FOR PART ONE OF THIS LOOK AT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972) CLICK HERE
THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 96 (February 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.
Readers can’t get enough Marvel Superheroes. I’m glad to oblige since I still 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.
THE ANDROMEDA SWARM
Synopsis: This part picks up a few days after the Avengers defeated Maximus the Mad and restored Black Bolt to the throne of Attilan, the Great Refuge. With the Kree now prevented from using the Inhumans as super-soldiers in their war with the Skrulls, our heroes were allowed to rest, regroup and plot their next move.
By staying in the hidden city of Attilan they also avoided having to deal with the ongoing manhunt for them run by Senator Craddock (a sleazy Robert Mueller type) and his reluctant S.H.I.E.L.D. allies. The Avengers have piloted their Quin-Jet to the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, which is in my opinion one of the dumbest things in the otherwise impressive Marvel Comics Universe. They should have at least dropped the absurd helicarrier bit for the movies.
Nick Fury has agreed to sacrifice his job by letting our heroes steal an internationally- constructed ship capable of space flight … if it only had a power source. Again, really dumb. The writers could have had the Avengers use a ship created in Attilan since it has futuristic Kree technology.
Anyway, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Goliath and the Vision board the ship, named Bogie, in honor of Humphrey Bogart. (?) With Thor’s hammer serving as the nearly infinite power source for the spacecraft – just like it could have for a craft built in Attilan – the Avengers fly off.
First they shatter the Kree Nega-Shield which has been surrounding Earth ever since Ronan the Accuser was forced to return to the planet Hala back in Part Three. After that it’s off through our solar system, just outside which lies the Stargate which the Kree, Skrulls, Shi’ar and other alien races use to bop to and from our solar system to deep space.
The Avengers plan to free the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Captain Marvel from captivity on the Skrull homeworld and then free Rick Jones from captivity on Hala, homeworld of the Kree Empire. Thor notices how tense the Vision seems, and Iron Man, who has gleaned that the android has fallen in love with the Scarlet Witch, begins to explain on the Vision’s behalf.
Before he can get very far Goliath, manning the sensors, points out an entire swarm of spaceships heading toward our heroes and their craft. Iron Man, serving as Science Officer while Cap pilots the ship, somehow enables “Bogie” to share his armor’s ability to create multiple illusions of itself. This makes it seem like there is an entire fleet of Earth ships, causing the Skrull fleet to pause.
Emperor Dorrek IV is in contact with the flagship of this fleet and he orders the commander to advance to see if it is just a trick. Thor, Iron Man and the Vision fly out into cold space to attack the flagship, while running a bluff that each illusory “ship” has superheroes on it.
Captain America and Goliath are each piloting smaller craft from the Bogie, since neither of them can survive in the void of space. In fact Goliath is completely de-powered now since he is completely out of serum containing the Pym Particles that let him grow. In the past few days all of the serum wore off. So why didn’t he take a raygun or something from Attilan? Because comic book, that’s why.
Anyway, Captain America uses the confusion of the battle to slip into the Skrull craft while Thor, Iron Man and the Vision continue fighting in space and Goliath stays hovering nearby in his small ship. The three fighting in space soon join Cap inside the Skrull flagship, where they fight their way to the bridge to confront the commander AND the Emperor via his viewscreen link.
Emperor Dorrek IV treats the four Avengers to a Villain Rant in which he steps aside to show them the sight of Captain Marvel building a top-secret Kree Omni-Wave Projector for the Skrulls. He also shows them the captive Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, who will be killed if Captain Marvel refuses to build that weapon for Dorrek IV.
NOTE: Dorrek’s tender and compassionate daughter Princess Annelle and Captain Marvel have been falling in love, Romeo and Juliet-style over the past few issues.
Anyway, now that the Kree Captain sees that Dorrek is in contact with the other Avengers AND that his teammates are on a seized Skrull spaceship he decides the time is ripe to spring his plan. He uses the fake Omni-Wave Projector that he has been pretending to build (as slowly as possible) as a holograph projector.
While a holograph of him seems to be continuing construction, the REAL Mar-Vell frees the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The three Avengers then start fighting the Emperor’s soldiers, shouting to Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the Vision to get to the Skrull homeworld as quickly as they can to extricate them.
The Skrull commander on the flagship ends the transmission and orders some of his still-free troops to launch Plan Delta. A smaller ship flies out of the flagship toward Earth while the Avengers try to find out what Plan Delta means.
The Vision, furious that all this may mean Wanda will die on the Skrull homeworld, savagely beats the Skrull commander, shocking his fellow Avengers by threatening to kill the man if he doesn’t reveal what Plan Delta is AND the exact coordinates of the Skrull homeworld. Cap joins Iron Man in realizing that the Vision is in love with Wanda.
The commander refuses to reveal the location of his home planet, but does confess that Plan Delta means that the Skrull ship that flew off will simply destroy the Earth to prevent it from falling back into Kree hands. Captain America radios Goliath in his small one-man craft and tells him he must intercept the departed Skrull ship and stop it at any cost, even his life.
Goliath tersely replies “I read ya, Cap” and flies off after the Skrulls. He overtakes and manages to infiltrate the Skrull craft. He is surrounded by armed soldiers and faces them alone, with no more superpowers. (A raygun from Attilan would have come in handy. Y’know.)
We now leave Goliath for this issue and join the captive Rick Jones on Hala. The Kree ship that abducted him has now turned him over to Ronan the Accuser, who rules the Kree Empire since he overthrew the Supreme Intelligence, the artificial intelligence who ruled it before.
Ronan remembers Rick from the battle in northern Alaska and taunts him by showing him the endless line of Kree spaceships departing Hala to engage the Skrull fleet heading for Earth. The Accuser also tells Rick that Earth will likely be destroyed in the battle and he (Rick), the last surviving Earthling, will spend the rest of his life as Ronan’s personal slave.
Rick tries to fight back but is effortlessly smacked down by the immensely powerful Ronan. Next the Accuser imprisons Rick in the same chamber as the overthrown Supreme Intelligence. That Supreme Intelligence informs Rick that, though a prisoner, he could still use a tiny amount of his mental powers, so he employed them to order the Kree ship in Attilan to abduct Rick and bring him to Hala.
Rick wants to know why and the Supreme Intelligence tells him that he is his last, desperate gambit to overthrow Ronan and save Earth. The S.I. saturates Rick with an unknown energy and then teleports him away.
Rick’s confusion grows as he realizes he is back in the Negative Zone for the first time since our opening chapter. To make this cliffhanger as tantalizing as possible, Rick realizes that lurking nearby is the supervillain named Annihilus, Lord of the Negative Zone.
NEXT: With our heroes scattered across space and all facing imminent doom we head into the FINAL CHAPTER OF THE KREE-SKRULL WAR next time.
I’LL COVER THAT FINAL CHAPTER 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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