FOR PART ONE OF THIS LOOK AT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972) CLICK HERE
THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 90 (July 1971)
AVENGERS ROSTER: THE WASP (Janet Van Dyne), THE SCARLET WITCH (Wanda), GOLIATH (Clint Barton), QUICKSILVER (Pietro), THE VISION (Not Applicable), YELLOW JACKET (Hank Pym, PhD), CAPTAIN MARVEL (Mar-Vell, Kree Captain)
NOTE: CAPTAIN MARVEL IS THE HERO THAT NICK FURY SUMMONED TO FIGHT THANOS IN THE POST-CREDITS SCENE TO AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.
Synopsis: We pick up where we left off, at Cape Canaveral, which in Captain Marvel’s own comic book series by Marvel Comics was depicted as an Area 51 type of base. Sentry 459, one of the Kree Empire’s gigantic, kaiju-sized robots scattered throughout the universe, was being studied by Earth scientists at the Cape.
From Hala, the home planet of the Kree Empire, Sentry 459 was remotely reactivated by Ronan the Accuser. In our previous installment Ronan pulled off a coup d’état, seizing control of the Empire from the Supreme Intelligence, the Artificial Intelligence which had been ruling for thousands of years.
Ronan directed the Sentry to kill Captain Marvel and the Avengers & Rick Jones, who were guarding the Kree Captain’s hospital bed at the Cape following the events from last time around. Ronan wants revenge on Captain Marvel for thwarting his previous attempt to overthrow the Supreme Intelligence, back in Captain Marvel # 16 (September 1969).
The Avengers battle the Sentry, intent on saving the barely conscious Captain Marvel. This Sentry, which had previously clashed with the Fantastic Four years earlier, out-fights the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and the Vision, who himself was much weakened after draining most of his power to save Mar-Vell’s life last time around. (Those three were the only Avengers on hand at the Cape.)
Sentry 459 grabs the bed-ridden Captain Marvel and announces to him and the other Avengers that he has received new instructions from Ronan the Accuser, who has teleported to Earth via a Kree Omni-Wave Projector. The Sentry is now to simply bring the captive Captain Marvel TO him. The Sentry does, teleporting itself to Ronan’s secret location.
While the Avengers and Rick Jones regroup, they are approached by Carol Danvers, back then the Security Chief at Cape Canaveral, years before she became Ms Marvel. She had been a supporting character in Captain Marvel’s now-canceled comic book series.
After sharing with Carol what information they can, the Avengers and Rick fly off in their Quin-Jet, headed back to New York City. During the flight, away from the prying ears of official U.S. Government security, our heroes ask Rick to share with them everything he learned about Mar-Vell and the Sentry during the time his mind was joined with the Captain’s.
Rick does so, detailing how, in the ancient past the Kree Empire’s exploratory fleet visited the Earth. As per their usual procedure they rounded up thousands of the primitive cave dwellers and experimented on them. Instead of dying the cave people mutated into Inhumans, the early ancestors of the super-group and hidden race in Attilan, their secret city in the Himalayas.
Since Earth people thus proved changeable through evolution the Kree planted a robotic Sentry like they always did on worlds with races which might one day prove worth conquering or a potential threat to the Empire. Sentries could last for millions of years and once a race on any world proved intelligent enough to find and probe the Sentry hidden on their world that Sentry would activate and broadcast a message to the Kree homeworld of Hala.
NOTE: The Fantastic Four story which introduced Sentry 459 was published in 1967, so the idea for the Kree Sentries was obviously a nod to Arthur C Clarke’s original short story The Sentinel. Especially in the way the Sentries were programmed to broadcast a signal upon contact with a sufficiently intelligent species.
Marvel Comics couldn’t have called the Kree robots Sentinels even if they wanted to, since Sentinels was already the name for the mutant-hunting androids in the pages of The X-Men. Anyway, kudos for Marvel for doing this so early, considering that the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, famously based on The Sentinel, didn’t come out until 1968.
Anyway, Rick rehashes (for the benefit of new readers I guess, since the Fantastic Four and Avengers share case files with each other so the Avengers would have known this part) the way the Fantastic Four battled Sentry 459 and defeated it. Ronan the Accuser, however, soon arrived on Earth in response to the Sentry’s broadcast summons.
The Accusers in the Kree Empire would arrive after Sentries called them to whatever world they were planted on. Accusers would then collect data and pass judgment on whether or not the intelligent species on a given world were prime to be conquered or were so potentially dangerous that they should be snuffed out before they progressed any further.
