Tag Archives: Avengers

AVENGERS: THE KREE-SKRULL WAR PART THREE

FOR PART ONE OF THIS LOOK AT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972) CLICK HERE 

Avengers 91THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 91 (August 1971)

AVENGERS ROSTER: THE WASP (Janet Van Dyne), THE SCARLET WITCH (Wanda), GOLIATH (Clint Barton), QUICKSILVER (Pietro), THE VISION (Not Applicable), YELLOW JACKET (Hank Pym, PhD), 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 readers have made it clear they want more Marvel items. It’s another warm-weather season of escapist fun with The Kree-Skrull War, the prequel to last year’s Celestial Madonna Saga. I 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. 

Avengers 91TAKE ONE GIANT STEP … BACKWARD

Synopsis: We pick up right where we left off last time around. In the northernmost reaches of Alaska a “De-Evolution Zone” is spreading. Every life form in that zone, be it plant, insect or animal, is devolving to what it would have been over a million years ago.

The cause of that De-Evolution Zone is a citadel that is the product of alien Kree technology. Inside the citadel was Ronan the Accuser, who recently usurped the throne of the Kree Empire from the Supreme Intelligence, the Artificial Intelligence who had ruled the Empire for centuries.  

The De-Evolution Ray causing the zone was put into use by Ronan the Accuser because he thought (mistakenly, as we’ll learn in a few installments) that this De-‘Vo assault aka Plan Atavus was why the Supreme Intelligence was studying Earth’s evolutionary past when Ronan overthrew him.

The Accuser feels the Supreme Intelligence’s goal was to eliminate Earth and its plethora of super-beings as threats to the Kree Empire by setting back the planet’s evolutionary clock. This will force life to start anew on Earth and hopefully – from the Empire’s point of view – this time less-threatening life-forms will evolve.

Ronan the Accuser has been bragging about his plans to his new captive, Captain Marvel, the traitorous Kree Captain who years earlier sided with Earth against the Empire. On one viewscreen Ronan and Mar-Vell see Rick Jones and three other Avengers – the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and the Vision fighting the enormous Sentry 459 ( a Kree robot) and the enthralled Avenger called Goliath (formerly Hawkeye). 

Sentry 459 and the unwilling Goliath are preventing Wanda, Pietro and the Vizh from entering the Citadel and trying to rescue Captain Marvel. Meanwhile on another viewscreen, Ronan and Mar-Vell behold the Avenger called Yellow Jacket – now devolved to cave-man levels – approaching his fallen wife the Wasp, who was just rendered unconscious while fighting the Sentry and Goliath last issue. Continue reading

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AVENGERS: THE KREE-SKRULL WAR PART TWO

FOR PART ONE OF THIS LOOK AT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972) CLICK HERE 

Avengers 90THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 90 (July 1971)

AVENGERS ROSTER: THE WASP (Janet Van Dyne), THE SCARLET WITCH (Wanda), GOLIATH (Clint Barton), QUICKSILVER (Pietro), THE VISION (Not Applicable), YELLOW JACKET (Hank Pym, PhD), 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.

JUDGMENT DAY

Captain MarvelSynopsis: We pick up where we left off, at Cape Canaveral, which in Captain Marvel’s own comic book series by Marvel Comics was depicted as an Area 51 type of base. Sentry 459, one of the Kree Empire’s gigantic, kaiju-sized robots scattered throughout the universe, was being studied by Earth scientists at the Cape.

From Hala, the home planet of the Kree Empire, Sentry 459 was remotely reactivated by Ronan the Accuser. In our previous installment Ronan pulled off a coup d’état, seizing control of the Empire from the Supreme Intelligence, the Artificial Intelligence which had been ruling for thousands of years.

Ronan directed the Sentry to kill Captain Marvel and the Avengers & Rick Jones, who were guarding the Kree Captain’s hospital bed at the Cape following the events from last time around. Ronan wants revenge on Captain Marvel for thwarting his previous attempt to overthrow the Supreme Intelligence, back in Captain Marvel # 16 (September 1969). 

