FOR PART ONE OF THIS LOOK AT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972) CLICK HERE
THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 92 (September 1971)
AVENGERS ROSTER: THOR (Donald Blake, MD), IRON MAN (Tony Stark), CAPTAIN AMERICA (Steve Rogers), THE SCARLET WITCH (Wanda), GOLIATH (Clint Barton), QUICKSILVER (Pietro), THE VISION (Not Applicable), 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 you readers have made it clear you want more Marvel items.
ALL THINGS MUST END
Synopsis: We pick up several days after the Avengers and their old civilian friend, rock singer Rick Jones, saved the world from Ronan the Accuser. Ronan was the new ruler of the alien Kree Empire after a coup d’état. When his plan was stymied by the Avengers, Ronan was forced to retreat back to Hala, the homeworld of the Kree Empire, because the Kree’s ancient foes the Skrulls had launched attacks on every Kree-held planet in the galaxy.
The Scarlet Witch, Goliath (formerly Hawkeye), Quicksilver, the Vision and Captain Marvel are enjoying down time at Avengers Mansion. Soon their butler Jarvis brings their attention to newscasts stating that the Avengers are being investigated by the U.S. government and the U.N.
Word has leaked from a Senator named H Warren Craddock and from the technicians the Avengers swore to confidentiality following last issue’s action. The entire world now knows about how the alien race called the Kree attempted to destroy the Earth.
Captain Marvel’s status as a renegade Kree captain helps draw attention to the Avengers and his place with them. Not helping the situation is the way Captain Marvel – aka Kree Starfleet Captain Mar-Vell – impersonated Earth scientist Doctor Walter Lawson as part of his original mission to infiltrate NASA at Cape Canaveral.
That circumstance inevitably leads to suspicion about how many other alien Kree may be infiltrating Earth bases, fanning the inevitable Witch Hunt.
Of course, our heroes know that eventually Mar-Vell sympathized with us primitive Earth creatures and sided with US against his own homeworld. Evidence links Captain Marvel to the frequent hostile alien activity at Cape Canaveral in recent years (in Mar-Vell’s own comic book) but in reality Captain Marvel was fighting that hostile activity, not participating in it.
Craddock’s fiery public accusations against the Avengers even imply that the reason the Avengers tried to impose a National Security blackout on the Kree attack in northern Alaska was really just to try to protect their member Captain Marvel from suspicion. (Marvel Comics has ret-conned several times if Mar-Vell was officially an Avenger by this point. I’m proceeding with him as a member since the whole story makes more sense if he is.)
NOTE: Craddock’s investigation is being called the Alien Activities Commission, a clear callout to the House Unamerican Activities Commission during the anticommunist Witch Hunts that ran through the 1930s to 1950s. (Though the 1950s edition gets much more coverage.) Before Republican Joseph McCarthy, Democrat Martin Dies led the Witch Hunts.
The 1950s edition was still often used in pop fiction as writers tried to draw various parallels to such activity. This was long before the modern-day “racism” and “hate speech” and “privilege” Witch Hunts in which accusations are – like in the anti-communist Witch Hunts – considered as good as proven and people who speak in support of the accused are tarred with the same accusations and presumptions of guilt.
Getting back to the story, Captain Marvel offers to turn himself in but the Avengers and Rick Jones argue about whether or not he should. Some think he should, others think there is no way he could get fair treatment given the shady Senator Craddock’s way of conducting himself.
Already protestors are surrounding Avengers Mansion insisting the Avengers should turn over the Kree Captain or be arrested themselves. Carol Danvers shows up in a helicopter over Avengers’ mansion. The copter malfunctions and the Vision and Captain Marvel must save her as the craft crashes on the ceiling of Avengers Mansion.
The Vision barely escapes serious injury in the rescue and we get more character bits between him and Wanda/ the Scarlet Witch. She is very concerned over him since their mutual attraction has finally come out into the open. However, the Vision acts cold and distant to her, still feeling unworthy and ashamed, thinking that as an artificial being he is not fit to be her romantic partner.
Quicksilver is angry that the Vision is being brusque with his sister Wanda. He doesn’t “get” the budding romance angle yet and when it comes out in the open down the road he will be furious that Wanda is involved with an android.
Anyway, Carol Danvers says she resigned as Security Chief at NASA because ever since the defeat of Ronan the Accuser’s plans in Alaska there has been a growing movement at the top levels of the government to railroad Mar-Vell and any superbeings who side with him.
Captain Marvel saved Carol’s life several times over the years. (This is long before she became Ms Marvel.) Through some of her friends in the covert services she knows of an upstate New York farm where Mar-Vell can hide out so he won’t be in Avengers Mansion when S.H.I.E.L.D agents show up to arrest him.
