This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero post features the final three chapters of the original Kree-Skrull War from 1971-1972. For parts 1-3 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)
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, so 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 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 one of his attacks 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. +++
THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 96 (February 1972)
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 Schiff 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 it 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, who is watching 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.
THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 97 (May 1972)
Synopsis: We pick up right where we left off: Rick Jones has just been transported back into the Negative Zone, the buffer dimension between the Matter Universe and the Anti-Matter Universe. He is being attacked by Annihilus, the Lord of the Negative Zone, who wants revenge on Rick for the way the Avengers prevented him from invading Earth back in Part One.
As Annihilus flies toward Rick as he floats around in the Negative Zone, Rick finds time slowing down for him. His mind begins to expand and – though he does not yet understand why – he begins to approach omniscience. His mind is filled with images of the perils faced at that very moment by the other Avengers and by the entire Earth:
… On the Skrull homeworld (name unpronounceable by a human tongue), Captain Marvel, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are fighting against an entire army in the palace of Emperor Dorrek IV …
… On the flagship of a Skrull space fleet just outside our solar system Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the Vision are fighting frantically to prevent that fleet from reaching Earth …
… On Hala, home planet of the Kree Empire, Ronan the Accuser watches his own fleet of spaceships depart for the Earth, intent on preventing the Skrulls from seizing the planet, even if that planet gets obliterated in the cataclysmic battle of starfleets …
… On a small Skrull spaceship hurtling toward Earth, Goliath, no longer possessed of his superpowers, stands unarmed against a squad of Skrull soldiers on a kamikaze mission to wipe out the Earth to prevent it from falling back into the hands of the Kree Empire …
… On Earth itself the Avengers’ persecutor Senator H Warren Craddock, a sleazy Robert Mueller-type, continues to abuse his power by conducting a Witch Hunt for more Kree agents infiltrating Earth and for any humans suspected of collusion with the Kree …
And back on Hala, overthrown and imprisoned by Ronan the Accuser, the Supreme Intelligence – rightful ruler of the Kree Empire – awaits the results of the bizarre experiment he subjected Rick Jones to before sending him back into the Negative Zone.
Rick is terrified as Annihilus closes in on him. Driven by the impulse for self-preservation Rick unleashes new powers that have awoken within him. He begins shooting energy beams from his head, blasting Annihilus.
Even though Annihilus is powerful enough to take on entire superteams like the Avengers and his arch-foes the Fantastic Four, Rick Jones’ new powers enable him to defeat the Lord of the Negative Zone.
It turns out the treatment that the Supreme Intelligence subjected Rick to last time around was the reverse of the De-Evolution ray that Ronan the Accuser used on Earth back in Parts Two and Three. While that ray caused life-forms to devolve back into what they would have been millions of years ago, this ray caused Rick to E-volve into what human beings will be millions of years in the future.
That is what provided Jones with his sudden omniscience and other powers. This was the kind of experiment the Supreme Intelligence had in mind for Plan Atavus when Ronan the Accuser launched his coup d’état back in Part One. As readers will remember, Ronan mistakenly thought the Supreme Intelligence was getting ready to devolve all of Earth’s life-forms in order to end the threat posed to the Kree Empire by Earth’s many superbeings.
Meanwhile, back on the Skrull homeworld, Captain Marvel, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver get a break as the Emperor’s troops withdraw to reform and plot another attack. In the lull the Scarlet Witch questions Mar-Vell about why he didn’t just complete building the Omni-Wave Projector that Dorrek IV wanted, but instead use it as a weapon against the Skrulls.
The Captain explains that, when operated by Kree minds the Omni-Wave Projector works only as a means of instantaneous communication and/or teleportation around the universe. It is only when operated by advanced non-Kree minds that the projector can be used as a weapon. Earthlings are not advanced enough yet to be able to wield the projector.
With that hope dashed, the trio of Avengers brace themselves for the inevitable next assault by the Emperor’s troops. Meanwhile Dorrek IV’s daughter Princess Annelle pleads with him to spare Captain Marvel and his two allies. Over the past few issues the kind-hearted Annelle and the Captain have fallen in love, Romeo and Juliet-style. Needless to say, Dorrek angrily refuses his daughter’s request.
Back in the Negative Zone, the floating and tumbling Rick Jones is being pulled toward the Anti-Matter Universe, which, if he enters it, will immediately destroy his material form. Using more of his newfound powers Rick flies away from the pull of the Anti-Matter Universe and teleports himself back to the room on Hala in which the Supreme Intelligence is imprisoned.
Meanwhile, in a nearby chamber Ronan the Accuser’s cosmi-rod detects the unusual energies being generated in the S.I.’s room. Worried now that the S.I. is hatching a plan to retake the throne, Ronan decides to abandon his hope of one day harnessing the Supreme Intelligence’s massive mental powers for his own use. He orders some of his troops to enter the room and blast the S.I. and Rick.
The armed troops burst in just as the Supreme Intelligence has finished explaining to Rick that the experiment was a success, as proven by what Rick just did in the controlled environment of the Negative Zone. (But glosses over the fact that Rick would now be dead if it hadn’t been a success.)
Rick now uses his new power to save himself and the S.I. from the attacking Kree soldiers. He does it in a manner foreshadowed back in Part Four, when it was established that Rick grew up immersing himself in details about the superheroes of the World War Two era.
Those details are so ingrained in Rick’s mind that he is now able to conjure up solid, humanoid forms/ tulpas of old Marvel Golden Age heroes like the original android version of the Human Torch, the Patriot, Sub-Mariner, the Golden Age Angel, the Golden Age Vision, the Fin, the Blazing Skull and others. (This act is what is depicted on the cover of this issue.)