 

Ronan the Accuser

RONAN

The Avengers battle the Sentry, intent on saving the barely conscious Captain Marvel. This Sentry, which had previously clashed with the Fantastic Four years earlier, out-fights the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and the Vision, who himself was much weakened after draining most of his power to save Mar-Vell’s life last time around. (Those three were the only Avengers on hand at the Cape.)

 

Sentry 459 grabs the bed-ridden Captain Marvel and announces to him and the other Avengers that he has received new instructions from Ronan the Accuser, who has teleported to Earth via a Kree Omni-Wave Projector. The Sentry is now to simply bring the captive Captain Marvel TO him. The Sentry does, teleporting itself to Ronan’s secret location. Continue reading

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AVENGERS – THE KREE-SKRULL WAR (1971-1972)

Avengers 89OKAY- TECH PROBLEMS SOLVED SO LET’S TAKE THIS BLOG POST FROM THE TOP –

At Balladeer’s Blog I’m all about you readers. You can’t seem to get enough Marvel Comics items so here we go!

Last year when the latest Marvel movie came out I did a long, issue by issue look at the Avengers’ 1973-1975 story The Celestial Madonna Saga for some nice escapist fun mixed in with my usual topics.

This year as promised I’ll accompany the new Avengers movie (out this week) with an issue by issue look at an even earlier Marvel Comics epic. Namely, the The Kree-Skrull War (1971-1972). In many ways it’s a prequel since it sets up many storylines that were finalized in The Celestial Madonna Saga.

As always I retain a soft spot for superhero stories because reading them when I was a kid served as a gateway to two of my adult passions: mythology and opera. 

SETTING: The Kree race and the Skrull race are a pair of alien races who have been at war for untold thousands of years. Both races were introduced in the pages of the The Fantastic Four in the 1960s and became staples in the Marvel Comics Universe, which I will once again praise for being as enjoyably detailed as the Star Trek or Doctor Who universes.

Avengers 89THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 89 (June 1971)

The Only Good Alien … Is A Dead Alien

Synopsis: The story opens up in Miami, where a trio of Avengers – the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and the Vision – track down and engage in a battle with the Kree superhero called Captain Marvel.  (THIS IS THE HERO THAT NICK FURY SUMMONS IN THE POST-CREDITS SCENE IN AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR)  

NOTE: There is often confusion between the Marvel Comics figure called Captain Marvel and the Fawcett Comics figure of the same name. The Fawcett Comics figure dated back to the Golden Age and was one of the victims of DC Comics’ legal attacks on ANY superhero that they felt was too similar to their character Superman. Continue reading

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AVENGERS: CELESTIAL MADONNA SAGA

Mascot sword and pistolAs assorted tech issues remain here at Balladeer’s Blog I can at least post these links to EVERY part detailing the Celestial Madonna Saga. It presented the Avengers – Mantis included – taking on Loki, Dormammu, Zodiac, Thanos, Lion God, the Troglodytes, the Star Stalker, the Defenders, the Collector, Ultron, Nuklo, Klaw, Solarr, Maximus the Mad, Omega, Necrodamus, KANG the Conqueror, Macrobots, the Titanic Three, the Legion of the Unliving and Immortus! Enjoy til things are operating properly again.

 

Mantis Collector pose 2

MANTIS IN COOL HAND LUKE II

Balladeer’s Blog spent part of this past summer on a light-hearted, escapist bit of fun by examining the very first Mantis storylines at Marvel Comics. Mantis was brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe this year in the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie but I reviewed her ORIGINAL appearance and the 1973-1975 Celestial Madonna epic she starred in.