Again, the opinions of the Avengers are divided between helping the Kree Captain elude the authorities or cooperating with those authorities.
Rick Jones – IN A BIT THAT WILL HAVE GREAT SIGNIFICANCE DOWN THE ROAD – ruminates on how “human” superheroes have come to seem to him.
When he was growing up he idolized all of them, like a kid in the days of the Old West reading up on every single gunslinger covered in the papers and dime novels of the time period. He reflects on World War Two superheroes like Captain America, the Sub-Mariner, the Original Human Torch (really an android), the Fin, the Patriot, Miss America, the Blazing Skull and so many others.
However, as he’s come to know them personally he sees how human and tragic some of them are – like his friend the Hulk, always a fugitive … or Captain America, at this time still wallowing in self-pity over losing decades of time when he was frozen in ice. And now, of course, Captain Marvel and the Avengers and the very real personal crises they always have to deal with.
At length Mar-Vell leaves with Carol in a loaned Avengers Quin-Jet. Nick Fury, Dum-Dum Dugan and some other S.H.I.E.L.D agents in aircraft try to intercept the Quin-Jet but Mar-Vell and Carol get away. The incident further blackens the Avengers in the public eye and Craddock soon has them summoned to testify the next day before his committee at the U.N. (Readers will need to ignore usual political channels and just go with this. It’s just a comic book story, after all.)
The U.N. building is surrounded by anti-Avengers protestors and our heroes struggle to maintain their cool faced with the insulting and mocking shouts from the crowd. Inside the hearing room testimony is heard from various scientists at Cape Canaveral and the Alaskan base which Ronan attacked.
It’s all nice Marvel Comics verisimilitude, and my research makes me feel things like this separated them from DC Comics during this same time period. Some of the testimony advances the Avengers’ cause, but some undermines their position.
Craddock doesn’t call either the Wasp OR her then-husband Yellow Jacket to testify since their testimony would likely support the Avengers, whom he clearly wants to just nail. Investigators abusing the power of subpoena never goes out of style.
Reed Richards – Mr Fantastic of the Fantastic Four – is called to testify because, years earlier, he and his team had the first run-in with the Kree, their Sentries AND Ronan the Accuser over in their own Comic Book. Reed can testify to the Kree’s hostile intentions and has to admit that he has never met Captain Marvel but in his professional opinion if the Avengers vouch for him he would accept their testimony.
Ben Grimm – the Fantastic Four member called the Thing – does NOT support the Avengers and calls out the Avengers for not turning over Captain Marvel to S.H.I.E.L.D. and for their apparent complicity in helping him escape. He even goes so far as to say “Superheroes like them, we don’t need.”
NOTE: In the forever-overlapping stories of the Marvel Comics Universe, the Thing’s hostile testimony against the Avengers is due to his growing mental instability at the time. The Fantastic Four themselves had not come to realize it yet, but a recent invention of Reed’s which let Ben Grimm transform from his human form to his rock form and back again at will was also causing him to go nuts.
Eventually that would all get resolved in the Fantastic Four’s own comic book but it makes Ben look like a real jerk here in the pages of The Avengers.
Anyway, Goliath loses his temper and threatens the Thing while he’s still on the stand, making the Avengers look even worse, especially as the vulture-like media distorts the proceedings in the pile-on public atmosphere.
As the hearing goes on, Craddock is trying to destroy the Vision as he gives testimony, when Rick Jones experiences a brief flash of the mind-meld he formerly had with Mar-Vell when their atoms were fused. (See Parts One and Two) He realizes that the upstate New York farm where Carol took Captain Marvel was really a trap and Mar-Vell’s been captured.
Like an idiot Rick flees the hearing room and escapes, another black eye for the Avengers since he’s under subpoena like they are. In the accompanying uproar Craddock rings down the gavel on the first day of the committee’s hearings.
Back at Avengers Mansion, the Scarlet Witch, Goliath, Quicksilver and the Vision find the place ransacked and vandalized. Their butler Jarvis tells them that a few trouble-makers in the crowd of protestors led the others in attacking the place. He disarmed the automated defenses to prevent the protestors from getting injured or killed by the mansion’s automated defense systems which are set for superbeings.
Even worse for the foursome, Thor, Iron Man and Captain America are waiting for them. The Big Three chew out the Scarlet Witch, Goliath, Quicksilver and the Vision for their obvious aid in helping Mar-Vell escape. Next, invoking their rights as Founding Members of the Avengers, Thor, Iron Man and Cap expel the four of them from the team, saying they’ve brought it into disgrace.
The four numbly accept this and leave Avengers Mansion. +++
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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