FOR PART ONE OF THIS LOOK AT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972) CLICK HERE
THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 91 (August 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.
In this superhero-crazed world readers have made it clear they want more Marvel items. It’s another warm-weather season of escapist fun with The Kree-Skrull War, the prequel to last year’s Celestial Madonna Saga. I have a soft spot for superhero stories because reading them as a kid served as a gateway to two of my adult passions: mythology and opera.
TAKE ONE GIANT STEP … BACKWARD
Synopsis: We pick up right where we left off last time around. In the northernmost reaches of Alaska a “De-Evolution Zone” is spreading. Every life form in that zone, be it plant, insect or animal, is devolving to what it would have been over a million years ago.
The cause of that De-Evolution Zone is a citadel that is the product of alien Kree technology. Inside the citadel was Ronan the Accuser, who recently usurped the throne of the Kree Empire from the Supreme Intelligence, the Artificial Intelligence who had ruled the Empire for centuries.
The De-Evolution Ray causing the zone was put into use by Ronan the Accuser because he thought (mistakenly, as we’ll learn in a few installments) that this De-‘Vo assault aka Plan Atavus was why the Supreme Intelligence was studying Earth’s evolutionary past when Ronan overthrew him.
The Accuser feels the Supreme Intelligence’s goal was to eliminate Earth and its plethora of super-beings as threats to the Kree Empire by setting back the planet’s evolutionary clock. This will force life to start anew on Earth and hopefully – from the Empire’s point of view – this time less-threatening life-forms will evolve.
Ronan the Accuser has been bragging about his plans to his new captive, Captain Marvel, the traitorous Kree Captain who years earlier sided with Earth against the Empire. On one viewscreen Ronan and Mar-Vell see Rick Jones and three other Avengers – the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and the Vision fighting the enormous Sentry 459 ( a Kree robot) and the enthralled Avenger called Goliath (formerly Hawkeye).
Sentry 459 and the unwilling Goliath are preventing Wanda, Pietro and the Vizh from entering the Citadel and trying to rescue Captain Marvel. Meanwhile on another viewscreen, Ronan and Mar-Vell behold the Avenger called Yellow Jacket – now devolved to cave-man levels – approaching his fallen wife the Wasp, who was just rendered unconscious while fighting the Sentry and Goliath last issue.
Before the action resumes here is some vital data on the Kree Supreme Intelligence, a long-standing cornerstone of the Marvel Comics Universe.
The Supreme Intelligence is really a very high form of artificial intelligence created by the Kree close to a million years ago. It became the practice to transfer data from as many freshly-dead Kree as possible into the Supreme Intelligence’s biochemical memory banks, so that nearly all Kree knowledge and a little bit of nearly all passing Kree survive in the S.I.
As artificial intelligence is so inclined to do in sci-fi pop fiction the Supreme Intelligence eventually took over as dictator, but since the figure’s genius proved almost flawless militarily the warlike Kree basically said “Meh” and were happy to have him rule them all. I will say again that the fictional history of Marvel’s various alien races is as strong as other pulp sci-fi stories, like in Doctor Who or Star Trek.
The ambitious Ronan the Accuser wanted to overthrow the Supreme Intelligence partly because he blamed the S.I. for the current stalemated state of the Kree Empire’s ancient war with the Skrulls, another prominent alien race in the Marvel Comics Universe. (For the “senses-shattering” origin of that war see The Celestial Madonna Saga.)
Back to the story: Devolved Yellow Jacket doesn’t harm the fallen Wasp (his wife at the time) but drags her off to “mate” with her in a glossing-over of the true implications of that in his current caveman state. He winds up having to fight over her with the other horny cavemen with him. These men were U.S. government scientists who had been studying flora and fauna in Alaska.
Ronan switches his and Captain Marvel’s attention away from the Wasp and the horny cavemen fighting over her. Now they are focusing on the destructive battle pitting Sentry 459 and Goliath against the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Vision and Rick Jones.
The Vision defeats Goliath but then is felled himself by Sentry 459. The Scarlet Witch – who is just beginning to feel attracted to the Vision as he is to her – is so upset at the pain that the Sentry inflicted on the Vision that she is easily defeated herself. Quicksilver grabs Rick Jones and gets the two of them away from the Citadel before Sentry 459 can capture them like it just did Vizh and Wanda.
While trying to find the fallen Wasp, Pietro and Rick come across the tableau of the devolved Yellow Jacket fighting the other cavemen. The watching Ronan says that Hank Pym’s (Yellow Jacket’s) subconscious battle savvy from a lifetime of superheroing is what is letting him triumph against the greater numbers of his fellow raging cavemen and their raging … Nah. Too easy.
Hank’s love – as in tender affection – for Jan slightly penetrates (Again – too easy. Not gonna go there.) the haze of his primordial lust and also helps her to calm him down so that he doesn’t try to ravish her. Quicksilver and Rick decide to renew their attempts to break into the Citadel.
Inside that structure, Ronan the Accuser is still haranguing the captive Captain Marvel – held in place by graviton rays on his limbs. Ronan also has the Scarlet Witch, the Vision and Goliath held captive now by energy-bonds created by Kree technology.
The Vision and the Scarlet Witch are exchanging some of the earliest words of affection that they would ever speak to each other and nearly kiss but the Vision, feeling ashamed at his status as an artificial being made of plastoid flesh, pulls away and tells Wanda he’s not fit to be her romantic partner.
Ronan sadistically taunts the pair of Avengers but Captain Marvel replies with pop sci-fi tropes about how it is humanity’s capacity for “love” which may yet enable them to win out over Ronan and the rest of the Kree, despite the Kree superiority in technology.
Quicksilver and Rick Jones finally burst in, thanks to a fancy trick courtesy of Quicksilver’s super-speed powers. (Don’t bother asking – he’ll apparently never use this very potent trick in the future no matter how helpful it would be. Comic book writers, am I right?)
Quicksilver frees Wanda, the Vizh and the now UN-hypnotized Goliath, while Rick frees Mar-Vell. In the ensuing battle between our heroes on one side and Ronan the Accuser & Sentry 459 on the other, a lot of Kree equipment in the Citadel gets destroyed, unleashing a chain reaction.
In the middle of this chaos Ronan the Accuser gets a sub-space emergency message via Omni-Wave Projector from Hala, the Kree homeworld. Skrull agents have learned of Ronan’s successful coup against the Supreme Intelligence and of his stated plans to intensify the Kree-Skrull War.
The Skrulls have launched a pre-emptive strike against the entire length and breadth of the Kree Empire. Nearly a third of the Milky Way Galaxy is now embroiled in war. Ronan hastily teleports himself back to Hala via an Omni-Wave Projector in his Cosmi-Rod to assume control of the Kree war effort, leaving Sentry 459 alone against the Avengers.
The departing Accuser uses Kree technology to surround the Earth with a Nega-Shield to mark it as a spoil of war for the Empire.
The Citadel continues to crumble and fall apart. The Avengers escape as it AND the Sentry are destroyed. Yellow Jacket and the scientists are instantly back to normal, as is the Alaskan wilderness. The De-Evolution Zone is no more.
Yellow Jacket, feeling almost useless in this adventure, vows to stop being Yellow Jacket and just work with the scientists in his civilian identity of Hank Pym, PhD. The Wasp says she will stay in Alaska with Hank since they are married.
The Scarlet Witch, Goliath, Quicksilver, the Vision, Captain Marvel and Rick Jones fearfully contemplate the next move from the Kree and the Skrulls. +++
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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