NOTE: Among other things, the inclusion of the Golden Age Human Torch would have served as a reminder for very young Marvel readers that there was an earlier Human Torch AND that it was an android. This goes on to have great significance during the Celestial Madonna Saga.
Those mental creations/ tulpas act, speak and function just like the real heroes would and total the attacking Kree soldiers. The Supreme Intelligence informs Rick that those mental constructs’ battle with Ronan’s troops provided enough time for all of his new powers as a hyper-evolved human to consolidate themselves. He can now unleash his godlike abilities all across space.
In the ultimate example of “Rick Jones ex machina,” the young rock singer paralyzes all of the new wave of attacking Kree soldiers AND Ronan the Accuser. He simultaneously paralyzes all of the Skrull troops attacking Captain Marvel, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver on the far off Skrull homeworld.
Back near our solar system the Skrull soldiers attacking Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the Vision are also paralyzed, along with all the ships and crew of the entire Skrull fleet.
On Earth itself, Senator Craddock is whipping another crowd up into an anti-Avenger and anti-Kree frenzy. Rick’s powers strike, forcing Craddock to assume his TRUE form: A SKRULL! (All Skrulls can shapeshift.) And not just any Skrull, but the lone Skrull who escaped capture way back in Fantastic Four number 2 (January 1962).
This revelation would have been a very big big deal to Marvel readers in 1972, since that escaped Skrull’s subsequent fate had never been addressed since Fantastic Four # 2. The reason this fake “Senator Craddock” was so intent on ferreting out Kree infiltrators and on destroying the Avengers was because he was covertly working to advance the Skrull Empire’s cause.
Back on Hala, the Supreme Intelligence now uses a built-in Omni-Wave Projector to teleport Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Vision and Captain Marvel to his chamber. The S.I. then proceeds to sum up what has transpired:
His intense interest in Earth’s evolutionary past and future was prompted by the big, bad secret of the Kree and the Skrulls. That secret: both races have reached their evolutionary height. They can evolve no more and because of this dead end the Supreme Intelligence has been seeking ways of interbreeding his Kree people with the human race since human evolutionary potential is still immense. (As evidenced by Rick’s powers when temporarily evolved to Earth people’s evolutionary height.)
The S.I. has still not resolved how to do that given the differences in human and Kree chromosomes but he will continue to work on it and due to superior Kree technology at this time there is nothing Earth can do to stop him.
NOTE: This is a nice touch and in recent decades UFO conspiracy kooks have even begun claiming that the reason behind “alien abductions” and the attendant “sexual probing” is that the alien abductors are – like the Kree – at an evolutionary dead end and need to merge with humans in order to continue evolving.
At any rate, Rick Jones then collapses. The Supreme Intelligence explains that he is dying from the strain of his brief hyper-evolution and that the only thing that can save him is to once again “fuse atoms” with Captain Marvel. This will mean that they will both be bound together AGAIN, with only one of them able to exist outside the Negative Zone at once.
It will also mean that in order to swap atoms the nega-bands on their wrists will need to be clanged together for them to change back and forth from Rick to Captain Marvel and vice versa. Mar-Vell grimly realizes that this ends his potential romance with Princess Annelle and he asks for a few moments for leave-taking.
Resigning himself, the Captain agrees to let the S.I. once again fuse him and Rick together. None of them are aware that this is just more deception on the part of the Supreme Intelligence. He needs Mar-Vell and Rick to remain fused to further his research into ways of breeding humans and Kree.
The moment Captain Marvel fuses with Rick, the rock singer recovers, but is also morose over once again being trapped in a hybrid existence. The S.I, now restored to his role as ruler of the Kree Empire, uses his Omni-Wave Projector to teleport the Avengers back to Earth.
Once arrived on Earth outside Avengers Mansion, our heroes are greeted by Nick Fury, who introduces them to the REAL Senator Craddock. It turns out the Skrull impersonator waylaid him long ago as part of his plan to infiltrate Earth. The real Senator has nothing against the Avengers or the Kree and will clear the Avengers of all charges made against them by the impersonator. He also saved Fury’s job as head of S.H.I.E.L.D. after Nick helped the Avengers in Part Eight.
With that out of the way, the Avengers ponder the fate of Goliath. Since the Supreme Intelligence did not teleport HIM to Hala along with the rest of them they sadly conclude that he must have died trying to stop the Skrull kamikaze assault on Earth. They hang their heads in mourning.
NOTE: That is the end of this story. Over the next few issues (Avengers # 98-100) it will turn out Goliath survived but was not teleported by the S.I. because he was already caught up in new danger. He and the former Avenger Hercules stumbled on to a plot by the Greek war god Ares and the Avengers’ old foe the Enchantress to take over Mount Olympus, then conquer Earth and Asgard.
Goliath goes back to being Hawkeye and, for the Avengers’ 100th issue EVERYBODY who was ever an Avenger – including the treacherous Swordsman – is needed to save Earth and Asgard from the Olympian invasion.
WELL, THIS WAS FUN, JUST LIKE LAST SUMMER’s LOOK AT THE CELESTIAL MADONNA SAGA. IF DEMAND KEEPS UP I’LL DO MORE EXAMINATIONS OF MARVEL CLASSICS FROM THEIR CREATIVE HEIGHT IN THE LATE 1960s TO MID 1970s. +++
FOR MY EXAMINATION OF THE 13-PART BLACK PANTHER STORY TITLED PANTHER’S RAGE CLICK HERE
FOR MY REVIEW OF THE CELESTIAL MADONNA SAGA CLICK HERE.
FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE: Superheroes
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9 responses to “AVENGERS: KREE-SKRULL WAR, THE CONCLUSION”
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Thank you, sir! Have a nice weekend!
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