 

I. MANTIS: THE CELESTIAL MADONNA SAGA – The “senses-shattering” beginning of the series which I covered in some of the same style as my reviews of Epic Myths. CLICK HERE  

Mantis Night of Swordsman 3II. MANTIS 2: NIGHT OF THE SWORDSMAN – Mantis and her romantic partner the Swordsman show up at Avengers Mansion and wind up helping the superteam against one of their old foes. CLICK HERE

III. MANTIS 3: BELOW US THE BATTLE – Mantis, the Swordsman and the other Avengers fly to England in search of their missing member the Black Knight. While there they come into conflict with sinister forces. CLICK HERE

IV. MANTIS 4: THE AVENGERS VS THE DEFENDERS – As the search for the Black Knight continues, Loki and Dormammu trick the Avengers and the Defenders into all-out war with each other over a relic called the Evil Eye of Avalon. CLICK HERE 

V. MANTIS 5: THE AVENGERS-DEFENDERS WAR CONTINUES – Mantis and one of her fellow Avengers battle the Defenders’ leader Doctor Strange for a fragment of the Evil Eye. Meanwhile, the newest Defender Hawkeye fights Iron Man in Mexico for another fragment. CLICK HERE

Mantis Holocaust coverVI. MANTIS 6: HOLOCAUST – Mantis’ lover the Swordsman battles Valkyrie of the Defenders for the Bolivian fragment of the Evil Eye, while Captain America clashes with the Defender Sub-Mariner and the mutant called Sunfire for the fragment in Japan. CLICK HERE

VII. MANTIS 7: BREAKTHROUGH – In Los Angeles the Avenger Thor battles the Defender Hulk for the final fragment of the Evil Eye, unaware that their teammates have begun combining forces. CLICK HERE

VIII. MANTIS 8: TO THE DEATH – The Avengers and Defenders race against the clock to save the entire universe from Dormammu’s revealed plan. CLICK HERE

IX. MANTIS 9: THE COLLECTOR – Mantis and her fellow Avengers battle the Collector, one of the Elders of the Universe. The Collector is trying once again to add the Avengers to his universe-wide museum. CLICK HERE

Avengers 120X. MANTIS 10: ZODIAC RETURNS – The supervillain team called Zodiac is back in action, now led by Taurus who has a deadly master plan. CLICK HERE

XI. MANTIS 11: AVENGERS VS ZODIAC CONTINUES – Taurus hints at some of the mysteries behind Mantis as the Avengers battle Zodiac atop the World Trade Center Towers. CLICK HERE 

XII. MANTIS 12: SHOCKING REVELATIONS IN THE SHOWDOWN WITH ZODIAC – The Avengers and the rebellious Houses of Zodiac fight each other while trying to survive Taurus’ death trap, meanwhile an explosive revelation is made about Mantis. CLICK HERE

Avengers 123 An Origin For MantisXIII. MANTIS 13: AN ORIGIN FOR MANTIS – Libra’s revelations about Mantis lead the Avengers to Vietnam and a clash with Mantis’ crime-lord uncle and his chemically-enhanced troops. CLICK HERE

XIV: MANTIS 14: THE STAR STALKER – As the mysteries surrounding Mantis deepen the Avengers battle to save the entire world from destruction at the hands of the alien Star Stalker. CLICK HERE

XV. MANTIS 15: THANOS – Mantis and the other Avengers get drawn into the war against the mad Titan called Thanos and must prevent his interstellar fleet from invading the Earth. CLICK HERE 

Avengers 125XVI. MANTIS 16: THE THANOS WAR CONCLUDES – Mantis plays a crucial role in defeating the cosmically powerful Thanos. Meanwhile parallels between Mantis and Moon Dragon come to the surface. CLICK HERE 

XVII. MANTIS 17: KLAW AND SOLARR TEAM UP – The supervillain Klaw and his new partner Solarr hold an Ambassador and several Avengers hostage in a bid to force the Black Panther to abdicate the throne of Wakanda. CLICK HERE

XVIII. MANTIS 18: THE SCARLET WITCH FINDS A FATHER – During a battle against an atomic-powered mutant called Nuklo, the Scarlet Witch meets her long-lost father as parallels now emerge between her and Mantis. CLICK HERE

Avengers 127XIX. MANTIS 19: THE WEDDING OF QUICKSILVER AND THE INHUMAN CRYSTAL – The Avengers and Fantastic Four join the Inhumans in their hidden city of Attilan for the wedding of the former Avenger Quicksilver and the former Fant 4 member Crystal. Maximus the Mad, the Alpha Primitives and Omega attack them. CLICK HERE 

