Tag Archives: Marvel Comics


For this weekend’s escapist, light-hearted superhero blog post let’s do something different. Here’s a brief look at all the Marvel Comics publications from January of 1970. Reprints excluded.

avengers 72AVENGERS Vol 1 #72 (January 1970)

Title: Did You Hear the One About Scorpio?

Avengers Roster: The Wasp (Janet Van Dyne), Captain America (Steve Rogers), Goliath (Clint Barton), Yellowjacket (Hank Pym, PhD), the Vision (not applicable) and Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell, Kree Captain)

Villains: Zodiac (first appearance)

Synopsis: At Avengers Mansion, Captain America reconciles with Rick Jones, explaining that it was really the Red Skull and not him who savagely beat Rick when he was serving as the new Bucky. NOTE: The Red Skull had used the Tesseract/ Cosmic Cube to transfer his mind into Cap’s body and vice versa.

During a briefing from S.H.I.E.L.D. the Avengers are informed that three high New York officials have been abducted by a costumed supervillain called Scorpio, a recurring foe of S.H.I.E.L.D. back then. Scorpio was really Nick Fury’s evil brother Jake Fury.

zodiacThis leads to the Avengers learning that Scorpio is not alone – he is a member of a global, astrology-oriented team of supervillains called Zodiac. Each member rules their own crime empire in various locations around the world.

Our heroes clash with Zodiac, whose members wield powers based on their zodiacal signs. The Avengers thwart the villains’ plan to seize the capital cities of a dozen nations as part of a plan to take over the world.

Zodiac is defeated in battle, but they escape to face the Avengers multiple times in the future. NOTE: The Zodiac member Libra will be revealed as Mantis’ father in Avengers #122 (April 1974). Continue reading


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This weekend’s escapist, light-hearted superhero blog post centers around Marvel’s Power Man. Last year I covered his first twenty issues HERE. Here are more of his 1970s tales.

pm 21POWER MAN Vol 1 #21 (October 1974)

Title: The Killer with My Name

Villain: The original, villainous Power Man (Erik Josten)

Synopsis: The flood of glowing headlines that Power Man has been getting after crushing Cottonmouth’s drug ring in the previous issue get soured a bit one day when Luke goes to Noah Burstein’s clinic. He has gone there to visit his girlfriend, Dr. Claire Temple, but she has left behind a note for him saying she has left New York and can never see him again.

pm vs pmThe hurt and angry Power Man returns to his Hero for Hire office above the Gem Theater. Luke gets attacked there by the original Power Man, a former operative of Baron Zemo who was given his super-strength by the Avengers foe the Enchantress.

That villain, real name Erik Josten, is demanding that Luke stop using the Power Man name since he has been using it for years. The resulting destructive battle causes the building to start collapsing, trapping a little girl inside. Naturally, Luke Cage wins the fight and saves the child. Continue reading


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This weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero blog post looks at the early stories featuring the Femizon called Thundra, who started as a villainess before reforming.

ff 129FANTASTIC FOUR Vol 1 #129 (December 1972)

Title: The Frightful Four – Plus One

Villains: The Frightful Four (The Wizard, Sandman, the Trapster and Thundra)

NOTE: This was Thundra’s first appearance.

Synopsis: The Wizard, Sandman and the Trapster are still at large after their recent clash with Spider-Man and the Human Torch in Marvel Team-Up #2. Meanwhile, at the Baxter Building headquarters of the Fantastic Four, the Human Torch drops a bombshell on his teammates – he is quitting the team to go live with his true love Crystal of the Inhuman Royal Family.

thundra walkingCrystal, Johnny Storm’s longtime girlfriend and former member of the Fantastic Four, was forced to move back to the Inhumans’ hidden city of Attilan due to her body’s negative reaction to air pollution in the human world.

After a fierce argument in which Invisible Woman (Johnny’s sister) sides with the Torch, Johnny flies off in the Fantastic Four’s plane to reach Attilan. The arguing is reignited by Agatha Harkness (still in the years BEFORE she tutored the Scarlet Witch) who tells the Fantastic Four that she has urgent business and they must come pick up Reed and Sue’s son Franklin Richards at her Whisper Hill home. Continue reading


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This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero item from Balladeer’s Blog will look at Marvel’s unusual character Skull the Slayer.

skull 1SKULL THE SLAYER Vol 1 #1 (August 1975)

Title: The Coming of Skull the Slayer

Villain: A Tyrannosaurus Rex

Synopsis: Jim Scully, Army nickname “Skull”, is a Vietnam Vet and former POW trying to adjust to life back in the United States. Unfortunately, while he was MIA his wife divorced him and has found a new man. His parents passed away before even finding out that Jim was still alive.

