Tag Archives: superheroes

KREE-SKRULL WAR: AVENGERS PARTS 4-6

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)

 ALL THINGS MUST END

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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AVENGERS: THE KREE-SKRULL WAR

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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HOLYOKE SUPERHEROES

This weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero blog post looks at the neglected superheroes of Holyoke Comics.   

doctor-diamond

Any of us could stick a drawing pencil up our butt and draw a better picture.

DOCTOR DIAMOND

Secret Identity: Drake Gorden, MD

Origin: While on a passenger ship in the South Seas Dr Drake Gorden was swept overboard during a typhoon. He washed ashore on an uncharted island inhabited only by a monk formerly from Tibet. The monk decreed Doctor Gorden to be worthy of the Egyptian black diamond he guarded. That jewel bestowed super-powers on Gorden, who returned to the U.S. and fought crime as Doctor Diamond. 

First Appearance: Cat-Man Comics # 1 (May 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942. 

Powers: The black jewel granted Doctor Diamond the strength of fifty men and an impressive degree of invulnerability.  Continue reading

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WHEN HERCULES JOINED THE AVENGERS

This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero blog post will deal with the first time Marvel’s version of Hercules joined the Avengers in the 1960s. The demigod had subsequent periods as a member of the team, but this first time carried on from the lengthy Hercules/ Thor/ Pluto storyline that Balladeer’s Blog reviewed HERE.

ave 38AVENGERS Vol 1 #38 (March 1967)

Title: In Our Midst … An Immortal

Avengers Roster: The Wasp, Goliath, Captain America, the Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Black Widow 

Villains: The Enchantress and Ares

Synopsis: The Black Widow is secretly recruited by Nick Fury to go under deep cover by leaving the Avengers and pretending to once again become a communist agent. She is not to tell anyone that she is only faking her return to communism, not even Hawkeye, who is heartbroken and outraged when she departs Avengers Mansion. 

Meanwhile, partway down Mount Olympus, Hercules is engaged in a battle with the god of war Ares. Herc challenged Ares to this fight out of anger over Ares’ taunting refusal to help Hercules against Pluto in the storyline mentioned above. Continue reading

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MLJ COMICS SUPERHERO PANTHEON

For this weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero post, Balladeer’s Blog will feature MLJ, the company that later became Archie Comics.

FoxTHE FOX

Secret Identity: Paul Patton, newspaper reporter and news photographer.

Origin: When his co-worker Ruth Ransom got kidnapped, Paul Patton felt he could fight crime AND enhance his journalism career by first donning a costume and thwarting criminals as the Fox and then getting a “scoop” on those adventures, complete with photos. And this was decades before Peter Parker made a living with news photos of his exploits as Spider-Man.

First Appearance: Blue Ribbon Comics #4 (June 1940). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942. 

Powers: The Fox was at the peak of human condition. He had acrobatic skills greater than Olympic athletes and was a master of all forms of unarmed combat. His stealth skills were the equal of any burglar or ninja. The white eye-lenses on his mask permitted him to see in the dark.   Continue reading

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NEDOR COMICS SUPERHEROES

This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero blog post takes a look at the Golden Age superhero line-up from Nedor.  

Cavalier

THE CAVALIER

Secret Identity: Rance Raleigh, owner of an antique and curio shop

Origin: In Raleigh’s store was a portrait of the Duke de Chantreigh, sometimes said to be an ancestor of Rance. When that portrait would frown it was a supernatural sign that danger was coming. Rance would then suit up as the Cavalier and go into action. The first time was when Jake Miles, who was investigating munitions factory sabotage was hit by a truck outside Raleigh’s shop before he could tell him what he had discovered. 

First Appearance: Thrilling Comics # 53 (April 1946). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1948 

Powers: The Cavalier possessed the strength of a normal athletic male but was highly skilled with a sword and at unarmed combat. In addition he often used esoteric weapons and relics from his shop, just like the Golden Age Hawkman would wield artifacts from his museum. Continue reading

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL: LUKE CAGE AND THE TEEN TITANS

Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2022 continues, this time combined with the weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero blog post. This item looks at A Christmas Carol getting adapted through two separate stories – first with Luke Cage/ Power Man and then with the Teen Titans.

luke-cage-christmas-carol

LUKE CAGE, HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #7 (March 1973) 

Jingle Bombs was the real title of this holiday tale which pitted superhero Luke Cage aka Hero for Hire aka Power Man against the one-off supervillain called Marley. Like a Guest Villain from the Adam West Batman show Marley uses a campy Christmas Carol motif for his nefarious plan … yet, oddly the story is kind of quaint.  