XX. MANTIS 20: ULTRON VS THE AVENGERS, THE FANTASTIC FOUR AND THE INHUMANS – The Avengers’ arch-enemy Ultron, the real menace behind Maximus, Omega and the Alphas, plans to kill all three superteams then use Attilan’s Kree technology to wipe out all human life on Earth. CLICK HERE

XXI. MANTIS 21: NECRODAMUS ATTACKS – While the romantic feuds among Mantis, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision and the Swordsman come to a head, Wanda trains with Agatha Harkness and the Defenders’ old foe Necrodamus attacks Avengers Mansion. CLICK HERE

Avengers 129 bid tomorrow goodbyeXXII. MANTIS 22: KANG THE CONQUEROR WANTS THE CELESTIAL MADONNA – Kang attacks the Avengers and declares war on 20th Century Earth while waiting for the manifestation of a figure called the Celestial Madonna. CLICK HERE

XXIII. MANTIS 23: KANG, THE CELESTIAL MADONNA AND THE DEATH OF AN AVENGER – Kang the Conqueror’s future self aids the Avengers as they fight Kang around the world, the Celestial Madonna is revealed and an Avenger is slain saving Mantis’ life. CLICK HERE Continue reading

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THE MANTIS SAGA: CHAPTER LINKS

Mantis Collector pose 2Balladeer’s Blog spent part of this past summer on a light-hearted, escapist bit of fun by examining the very first Mantis storylines at Marvel Comics. Mantis was brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe this year in the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie but I reviewed her ORIGINAL appearance and the 1973-1975 Celestial Madonna epic she starred in.

I. MANTIS: THE CELESTIAL MADONNA SAGA – The “senses-shattering” beginning of the series which I covered in some of the same style as my reviews of Epic Myths. CLICK HERE  

Mantis Night of Swordsman 3II. MANTIS 2: NIGHT OF THE SWORDSMAN – Mantis and her romantic partner the Swordsman show up at Avengers Mansion and wind up helping the superteam against one of their old foes. CLICK HERE

III. MANTIS 3: BELOW US THE BATTLE – Mantis, the Swordsman and the other Avengers fly to England in search of their missing member the Black Knight. While there they come into conflict with sinister forces. CLICK HERE

IV. MANTIS 4: THE AVENGERS VS THE DEFENDERS – As the search for the Black Knight continues, Loki and Dormammu trick the Avengers and the Defenders into all-out war with each other over a relic called the Evil Eye of Avalon. CLICK HERE 

V. MANTIS 5: THE AVENGERS-DEFENDERS WAR CONTINUES – Mantis and one of her fellow Avengers battle the Defenders’ leader Doctor Strange for a fragment of the Evil Eye. Meanwhile, the newest Defender Hawkeye fights Iron Man in Mexico for another fragment. CLICK HERE Continue reading

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MANTIS MEETS THE JUSTICE LEAGUE: A CELESTIAL MADONNA EPILOGUE

Mantis and JLABalladeer’s Blog’s summer-long exploration of Marvel Comics’ Celestial Madonna Saga of 1973-1975 wrapped up last Saturday. For a light-hearted “dessert” after that 31-part examination here’s a look at a ONE-ISSUE tie-in from 1977 that Steve Englehart, the writer of much of the Celestial Madonna Saga, wrote for the Justice League of America (as it was then called) at his NEW employers: rival comic book company DC.

So let’s be clear: this is NOT the Celestial Quest that Marvel Comics did DECADES later to bring back the character of Mantis long after she and her Cotati husband had offspring. This was Englehart tongue-in-cheekly presenting the Justice League helping a woman who was CLEARLY supposed to be Mantis – right down to her powers and her repeated tendency to refer to herself as “this one.”  

Remember, this was 1977, long before Marvel and DC would do outright crossovers and meetings between their characters on a semi-regular basis. Englehart had to be careful to a certain degree since Mantis was a copyrighted character owned by his previous employers at Marvel.