Worst of all, when Scully is reunited with his younger brother, it turns out he is a junkie who tries to kill him. Jim kills his brother in self-defense, and then, overwhelmed by all the horrors of his homecoming after years in a POW camp, he goes on the run, fearful that he’ll be sent to prison for his brother’s death.

Scully is at last tracked down in Bermuda and is being extradited on a flight back to the United States when that aircraft disappears in the Bermuda Triangle. It crash-lands in a primitive rainforest that is apparently where all those who disappear into the Bermuda Triangle end up.

skull and t rexIt is not truly the Earth of millions of years ago, because it is anachronistically populated by dinosaurs and primates that were never alive during the same time periods. The only survivors of the plane crash are Scully, a young Native American man named Jeff Turner, an African American physician named Raymond Corey, and Corey’s young research assistant Ann Reynolds. Continue reading


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For this weekend, Balladeer’s Blog’s light-hearted, escapist superhero blog post will look at the Golden Age superheroine the Blonde Phantom from Marvel Comics, back then called Timely Comics. 

blonde phantom picBLONDE PHANTOM

Created By: Stan Lee (yes, he was that old), Charles Nicholas and Syd Shores

Secret Identity: Louise Grant

First Appearance: All-Select Comics #11 (September 1946) Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1949. 

Origin: Wanting to fight crime and foreign spies without endangering the lives of people close to her, Louise Grant, secretary for private investigator and former OSS man Mark Mason, donned a costume and fought the forces of evil as the Blonde Phantom.

Powers: The Blonde Phantom was in peak human condition and was more agile than an Olympic gymnast. She was a master of unarmed combat and was also incredibly proficient with her .45 handgun. In addition, this heroine was an expert investigator.

Comment: Louise Grant’s boss Mark Mason had the hots for the Blonde Phantom but overlooked his secretary Louise, who downplayed her beauty in her secret identity.

all select 11ALL SELECT COMICS Vol 1 #11 (September 1946)

Title: The Atom Spells Doom

Villains: Signor Korte and Senator Mushbell 

Synopsis: The Blonde Phantom is referred to as having been active for a while even though this is her first appearance. She thwarts the theft of atomic secrets by a spy ring that includes a South American diplomat and a traitorous American Senator.

Title: The Scarlet Scorpion Continue reading


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This weekend’s escapist superhero blog post will present the final 4 parts of the 1970s clash between Adam Warlock, who is coming up in the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and the Magus, evil head of a thousand-planet empire. For the first 3 parts, click HERE

adam w by flemingPART FOUR

Strange Tales #181 (August 1975)

Title: 1,000 CLOWNS

NOTE: The writer dedicated this issue to the brilliant Steve Ditko, “Who gave us all a different reality” and it’s drawn largely in the style of Ditko’s early Doctor Strange stories.

Get ready for “Adam Warlock Meets The Prisoner.” The title 1,000 Clowns is obviously a reference to the Herb Gardner play (and later movie) A Thousand Clowns. Gardner’s play dealt with a happy non-conformist forced to try to fit in with “normal”, conventional society for family reasons. 

The title and the theme of nonconformity may come from Gardner’s play but this installment of The Magus almost seems as if it’s an episode of the 1967 Patrick McGoohan series The Prisoner (previously examined here at Balladeer’s Blog). Adam’s resistance to conditioning by the Universal Church of Truth puts one in mind of the Prisoner’s resistance to the Villagekeepers. The surreal, off-kilter presentation is also reminiscent of that program.   

Adam WarlockSynopsis: Adam Warlock has come to after his lapse into unconsciousness caused by the trauma of his Soul Gem’s theft of Kray-Tor’s soul at the end of last issue. He has awakened into a bizarre alternate reality with walkways and small islands of matter floating in an endless sky. Bizarre symbols and designs ornament the skyscape like imagery from an acid trip. Continue reading

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adam warlock poseThis weekend’s escapist, lighthearted superhero blog post from Balladeer’s Blog will present the 1970s clash between Marvel’s Adam Warlock, who is coming up in the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and the Magus, evil head of a thousand-planet empire. 

At any rate, The Magus, as we’ll call this multi-part story, transformed Adam Warlock into the cosmic savior he became best known as. It also introduced Gamora, now famous from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.


STRANGE TALES #178 (February 1975)  


Synopsis: This issue features a prologue titled Who Is Adam Warlock? The purpose of that prologue was to recap the fictional history of Adam Warlock up to this point, since this was Warlock’s first appearance in an attempted relaunch of his solo series. The recap is presented by Sphinxor, who is later revealed to be working for the Beyonders.

