FOR PART ONE OF THIS LOOK AT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972) CLICK HERE
THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 94 (December 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.
BEHOLD THE MANDROIDS
Yes, this is the very first appearance of the Mandroids, the S.H.I.E.L.D. combat suits designed by Tony Stark to defeat the Avengers themselves if they ever turned bad. X-Men fans will remember that years later Moses Magnum used stolen Mandroid technology in his bid to conquer Japan.
Synopsis: Our story this time picks up just over an hour after the Avengers defeated the three Skrulls who were simulating the powers of the Fantastic Four. During that same battle Super-Skrull, the Skrull agent with ALL of the Fantastic Four’s powers in one defeated his Kree archenemy, the Avenger called Captain Marvel, and fled in a spaceship with Mar-Vell, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch as captives.
Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Goliath and Rick Jones have taken the captive Skrulls back to Avengers Mansion where they have subjected them to sedatives that will keep even those three alien agents unconscious for an extended period.
That accomplished, the Avengers contact Reed Richards – Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four – on their visi-screen. Since the Fantastic Four had Earth’s first several encounters with both the Skrulls AND the Kree the Avengers want to know if Reed has any idea what kind of strategy the Skrulls may be pursuing with the captive Avengers now that both alien races are fighting over possession of the Earth.
Reed promises to scour the Fantastic Four’s extensive records on the Kree and the Skrulls and get back to our heroes. While waiting to hear back from Mister Fantastic the Avengers turn their thoughts to what became of the Vision after the earlier battle. He was not defeated by any of the Skrulls so they are not sure where he disappeared to.
We readers now learn that the Vision stowed away on the Super-Skrull’s spaceship in order to keep close track of the captive Avengers – especially the Scarlet Witch, with whom his romance has barely begun. As it develops the Super-Skrull is using advanced Skrullian technology to leech off the “X-Waves” (named for Professor Charles Xavier) that emanate from the mutant brains of the unconscious Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver.
NOTE: This technology was eventually developed by the villainous group of Earthlings called the Secret Empire, who leeched X-Waves from the brains of eight captive mutants to power their aircraft when they tried to conquer America in the pages of Captain America and the Falcon.
At any rate the Super-Skrull’s spaceship has been using Wanda and Pietro’s X-Waves to locate the hidden city of the Inhumans: Attilan. The Skrulls know the Kree plan to use the Inhumans – descendants of primitive humanoids experimented upon by the Kree in the distant past – as super-powered soldiers against the Skrulls in the ongoing war.
Super-Skrull states that the X-Waves of mutant brains are similar enough to the altered brain-waves of the Inhumans that this has helped his craft to locate Attilan after several orbits around the Earth. He plans on wiping out the entire population of thousands of Inhumans with one massive, Death Star-like blast from his spaceship. (Again, courtesy of the X-Waves from the unconscious Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.)
The Vision is forced to reveal his presence on the ship in order to prevent Super-Skrull from wiping out all of the Inhumans. He and Super-Skrull at first fight each other to a draw but then, using the invisibility powers of Invisible Woman the Super-Skrull slips past the Vision and pulls the lever to unleash the deadly blast.
As it turns out the Vision’s attack delayed the Super-Skrull long enough for Attilan to raise a black energy shield around the entire city. This dome of black energy saved the city from the death-ray, infuriating Super-Skrull.
NOTE: This shield was erected by Maximus the Mad, who, in contemporary issues of Amazing Adventures, had been helped by Ronan the Accuser to overthrow his (Maximus’) brother Black Bolt and assume rule of Attilan, the Great Refuge. Ronan helped Maximus to do that in return for Maximus agreeing to turn over to the Kree all those Inhumans whose powers would be useful in a war.
Also depicted in contemporary issues of the Inhumans’ own series over at Amazing Adventures, Black Bolt, the rightful ruler of Attilan, was in San Francisco. He had originally gone there undercover to try to learn harmless ways of letting Earth people learn of the existence of the Great Refuge and its inhabitants.
His absence had provided Maximus and Ronan with the opportunity for Maximus’ coup, aided by his League of Evil Inhumans – later renamed the Inhuman League. An invention of Maximus’ then remotely caused Black Bolt to be struck with amnesia in hopes he would never return. As of this issue Black Bolt was still wandering San Francisco, not knowing who he was.
Back to our story: With his attempt to deprive the Kree of super-soldiers in the Kree-Skrull War thwarted, the Super-Skrull announces his plans to pilot his space ship back to the Skrull homeworld with his three captives. The Vision agonizes over leaving his beloved Scarlet Witch but ultimately decides he must seek the aid of the other Avengers to save not only Wanda, Pietro and Mar-Vell but the entire planet Earth.
Super-Skrull tries taunting the Vision as a coward but he replies that his logic makes him immune to such irrational attempts to bait him. So saying, the Vision flies out of the Skrullian ship and heads for Avengers Mansion.