Mantis miniHis way of doing that is often pretty cutesy, like having his Mantis stand-in get interrupted at key moments when she’s about to answer very specific questions about herself and her background.

So relax – this was just a one-shot deal, so no need to commit anything to memory, just smile at Englehart using the Justice League at DC in a tacked-on Celestial Madonna epilogue two years later.

RETURN FROM FOREVER

Synopsis: Aqua-Man, the Atom and Elongated Man are enjoying a quiet moment sailing around off the coast of Georgia. Their relaxation is interrupted by a battle overhead as two spaceships fight and shoot down a third alien craft of exotic design.

The three JLAers spring into action, with the Atom and Elongated Man driving off the intelligent robots in the other two spaceships and Aqua-Man trying to save any passengers on the shot-down – and now sinking – third craft. There is only one passenger: a beautiful woman who says to call her “Willow” to keep her true identity a secret from any deadly forces that may try to trail her around the cosmos.  

Mantis greenIn a coincidental bit of prescience regarding future depictions of Mantis when Marvel Comics finally brought her back, Willow has GREEN skin. She also has what appear to be antennae peeping out from under her pile of hair.

She has highly attuned empathy with the world around her AND is skilled at an other-worldly version of Martial Arts. Willow formerly “joined” with a mate and transcended normal modes of existence, passing out into space. (Just like Mantis and her Cotati husband after they were wed by Immortus.)

And the sly dance continues! Willow tells the three Justice League members “This one has come from a place she must not name and needs your help.” Continue reading

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MANTIS 31: THE FINALE, INCLUDING KANG’s FINAL GAMBIT

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE 

Let All Men Bring TogetherGIANT-SIZE AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 4 (May, 1975)  … Let All Men Bring Together 

Avengers Roster: Thor (Donald Blake, MD), Iron Man (Tony Stark), The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Frank), Hawkeye (Clint Barton), The Vision (not applicable), MANTIS (Mantis Brandt) and Moon Dragon (Heather Douglas) 

… LET ALL MEN BRING TOGETHER 

Synopsis: First, an explanation of the title of this final chapter of the Celestial Madonna Saga. You’ll note this concluding installment was featured in Giant-Size Avengers #4, with the Giant-Size issues being the ones published quarterly.

The title to the story in Giant-Size Avengers #3, the previous one, as our heroes fought Kang’s Legion of the Unliving, was What Time Hath Put Asunder …  So, even though three parts of this continuing story came between THAT Giant-Size issue and this one, the combined title is a play on the marriage ceremony’s words “Whom God hath joined together … Let no man put asunder.”

Here, it becomes “What time hath put asunder … Let all men bring together” referring to the Double Wedding in this final chapter as well as the “Timey-Wimey” convolutions the story has taken on its way here. (Especially Immortus’ effort to put right some of the chaos his younger self Kang caused in the space-time continuum.)

Dormammu for Mantis 31We join the Vision where we left him: in the center of the Earth in a mystical cave created as an artificial “womb” for the re-birthing Dormammu. As Uatu the Watcher told the Avengers and Defenders when Dormammu was seemingly destroyed by the Evil Eye of Avalon, Dormammu is a god.

He is a Dark God, but still a god, and the worship accorded him by all the lesser inhabitants of the Dark Dimension (Dormammu’s home universe) would gradually restore him. The Dread Dormammu is not yet back to full strength but he was sufficiently reborn to move from merely controlling the Scarlet Witch to capturing her and the sorceress Agatha Harkness, her tutor.

Meanwhile, at the Pama Temple Garden in Vietnam, MANTIS, Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Moon Dragon have learned the answers to many of the mysteries surrounding the Celestial Madonna.

Those answers were provided by Immortus (Kang the Conqueror’s future, reformed self), by the mysterious glowing, shimmering being disguised as an all-green version of the slain Avenger called the Swordsman and by Mantis’ criminal father – Libra, now wearing the robes of the supposedly extinct Priests of Pama. Continue reading

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