Sphinxor released recaps of the following stories:

Fant 4 67FANTASTIC FOUR #66-67 (Sept & Oct 1967) – Featuring Warlock’s first appearance, albeit under the name “Him.” The Fantastic 4’s mad scientist foes in the Beehive, later called the Enclave, created Him, an immensely powerful life-form, to serve them in their mad schemes. Him, emerging from his cocoon for the first of what will be many times, refuses to be their pawn. The FF survive the encounter with Him, who slaughters some of  the scientists and disappears.    

Thor 165THOR #165-166 (June & July 1969) – Him had been floating in space in his cocoon since leaving the Earth. The cocoon was found by an Earth space probe which brought the cocoon back to a research center on Earth. Him emerged from the cocoon, met and fell in “love” with Thor’s romantic partner Sif and abducted her. Thor furiously fought Him to rescue Sif and defeated Him, who again retreated into his cocoon and floated off into space. 

Marvel Premier 1MARVEL PREMIERE #1-2 (Apr & May 1972), WARLOCK #1-8 (Aug 1972 – October 1973), HULK #176-178 (Jun 1974 – Aug 1974) – This time Him’s cocoon was discovered floating in space by the godlike being called the High Evolutionary. This sometimes hero and sometimes villain added to our hero’s already massive powers by endowing him with a Soul Gem, later ret-conned as one of the Infinity Stones. This was its very FIRST appearance. Continue reading


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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. 

Avengers 95THE 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)


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.

mandroids avengersThe 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. Continue reading


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For this weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero blog post here at Balladeer’s Blog will examine the 4th, 5th and 6th installments of the 9-part Avengers classic The Kree-Skrull War (1971-1972). For parts 1-3 click HERE. 

Avengers 92THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 92 (September 1971)

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)


Synopsis: We pick up several days after the Avengers and their old civilian ally, rock singer Rick Jones, saved the world from Ronan the Accuser. Ronan was the new ruler of the alien Kree Empire after a coup d’état against the Supreme Intelligence. When his plan was stymied by the Avengers, Ronan was forced to retreat back to Hala, the homeworld of the Kree Empire, because the Kree’s ancient foes the Skrulls had launched attacks on every Kree-held planet in the galaxy.

The Scarlet Witch, Goliath (formerly Hawkeye), Quicksilver, the Vision and Captain Marvel are enjoying down time at Avengers Mansion. Soon their butler Jarvis brings their attention to newscasts stating that the Avengers are being investigated by the U.S. government and the U.N.

captain marvelWord has leaked from a Senator named H. Warren Craddock and from the technicians the Avengers swore to confidentiality following last issue’s action. The entire world now knows about how the alien race called the Kree attempted to destroy the Earth.

Captain Marvel’s status as a renegade Kree captain helps draw attention to the Avengers and his place with them. Not helping the situation is the way Captain Marvel – aka Kree Starfleet Captain Mar-Vell – impersonated Earth scientist Doctor Walter Lawson as part of his original mission to infiltrate NASA at Cape Canaveral.

That circumstance leads to suspicion about how many other alien Kree may be infiltrating Earth bases, fanning the inevitable Witch Hunt. Continue reading

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This weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero blog post here at Balladeer’s Blog will examine the first three installments of the 9-part Avengers classic tale The Kree-Skrull War (1971-1972). 

Avengers 89

THE AVENGERS Volume One, Number 89 (June 1971)

The Only Good Alien … Is A Dead Alien

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.

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 ORIGINAL MARVEL COMICS CHARACTER CAPTAIN MARVEL, A MAN.) 

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.

Fawcett Comics eventually went under and nearly all their characters were bought by DC. DC doesn’t mind an alleged Superman ripoff as long as they OWN the character so the Golden Age Captain Marvel is still being published but because Marvel Comics over the years acquired the rights to the character NAME Captain Marvel the original Captain Marvel now goes by Shazam.

Captain MarvelAnyway, the Marvel Comics Captain Marvel, who debuted in the 1960s, was an alien Captain of the Kree Starfleet ships sent to conquer the Earth for the Kree Empire. His real name is conveniently Mar-Vell so when he identified himself in his early adventures the media mistook “Captain Mar-Vell” for Captain Marvel, hence his superhero moniker.

Like many other aliens in pop fiction the good Captain came to feel grudging sympathy for us Earthlings and tried to save us primitive schlubs from conquest by the Kree Empire. He thus became labeled a traitor to his own people but was also distrusted by Earthlings because of his alien nature, hence his old Marvel Comics tagline “The Man Without A World.” Continue reading


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