On Christmas Eve, Luke Cage is hanging out with his then-girlfriend Claire Temple, a doctor who worked at a clinic in the New York ghetto. Later on in the series Claire would be the center of a romantic triangle between Luke Cage and another of Marvel’s black superheroes – Black Goliath, Hank Pym’s former lab assistant who used Pym’s inventions to turn to giant-size and back. 

As night approaches Luke sees a ruckus outside the clinic: a man in Dickensian 1800s clothing is using his walking stick to beat a little handicapped boy named Timmy. Our hero goes out to save the little boy and is attacked by the strange man, who identifies himself as “Marley.”   Continue reading

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SUPERHEROES OF CENTAUR COMICS

This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero blog post examines the Golden Age superhero pantheon of the company called Centaur Comics.

Air ManAIR MAN

Secret Identity: Drake Stevens

Origin: Drake Stevens’ father, Ornithology Professor Claude Stevens, was murdered and when the police were getting nowhere Drake donned a costume equipped with various technical gimmicks and set out to bring the killers to justice.

As always happens in comic books Drake decided to continue fighting crime under his new nom de guerre Air Man.

First Appearance: Keen Detective Funnies #23 (August 1940). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1941.

Powers: Air Man’s costume boasted feathers filled with an experimental anti-gravity gas as well as a jet-pack. In addition to that he sported guns plus a Chemical Belt loaded with egg-shaped explosives. On top of that Air Man was highly skilled at unarmed combat and had Olympic-level gymnastic abilities. 

Comment: Air Man was one of those Golden Age superheroes who didn’t hesitate to kill off his adversaries when the situation called for it.  

Blue LadyBLUE LADY

Secret Identity: Lucille Martin, novelist

Origin: Returning from a trip to China on board a luxury liner, Lucille Martin was given a priceless statue by a Chinese woman named Lotus. She was told to guard the statue from some men who were pursuing Lotus and by way of payment the Chinese woman also gave her a blue ring.

When the men pursuing Lotus killed her, Ms Martin accidentally discovered that the ring gave her super-powers. She donned a costume, called herself the Blue Lady and brought Lotus’ murderers to justice as the start of a crime-fighting career.  

First Appearance: Amazing-Man Comics #24 (October, 1941). Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.

Powers: Accidentally breaking the blue-bird shaped gem on the Oriental ring released a gas which bestowed upon the Blue Lady the strength of ten men, invulnerability and the ability to teleport via blue mists. She could also generate those blue mists to hide in and to disorient her opponents. In turn, other gasses were the Blue Lady’s weakness.  Continue reading

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SPIDER-WOMAN: HER EARLY STORIES

This weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero blog post will look at Marvel’s original run of the Jessica Drew version of Spider-Woman.

marv sp 32MARVEL SPOTLIGHT Vol 1 #32 (February 1977)

Title: Dark Destiny

Villains: Hydra

NOTE: The origin of the Jessica Drew character presented in this issue, which claimed she was a creation of Marvel’s hero-villain the High Evolutionary, was soon retconned. In the new version, her father was a scientist working with the High Evolutionary, who injected her with experimental chemicals and spider DNA to save her life from radiation poisoning, and that was how she gained her super-powers.

           Those powers: Spider-Man level strength, bioenergy “venom blasts” that she shot from her hands, wall-crawling abilities and limited flight through her web-wings.

spider-woman picSynopsis: Misled into working for Hydra, Spider-Woman is sent on a mission to assassinate S.H.I.E.L.D. chief Nick Fury on the Riviera. Nick survives her initial assault and then uses news and intelligence reports to show her how she was deceived into thinking that Hydra was a revolutionary organization rather than a criminal cabal.

Jessica, furious over the way she was used, leads a S.H.I.E.L.D. assault on the Hydra base from which she was sent to kill Nick Fury. After the base is shut down and all the Hydra agents are captured, the heroine declines to join S.H.I.E.L.D. and goes off to contemplate what she wants to do with her life. Continue reading

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MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS

cap original human torch and sub-marinerThis weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero blog post will examine the early years of Marvel Comics, which was called Timely Comics back in 1939.

Their first superhero series was titled Marvel Comics, which was changed to Marvel MYSTERY Comics beginning with the second issue.

mar c 1MARVEL COMICS Vol 1 #1 (October 1939)

Title: The Human Torch

Synopsis: A human-looking android is created by scientist Phineas Horton and made known to the public. Bizarrely enough, the android’s body bursts into flames upon contact with the air (it’s the little things, really) so this misnamed Human (Android) Torch is sealed up tight to prevent it from running amok.

1939 human torchThis figure escapes, learns to control its ability to “flame on” and “flame off”, and defeats the crime boss Anthony Sardo and his gang. When Phineas Horton hints at using his android creation to make money, the Torch rebels and flies off to function in the world on his own. Continue reading

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