Ronan judged Earth, with its plethora of super-beings, too dangerous to the Kree Empire and – wielding his incredibly powerful Cosmi-Rod – set out to annihilate all life on the planet. The Fantastic Four defeated him. Later, the Supreme Intelligence overruled Ronan’s verdict about Earth, setting the stage for the increasing hostility between them.
THIS IS RELEVANT BECAUSE THE SUPREME INTELLIGENCE’S CHANGE OF MIND ABOUT EARTH IS PART OF A SECRET AGENDA HE WAS PURSUING, AN AGENDA WHICH IS CRUCIAL TO THIS KREE-SKRULL WAR STORY, THOUGH THAT AGENDA WON’T BE REVEALED FOR SEVERAL INSTALLMENTS YET.
Once our heroes arrive back at Avengers Mansion they find an emergency videotaped message from Goliath (Clint Barton. Formerly Hawkeye, but during this period while Hank Pym was Yellow Jacket, Clint adopted Hank’s abandoned Goliath identity since he had begun to feel useless as “just a guy with trick arrows”).
Goliath was summoned to Alaska by the Wasp , Yellow Jacket’s wife at the time, over an undisclosed world-threatening situation. The Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Vision and Rick Jones got right back in their Quin-Jet and flew to Alaska, too.
We join Goliath in his Quin-Jet as he arrives in Alaska, where bio-chemist Hank Pym was doing classified work for the government. The Wasp fills Goliath in about the reason for her emergency call.
She and Yellow Jacket came across a suddenly devolving patch of Alaska, a patch in which all animal, plant and insect life was reverting to the state they would have been in millions of years ago. The pair of superheroes fought a few prehistoric monsters and Yellow Jacket sent the Wasp back for help, then disappeared while continuing the fight.
The “De-Evolution Zone” was expanding at a rapid rate and would clearly – if not addressed – encompass the entire planet. (As we’ll see, Ronan the Accuser is behind this.) Goliath leaves the Wasp behind and sets out alone to investigate, because Clint Barton, whether as Hawkeye or as Goliath, has always been a reckless jerk.
While piloting his Quin-Jet into the De-Evolution Zone, Goliath engages in Soap Opera level contemplation. He is pining for the Black Widow, who recently dumped him, and reflecting on his growing feelings for the Scarlet Witch, unaware that the Vision is also becoming attracted to her, though the android has not yet told Wanda.
Goliath encounters and battles a few prehistoric monsters himself and defeats them, but then gets ambushed from behind by Ronan the Accuser. Ronan turns Goliath over to the Sentry for “conditioning.”
Soon, the Wasp, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Vision and Rick Jones arrive in the De-Evolution Zone and fight through de-volved monsters themselves, ultimately spotting a futuristic structure in the very center of the Zone, towering over the surrounding jungle.
Guarding the citadel are Sentry 459 and the now-enthralled Goliath. The two titans do battle with our heroes to keep them from entering the structure.
Inside that citadel we find the bound and captive Captain Marvel arguing with Ronan the Accuser. Mar-Vell pleads with Ronan to just kill him if he must but spare the Avengers and the planet Earth. Ronan refuses, saying he is proceeding with Plan Atavus, based on some information he found the Supreme Intelligence was working on when he overthrew him.
Captain Marvel becomes even more alarmed at the mention of Plan Atavus, since he figures that means the De-Evolution Zone will NOT stop spreading until all of Earth is reduced to what it was millions of years ago. Life will have to begin anew and hopefully – by Kree Empire thinking – will NOT develop life-forms that Ronan judges to be a threat to the Empire.
Ronan also plans – as he announced last time around – to intensify the ancient war between the Kree and the Skrulls. As his Villain Rant continues, the Accuser sadistically draws Mar-Vell’s attention to the viewscreen showing that the Wasp has been rendered unconscious during the ongoing fight between the Avengers and the Sentry and the enthralled Goliath.
Her fallen form is being approached by a slavering cave-man whose tattered costume indicates that he is her own husband Yellow Jacket, now reduced to primitive savagery. With this glossed-over insinuation that the cave-man version of Hank Pym will drag Janet off and rape her, we get our cliff-hanger ending for this issue. +++
I’LL COVER THE NEXT ISSUE SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY EXAMINATION OF THE 13-PART BLACK PANTHER STORY TITLED PANTHER’S RAGE CLICK HERE
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE LIST OF ATLAS/ SEABOARD SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE
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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