet Witch is driven to tears at the realization that he didn’t even invite her to his upcoming wedding.
Gorgon expresses his own outrage, making it clear that Pietro’s usual jerkish attitude has already alienated him (Gorgon) and the rest of the Royal Family and that they only tolerate Quicksilver for their cousin Crystal’s sake. Mantis calms the Inhuman down and the Scarlet Witch announces that the Avengers will happily accompany Gorgon back to the Great Refuge in the Himalayas.
To give tempers on all sides time to cool down the Avengers decide to fly to the Great Refuge in one of their Quin-Jets rather than just teleport with Gorgon and Lockjaw. First they set up a remote satellite television link with the Great Refuge so that the elderly Whizzer (Bob Frank) can watch his son Pietro’s wedding from his hospital bed in the Avengers’ Infirmary.
While the Avengers, Gorgon and Lockjaw fly to the Great Refuge we are shown a scene of Maximus the Mad, Black Bolt’s villainous brother and would-be usurper, puttering in his prison cell.
Maximus has used the cover of his harmless tinkering to create some unseen menace that he addresses as if it will help him overthrow Black Bolt and help him become King of the Great Refuge. That still-unseen figure has its own plans and blasts Maximus unconscious from off-panel.
Eventually the Avengers’ Quin-Jet lands in Attilan, the official name of the Great Refuge.
NOTE: The highly advanced technology of Attilan comes from the alien race called the Kree (originators of the Priests of Pama who taught Mantis). Hundreds of thousands of years ago the alien Kree had experimented on prehistoric humans, creating the super-powered race of Inhumans.
The Kree plan was to eventually use the Inhumans as mere cannon-fodder in the Kree Empire’s endless wars of conquest. Over the years the Fantastic Four and the Avengers had helped the Inhumans fight off their Kree creators to avoid that fate. The most recent time was during the Kree-Skrull War, which I may cover NEXT summer, given how popular this year’s Escapist Summer Superhero series has been.
Back to the story – the Avengers, Gorgon and Lockjaw exit the Quin-Jet and are greeted by the other wedding guests: the Fantastic Four. Crystal had replaced Invisible Woman on the team during Sue’s pregnancy years earlier. Crystal’s cousin Medusa was currently a temporary replacement for Sue.
NOTE: When Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman’s son, Franklin, was very young he had displayed mutant mind powers so powerful they were a threat to all life on Earth. To save the world from his infant son’s potential threat Reed Richards (Mr F) had zapped Franklin into a coma.
That action resulted in tension and eventually a separation between Reed and Sue, which was when Medusa replaced Sue on the Fantastic Four just as Crystal had previously done. Sue took things all the way to filing for a divorce, but just recently Reed and Sue had reconciled.
Medusa was still serving as Sue’s replacement while a cure was being sought for Franklin’s condition. Sue and the sorceress Agatha Harkness took care of Franklin in the meantime, so both Sue and Agatha were on hand for the wedding as was the comatose Franklin.
Anyway, also greeting the new arrivals were the Royal Family of the Inhumans, the rulers of this hidden land of thousands. The bride Crystal warmly converses with the Scarlet Witch, a conversation which turns awkward when it becomes clear that Quicksilver refused to even be on hand to greet his sister.
Mr Fantastic tries to break the tension by introducing Agatha Harkness to the Avengers. Before long Mantis asks the Inhumans about the giant robot Omega, which the Royal Family has left standing as a monument in the city.
Omega was created by Maximus the Mad and was powered by the hostility between the mainline Inhumans and the Alpha Primitives, their genetically engineered race of sexless manual laborers. After the FF helped the Inhumans defeat Omega, Black Bolt decreed that the inert robot serve as a reminder of the ugly treatment of the Alpha Primitives to avoid such atrocities in the future.
Meanwhile the mysterious entity who blasted Maximus earlier has a secret meeting with RN-62, leader of renegade Alpha Primitives who want to launch another war against their former masters. The still-unseen figure convinces RN-62 that he is Maximus’ go-between in the plot that the mad one and RN-62 had hatched.
The mysterious one indicates that now that the Avengers have arrived that plot will be put into action. The next day various members of the Avengers and Fantastic Four entertain the Royal Family and the citizens of Attilan with stunts and synchronized flyovers, etc.
Black Bolt, Medusa, Triton, Gorgon, Karnak and Crystal look on, enjoying the festivities despite Quicksilver’s obviously empty seat next to his intended bride. Suddenly, our unseen villain telepathically causes Iron Man and Medusa to attack some of the peaceful Alpha Primitives in attendance.
