FOR PART ONE OF THIS LOOK AT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972) CLICK HERE
THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 95 (January 1972)
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.
SOMETHING INHUMAN THIS WAY COMES
Synopsis: This story picks up where we left off last time around. The scaled, amphibious Inhuman named Triton emerges from a manhole at Avengers Mansion while Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Goliath, the Vision and Rick Jones are still fighting the Mandroids.
Those Mandroids – S.H.I.E.L.D. agents wearing high-tech combat suits designed to defeat the Avengers if they ever went bad – are trying to arrest our heroes for Senator H Warren Craddock. That Senator has special powers from the U.N. to deal with the ongoing crisis in which two alien races – the Kree and the Skrulls – are fighting over the Earth. The Avengers are wanted for failure to comply with Craddock’s subpoena regarding the heroes’ role in helping their Kree member – Captain Marvel – escape S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Mandroids seem to have the upper hand on the Avengers and Senator Craddock, observing the battle from his nearby command post, compliments Nick Fury on the performance of his agents in the Mandroid armor. Fury makes it clear that he’s only helping Craddock (a sleazy Robert Mueller-type abusing his authority) under orders. He also warns the Senator not to celebrate prematurely.
Fury turns out to be right as the Avengers suddenly turn the tables and defeat the Mandroids, thanks to a maneuver from Iron Man. Tony Stark – whose double-identity was NOT known back then – had designed the Mandroids and so Iron Man was finally able to exploit a weakness of theirs to knock out the men inside the armored suits with mild electrical shocks.
Rick Jones now helps the wounded Triton, who has been keeping out of the way while the battle raged. The member of the Inhuman Royal Family tells the Avengers what we readers learned last time around: Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans and ruler of Attilan, the Great Refuge, is lost in San Francisco with amnesia. His evil brother Maximus the Mad has taken over the Great Refuge and allied himself with the Kree invaders of Earth.
Triton came to New York to seek help from the Fantastic Four but paniced humans – still in alert mode over another possible alien attack – assumed he was an extraterrestrial. He wound up fighting the National Guard and was wounded and prevented from reaching the Fantastic Four so he made for Avengers Mansion instead.
The Avengers offer to help Triton find Black Bolt and then restore him to the throne of the Great Refuge in order to deprive the Kree of their foothold in Attilan. The Vision argues against this. His newfound love for the Scarlet Witch motivates him to insist that the Avengers should instead focus on freeing the three Avengers taken captive by the Skrulls – the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Captain Marvel.
After a bitter argument everyone calms down and agrees to split up and attempt both missions. The Vision is permitted to select the teams because of his logical mind but he secretly fears that his feelings for the Scarlet Witch prompt him to keep his most powerful teammates – Thor and Iron Man – with him to try to save the captive Avengers. He assigns Captain America, Goliath and Rick Jones to accompany Triton to San Francisco to look for Black Bolt.
Right after the second group departs for San Francisco in an Avengers Quin-Jet, Craddock and S.H.I.E.L.D. activate a special feature that Tony Stark never knew they added to the Mandroid suits. Even though the men inside the armored suits are still unconscious this secret addition allows S.H.I.E.L.D. technicians to animate and operate the Mandroids remotely. Thor, Iron Man and the Vision are once again under attack by the Mandroids.
While another lengthy battle begins in front of Avengers Mansion, out in San Francisco we learn that – as seen in a recent issue of Amazing Adventures – Black Bolt regained his memory following the traumatic destruction of many Frisco docks and piers. That destruction happened when the amnesiac Black Bolt, not remembering how powerful his voice is, violated his vow of silence and SPOKE.
His voice unleashed massive destruction, which, in the current climate, got HIM pegged as an alien invader, too. Cops and criminals that the Inhumans’ monarch had been manipulated by have him, a crook and a child (Joey) who had befriended Black Bolt, under siege in a warehouse. The standoff has been going on for hours. If Black Bolt flies away or surrenders the crook threatens to shoot Joey.
So, with the Avengers now accused of helping the New York alien (really Triton) escape, they get in even deeper by coming to the aid of “the San Francisco alien” (really Black Bolt). Captain America, Goliath and Rick Jones help Black Bolt wrap up the perilous situation, then take the orphan Joey with them in their Quin-Jet as they set out for Attilan, the Great Refuge hidden in the Himalayas.
As the Quin-Jet flies over the Pacific our heroes are lost in thought. Captain America feels torn between knowing how crucial it is to end the Kree ally Maximus’ control of the Great Refuge and his own growing anxiety to save the Skrull captives. Rick Jones is worried about Captain Marvel, the Kree man whom he was mind and body-melded to for over a year. Goliath is grimly aware that when his current dose of growth serum containing Pym Particles wears off his career as the superhero Goliath will be over.
NOTE: Goliath’s thoughts are an example of silly, FORCED problems in comic book writing. Clint Barton – formerly Hawkeye and now Goliath – simply CHOSE to not get more serum from Hank Pym in a fit of pique last time around. To make it a more authentic worry they should have had it be that Clint’s body was beginning to have a fatal reaction to constant size-changing, like happened to Pym himself, therefore making it too deadly for Clint to keep being Goliath. As it is he will simply go back to being Hawkeye when he stops being Goliath in a few issues. Not exactly the crisis it’s being painted as.
Back to the story, Black Bolt’s thoughts are lost in what Marvel Comics would no doubt call “the SENSES SHATTERING ORIGIN” of Maximus’ insanity and his feud with Black Bolt. The King of Attilan recalls how, years ago, Maximus was already trying to ally himself with the alien Kree. The Kree had created the first Inhumans thousands of years earlier by experimenting on primitive humans. Those creations were the ancestors of the thousands of present-day Inhumans who inhabit Attilan, the Great Refuge.
