Tag Archives: Comic Books

GOD COMICS: A DIVINE SUPERHERO

With superheroes taking over movies, television and even Halloween cosplay this seemed like a good time for a shoutout to one of my all-time favorite parody comic books. And remember, I take shots at ALL religions, including Islam, so I’m not one of those cringing cowards who only shows irreverence to Christianity. 

God Comics

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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 (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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PANTHER’S RAGE NINE: SERPENT VALLEY

Serpent ValleyFOR PART ONE CLICK HERE  

JUNGLE ACTION Volume 2, Number 14 (March 1975)

IX. THERE ARE SERPENTS LURKING IN PARADISE

Synopsis: This chapter picks up with the Black Panther surreptitiously following Sombre, the High Priest of Resurrection Altar, through the steamy jungle of Serpent Valley. The narration tells readers that T’Challa has spent the last 4 days and nights trailing Sombre in the steep, dangerous descent from the Land of the Chilling Mist.

That descent took place down the Grand Canyonesque walls of the Chasm of Chilling Mist, which terminates thousands of feet below sea level in Serpent Valley. Down this low there are no surface deposits of vibranium to absorb all the heat energy from the air like in the Land of the Chilling Mist.

That means that in Serpent Valley the “mist” is no longer “chilling” but is instead a heavy, humid natural steam bath. Serpent Valley’s mist is so thick that the sun can never be made out in the sky at all. The steamy mist simply becomes brighter with sunlight (and greater visibility) during the day and more like fog at night.

This sweltering, figurative green house was so thoroughly insulated from meteorological changes in the outer world above that countless species of dinosaurs and other creatures from Earth’s distant past still thrive in Serpent Valley.

We learned last time around that the Black Panther’s foe, Erik Killmonger/ N’Jadaka, plans to further his rebellion against T’Challa’s rule of Wakanda by rounding up dozens of Serpent Valley’s dinosaurs, training them and then using them as a mounted force in a major attack on Wakanda City. (And this was long years before either Jurassic Park OR Dino-Riders.) 

Presently, T’Challa moves in to attack Sombre before he can reach Killmonger and warn him that the Black Panther still lives and was not killed by the Devil-Wolves or by the White Gorillas.  Continue reading

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PANTHER’S RAGE EIGHT: THE GOD KILLER

God killer 2FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE

JUNGLE ACTION Volume 2, Number 13 (January 1975)

VIII. THE GOD KILLER

Synopsis: After surviving the night following his battle with an entire pack of Devil Wolves, the Black Panther set out at daybreak, trekking through the ice and snow of the Land of the Chilling Mist. At length T’Challa made his way back to Resurrection Altar, where Erik Killmonger/ N’Jadaka has been periodically transforming some of his rebel soldiers into super-powered beings like King Cadaver, Malice and Sombre. 

This issue’s main action begins as the Black Panther jumps a pair of Killmonger’s soldiers who guard the outer perimeter of Resurrection Altar: Wenzori and Jakak. The duo are clad in heavy winter wear because of the perpetually freezing temperatures in the Land of the Chilling Mist.

One of them wields a traditional automatic rifle while the other employs a handgun AND a double-chained and double-headed mace, both heads of which sport spikes to enhance their deadly nature. Needless to say T’Challa overcomes both men, while bitterly reflecting on the way Killmonger’s followers never seem to have any identity outside of their powers or specialized weaponry.

Our hero’s interrogation of the sentries has revealed that Killmonger, King Cadaver, Tayette and Kazibe have departed for Serpent Valley. Sombre, meanwhile, has headed further inland from the Chasm of Chilling Mist, toward the Domain of the White Gorillas.

Sombre, the High Priest of Resurrection Altar, took the horribly misshapen remains of those followers of Killmonger who died agonizing deaths upon exposure to the cosmic radiation of the fallen meteor/ asteroid in the pit of the Altar. As usual, that is the fate of most of those human guinea pigs exposed to the unearthly rays.

For every Sombre or Malice or King Cadaver who gain superhuman powers from the radiation infesting Resurrection Altar, there are many more who suffer and die. Killmonger has long been content with those odds. The callous revolutionary accepts the deaths of so many of his men in return for the few super-powered minions he gains to help him in his uprising against T’Challa. Continue reading

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PANTHER’S RAGE SIX: ONCE YOU SLAY THE DRAGON …

Once You Slay The Dragon ...FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE 

JUNGLE ACTION Volume 2, Number 11 (September 1974)

VI. ONCE YOU SLAY THE DRAGON …

Synopsis: T’Challa, W’Kabi and Taku lead Wakandan forces through the jungle for a sneak attack on Killmonger’s concealed village called N’Jadaka. Expository dialogue informs us that it has been weeks since the Black Panther discovered that Baron Macabre and King Cadaver were in charge of Killmonger’s raids on Wakanda City’s advanced weapons and technology.

Wakanda's locationThe pair of villains escaped while T’Challa was confirming the extent of their operation’s penetration, but since then the Panther has shut down the network and rounded up any conspirators who were helping Killmonger.

In addition, since then he has solved Zatama’s murder: Continue reading

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