With the Vision gone, Super-Skrull uses his ship to burst out of the Nega-Shield that Ronan’s Kree technology caused to form around the Earth to preserve it as a Kree spoil of war. Next he travels to the Star-Gate that Skrulls, Kree, Shi’ar and countless other Marvel Comics alien races always use to bop back and forth from our solar system to deep space.
In this case Super-Skrull’s ship winds up around the far-distant Skrull homeworld, name unpronounceable by a human tongue. Super-Skrull’s capture of the Kree Captain Marvel plus Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will supposedly put him back in the good graces of Emperor Dorrek IV.
Super-Skrull even hopes that the Emperor may give him his daughter, Princess Annelle, to wed. The now-conscious trio of captives hear Super-Skrull boasting that the Emperor will force Captain Marvel to reveal the secret of the Kree race’s top secret Omni-Wave Projector.
To Super-Skrull’s surprise, however, the Emperor’s forces open fire on the returning Skrull spaceship. This forces Super-Skrull out of the ship where he uses the Fantastic Four’s powers to defeat a large part of the Emperor’s army before Dorrek IV’s high-tech trap subdues Super-Skrull.
The Emperor tells his nearby daughter Annelle that he never would have created a super-being like Super-Skrull without a means of defeating him if need be. As with all of Dorrek’s other lessons to Annelle, this Machiavellian piece of thinking is wasted.
Princess Annelle is a kind-hearted woman who rejects the Skrull’s warlike ways. Skrull females are beautiful humanoids with smooth faces – not the rough and rippled faces of Skrull males. When Dorrek IV addresses the three captive Avengers Princess Annelle expresses admiration for Mar-Vell. She feels that any enemy of Ronan the Accuser must be a good man.
Dorrek is furious at this – and yes, Princess Annelle and Captain Marvel will begin a Romeo and Juliet-style romance in the midst of this Kree-Skrull War. The Emperor demands that the Captain show him how to build an Omni-Wave Projector so he can use it as a weapon against the Kree.
Mar-Vell refuses to betray his own race. Dorrek mentions that the Treaty of Fornax prevents him from torturing Mar-Vell for the information, but that Treaty doesn’t apply to primitive creatures like Earthlings. The Emperor – to the horror of his daughter Annelle – forces Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch to fight various monstrous and/or deadly alien beasts to try to get Captain Marvel to change his mind.
At great length, when an exhausted and overwhelmed Wanda and Pietro are about to be killed Mar-Vell gives in. He promises to build an Omni-Wave Projector for Dorrek if he spares the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
The Emperor spares the pair but keeps them imprisoned lest Captain Marvel change his mind. Mar-Vell begins to – as slowly as possible – construct the device for Dorrek, with Princess Annelle hovering nearby. (No, I don’t know why Dorrek allows this. Ya can’t stop love, I guess.)
Back on Earth, Senator H Warren Craddock, with his special powers from the U.N, is overseeing S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists as they perfect a device for detecting alien Kree who might be infiltrating Earth bases in human form as Mar-Vell did when he first came to Earth.
With the device fine-tuned by using human guinea pigs – the scientists who witnessed the Kree attack in northern Alaska – Craddock plans on rooting out any and all Kree infiltrators. In the meantime he wants S.H.I.E.L.D. to arrest the Avengers for ignoring their subpoena and failing to testify once again at this second day of his hearings at the U.N.
Those hearings ended earlier in the day and now as night approaches Nick Fury contacts the Avengers on their visi-screen with a quick comment that Acapulco is nice this time of year before immediately signing off. The Avengers rightly decide that Fury was trying to give them a hint to leave Avengers Mansion.
Before our heroes can fully contemplate acting on the head’s up the Vision arrives and tells the other Avengers everything that transpired on the Super-Skrull’s ship and at Attilan. No sooner has the Vision finished with this update than the Avengers hear a loudspeaker broadcast outside the mansion calling upon them to surrender in the name of Senator H Warren Craddock.
They rush outside, refuse to surrender and find themselves under attack by the Mandroids, outfitted with tech to counter all of their powers. Goliath had – just before the Vision arrived, consumed the very last of Hank Pym’s serum containing Pym Particles that let him grow so he knows his power will be wearing off for good soon.
This suits him fine because – since Clint Barton is always reckless and impulsive – he has decided he wants to stop being Goliath after this mission is over just because the growth serum wore off last time around when he tried to stop Super-Skrull’s escape. Emotional jerk.
Anyway the battle between the Avengers and the Mandroids rages before a crowd of onlookers. It goes on and on, and suddenly – off to one side on the street – a manhole cover opens and the Inhuman named Triton emerges. The narrative asks “But does he come as friend or foe?” as we get this issue’s cliffhanger ending. +++
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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