Maximus – then sane – was going to turn over all those Inhumans whose powers would help the Kree in their eternal wars of conquest. In return the Kree would place Maximus on the throne of Attilan instead of his and Black Bolt’s father. The young Black Bolt thwarted that plan but in the battle with Maximus he broke his vow of silence (what else is new), unleashing his powerful voice to defeat Maximus but unintentionally driving him insane from the sonic vibrations.
The now-crazed Maximus unleashed his mental powers at random, causing the Kree spaceship crew to go insane as well. Too mad to pilot their craft, the Kree unintentionally crashed the ship into the royal palace, killing many, including the mother and father of Black Bolt and Maximus. In one tragic incident Black Bolt assumed the guilt over causing Maximus to go “mad” in the first place AND the guilt over rising to the throne by inadvertently causing his own parents’ death.
It’s a nice and long-overdue “in-universe” explanation for why Black Bolt is always so lenient with Maximus no matter how many times he tries to take over the Great Refuge and/or the entire world. Black Bolt’s sense of guilt is plausible.
Back at Avengers Mansion, Thor, Iron Man and the Vision have at last defeated the animated, remote-controlled Mandroid suits. Iron Man showed his comrades that to defeat the Mandroids they all needed to simply “pull out the ridiculously long and obviously exposed cables that supply (their) power.”
NOTE: That’s a joke referring to a hilarious bit I came across in my research for this summer’s Kree-Skrull War review. Decades ago Marvel’s humor magazine Crazy (1973-1983) apparently would do to classic Marvel tales like the original Galactus Trilogy or the Kree-Skrull War the same thing Woody Allen did to that Japanese spy movie in What’s Up, Tiger Lily?
The same way that movie – plus many other films and tv shows like Fractured Flickers – would “overdub” the real dialogue with comical dialogue, the magazine Crazy would use comic book panels from vintage Marvel classics and would erase the REAL dialogue from the word balloons, replacing it with often hilarious jokes.
During Crazy‘s take on The Kree-Skrull War one of the jokes was a running gag during the battle with the Mandroids. Those Mandroids would be depicted making threatening remarks to the Avengers, always followed by them adding “Just don’t pull out these ridiculously long and obviously exposed cables that supply our power.”
And not just the Mandroids, even Iron Man got into the act at one point, with his thought balloon congratulating himself on his attack on the Mandroids, but adding “This is much better than pulling out those ridiculously long and obviously exposed cables that supply their power.”
And if you’re wondering, I don’t know why Iron Man didn’t do that in the first place in the real story, instead of saving it til after the suits were being operated remotely. Comic book writing, am I right? Anyway, my insanely obsessive research habits made me curious to read even something satirizing the Kree-Skrull War.
Back to our story, with the Mandroids defeated for good now, the Vision soothes his guilt from earlier by saying he has changed his mind and rather than split their forces the Avengers should all stay together. First they should help the others restore Black Bolt to the throne of Attilan and THEN they can try to free the Skrull prisoners.
Thor uses his hammer to teleport himself, Iron Man and the Vision to the Himalayas. All of their efforts fail to penetrate the dome of Black Energy that Maximus erected over the Great Refuge a few issues back to protect it from the Skrullian attack.
Eventually, the Quin-Jet bearing Captain America, Goliath, Rick Jones, Triton, Black Bolt and Joey arrives. For the umpteenth time Black Bolt violates his vow of silence, using his awesome sonic voice powers to shatter the dome of Black Energy.
The Avengers and their two Inhuman allies attack, but find themselves battling not just Maximus the Mad’s usual allies, the League of Evil Inhumans (later changed to just the Inhuman League like the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was changed to the Mutant Brotherhood), but in addition ALL of the inhabitants of Attilan, under mental control by Maximus.
Against these overwhelming odds, Black Bolt AGAIN violates his vow of silence (more like a vague promise to speak only when the plot requires it) and whispers to his people. That mere whisper is like a pounding voice from the heavens and the shock frees the “good” Inhumans from Maximus’ control.
That leaves just Maximus’ usual “evil” Inhuman allies and our heroes mop them up. While that is going on, the Kree officer left in Attilan as Maximus’ overseer seizes Rick Jones and flees in his spaceship. The Avengers defeat the League of Evil Inhumans but realize that now BOTH the Kree and the Skrulls can leverage hostages against them.
On the faraway Skrull homeworld, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are still being kept alive under threat of death to force Captain Marvel to build a top-secret Kree Omni-Wave Projector for the Skrull Emperor Dorrek IV. That Omni-Wave Projector is what lets the Kree teleport and communicate around the universe instantaneously and can also be used as a weapon.
Captain Marvel is still dragging out the construction process as long as possible, hoping to stall for enough time for the other Avengers to rescue him, Wanda and Pietro. Meanwhile, he and Dorrek’s daughter, the Skrull Princess Annelle, are falling in love, Romeo and Juliet-style.
Back on Hala, the homeworld of the Kree Empire, we join the overthrown but still conscious Supreme Intelligence, the artificial intelligence who ruled the Empire until Ronan the Accuser toppled him recently. The Supreme Intelligence enigmatically reflects that events have turned out the way he was hoping. “The players are all in place. Let the Final Phase begin!”
We’ll learn what he means by that in a few issues, but now we join the triumphant Avengers back in Attilan. Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Goliath and the Vision gaze up at the stars above and vow to at last bring this war TO 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
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.