Thor and the Thing subdue Iron Man while Invisible Woman captures Medusa to stop the violence. Iron Man and Medusa then collapse with no memory of their recent actions.
RN-62 and his co-conspirators try to convince the peaceful Alphas that Medusa and Iron Man’s attack is proof that the Royal Family and their allies still harbor hostility toward them. The festivities continue under a cloud while Black Bolt confers in private with the leaders of the two super-teams – Thor and Mr Fantastic.
That meeting of the minds goes on into the night, while elsewhere in Attilan, Crystal tries to talk Quicksilver into reconciling with his sister before the wedding ceremony the next day. Pietro heatedly refuses and this argument is interrupted by the sudden arrival of the Scarlet Witch.
At this point Crystal leaves to let the brother and sister sort it out between themselves. Pietro continues to insist he wants nothing to do with Wanda as long as she is involved with an android.
For her part Crystal runs into the Human Torch, who was her boyfriend for years, even before she replaced Sue during her pregnancy. The heart-broken Johnny Storm puts on a brave front and wishes Crystal all the best before flaming on and flying off before his sadness gets the better of him.
More soap opera antics are going on in the room where MANTIS and her romantic partner the Swordsman are quartered. The Swordsman wants to know if Mantis still loves him or if she now loves the Vision more. Mantis replies that she is torn and that she is no longer even sure of her own memories or her real past following the revelations unleashed by her long-lost father Libra.
Eventually the two Avengers see Crystal in the street below getting seized and carried off by the suddenly reawakened Omega. That giant robot takes Crystal to the part of Attilan where the Alpha Primitives live.
Black Bolt feels that – given the violence at the festivities earlier in the day – the Alphas may resent it if the Royal Family or their friends the Fantastic Four search their neighborhoods for Omega. The Avengers agree to go instead. Quicksilver, worried about his intended bride, asks to come along and Thor okays it, saying once an Avenger always an Avenger.
Meanwhile the Fantastic Four and the Inhuman Royal Family go to interrogate Maximus the Mad in his lavish cell. Once there they are shocked to see Maximus lying unconscious.
Over in the Alpha Primitives’ section of the Great Refuge, Mantis is reeling at the tension of the scene. RN-62 is convincing his fellow Alphas that it is an insult that the Avengers want to search THEIR neighborhoods for Omega and the kidnapped Crystal. Quicksilver loses patience and attacks the Alphas.
Mantis alone manages to stop the speedy Quicksilver, then she lapses unconscious like Iron Man and Medusa earlier. The Alphas attack the Avengers, who fight a defensive battle since they know the Alphas aren’t really to blame for what’s going on.
The Avengers, carrying the unconscious Mantis and Quicksilver, emerge from the Alpha Primitives’ part of the city and run into the Fantastic Four and the Inhumans carrying the zonked-out Maximus. Mr Fantastic notes that Maximus, Mantis and Quicksilver seem to be in the same state as Iron Man and Medusa.
Maximus suddenly bolts upright and attacks the pursuing mob of Alpha Primitives with a ray-gun grabbed from one of them. He is ruthlessly mowing them down when the Human Torch tries to stop him only to be shot down by Maximus. The Swordsman then blasts Maximus down with his high-tech sword’s concussive power blast.
Now a free-for-all breaks out as the Alpha Primitives battle the Avengers, Fantastic Four and the Inhuman Royal Family. The gigantic robot Omega shows up and joins the Alphas against our heroes.
The Vision begins to contemplate solutions to the burgeoning mysteries but is sidetracked by fears of his android brain possibly malfunctioning. He thinks again about his panic attacks in Dormammu’s quicksand and Taurus’ pool.
Suddenly the Vision and everyone else in Attilan feel paralyzed. The formerly silent Omega speaks, observing that the Vision has belatedly figured out who is behind all this. The towering robot pulls off Omega’s mask to reveal a giant version of the villainous Ultron’s head on the Omega body.
This was back when Ultron was still numbering his iterations and he announces himself as Ultron-7, the mysterious figure who struck down Maximus and took over his plan. +++
I’LL COVER THE NEXT ISSUE SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MAIN LIST OF CENTAUR COMICS SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MEMBERS OF INFINITE HORIZON CLICK HERE
FOR THE AUSTRALIAN SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE
FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE: Superheroes
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