Tag Archives: Thanos


For Part One of these Iron Man 1970s classics click HERE.

im 54IRON MAN Vol 1 #54 (January 1973)

Title: Sub-Mariner: Target for Death

Villain: Moon Dragon (Her first appearance)

NOTE: This issue was co-written and co-illustrated by Bill Everett, who created the Sub-Mariner back in 1939 (BEFORE Aqua-Man), when Marvel Comics was known as Timely Comics.

Synopsis: We pick up an unknown amount of time after the previous issue. Tony Stark is now in Seattle, restructuring much of the Stark International corporate activities there to fit into his company’s new direction of no weapons manufacturing.

Our hero reflects to himself how the mysterious new supervillain the Black Lama escaped in our previous installment after his disciple Raga was defeated. (The Black Lama will emerge as a major adversary of Iron Man in the near future.)

Moon DragonElsewhere, deep below the waters of the Pacific Ocean, a vessel constructed through the superior technology of the Eternals of Titan travels like a submarine for the moment. This vessel launches a futuristic satellite into orbit, a satellite with cloaking tech and other capabilities.

On board that subaquatic vessel is Moon Dragon (Heather Douglas), currently using the idiotic nom de guerre “Madame MacEvil.” (LMAO) Besides the stupid name, Marvel’s writers had clearly not yet fully decided on her backstory or on what role she would play in the Thanos War being set up in this issue. Continue reading


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Here’s Part Four of Spider-Man 1970s Classics. For Part One click HERE.

daredevil 103DAREDEVIL & THE BLACK WIDOW Vol 1 #103 (September 1973)

Title: Then Came Ramrod

Villain: Ramrod

Synopsis: In a rare moment of kindness, Daily Bugle publisher J Jonah Jameson has sent Peter Parker to San Francisco to photograph and interview Daredevil and the Black Widow, who were at the time operating as crime-fighting partners like Captain America and the Falcon back in New York City. The Black Widow was also romantically involved with Daredevil in his secret identity of blind lawyer Matt Murdock.

NOTE: The Black Widow and Matt Murdock were currently a major San Francisco power couple (this was back before San Francisco was filled with human waste matter and drug needles). Because this is a comic book nobody figured out that Natasha’s man Matt Murdock was also her superhero partner Daredevil, who conveniently moved to the West Coast at the same time Murdock did.

In his Spider-Man costume, Peter Parker photographs the BW & DD swinging back into Natasha’s San Fran mansion. Daredevil was swinging on his billy club cable line and the Black Widow was swinging on the slender black weblines that her wristlets shot out.

NOTE: Natasha’s wristlets also shot powerful rays called her Widow’s Sting, too, and her costume let her cling to buildings and ceilings like Spider-Man did but none of those cool attributes of her costume were ever used in the Marvel Comics movies. Instead, she just shot guns. Lame.   

dd bw and smBack to the story, Spidey switches to Peter Parker and enters the mansion’s grounds. He shows his press pass to get past Ivan Petrovich, Natasha’s chauffer back then. (Natasha was still rich through her inheritance from White Russian family members.)

Spider-Man and Daredevil by this point knew each other’s secret identities, but Black Widow does NOT know that Peter is really Spider-Man. Peter is still mourning Gwen Stacy and feels sorrow over the way Daredevil has a woman who can share in his superhero life the way the non-powered Gwen could never have shared in his.

DD and the Black Widow give Peter a tour of the mansion as he snaps photos along the way. After awhile, Peter feels his Spider-Sense tingling but before he can do anything, a supervillain calling himself Ramrod bursts through the mansion’s walls. He is there to steal secret documents from Matt Murdock’s safe, papers he is holding for his client Rolling Stone Magazine. Continue reading


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Tom Fleming WarlockAdam Warlock, one of the Marvel Comics superheroes who are not that well known to the public at large right now, will probably be a household word soon like just about every other Marvel character who gets thrown at the big and small screens.

At this point if Marvel tried launching film versions of It, The Living Colossus or Fin Fang Foom they’d probably take over Kaiju leadership from Japan & Godzilla. Recently Balladeer’s Blog did an examination of The Magus, the seven-part 1975-76 Adam Warlock story. If you missed it here are chapter links:

Magus 1PART ONE – ENTER: THE MAGUS – Includes my quick recap of Adam Warlock’s fictional history from 1967 to 1975, including his encounters with the Fantastic Four, Thor and the Incredible Hulk.

Then it’s on to Adam’s first clash with the galaxy-spanning Universal Church of Truth and the mad god it worships – the Magus. CLICK HERE 

Magus Part TwoPART TWO: DEATH SHIP – Adam Warlock gains a new ally in Pip the Troll when he is taken captive by the Church’s starship The Great Divide.

While participating in a prisoner uprising to seize the vessel he also learns more about the atrocities perpetrated on over a thousand worlds by the Magus and his Universal Church of Truth. CLICK HERE   

GamoraPART THREE: THE TRIAL OF ADAM WARLOCK – *** FIRST EVER APPEARANCE OF GAMORA *** Overcoming even more Black Knights of the Church and another battle with the Soul Gem, Warlock at last confronts the Matriarch, the worldly leader of the Universal Church of Truth.

She puts Adam on trial for heresy as part of her plan to seize control of the Church from the Magus. CLICK HERE

Magus fourPART FOUR: ONE THOUSAND CLOWNS – Pip the Troll and Gamora, the most dangerous woman in the galaxy, try to free Adam Warlock from the Pit of the Sacred Palace.

Meanwhile our hero resists the Matriarch’s surreal attempts to indoctrinate him into the Universal Church of Truth. CLICK HERE   

Magus 5PART FIVE: THE INFINITY EFFECT – Face to face with the real form of the Magus, Adam Warlock learns the horrific fate that lies ahead for him as he will transform into the Church’s god while being tortured over a period of 5,000 years.

Gamora’s mysterious secret is revealed. CLICK HERE

Magus 6PART SIX: THE REDEMPTION PRINCIPLE – While evading the Black Knights of the Church Adam, Gamora and Pip encounter the dying Matriarch.

Thanos reveals Gamora’s mind-bending, paradoxical origin and the In-Betweener draws ever closer in order to steal away Warlock and transform him into the Magus. CLICK HERE

Magus 7PART SEVEN: HOW STRANGE MY DESTINY – The story’s final mind-boggling developments unfold as Adam Warlock struggles to fight his fate.

Plus Thanos’ real motives for helping our hero are revealed in the final battles with the Magus, his Black Knights and the cosmic being called the In-Betweener. CLICK HERE  


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Adam WarlockConcluding Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit. 


Magus 7PART SEVEN (Conclusion)

Warlock #11 (February 1976)


Synopsis: Resuming where we left off, the Magus (Adam Warlock’s vile future self and the self-proclaimed god worshipped by the galaxy-spanning Universal Church of Truth) has created a teleportational rift leading from the Sacred Palace of the Church to the interior of Thanos’ space station called Sanctuary.

magus on throneThrough that rift the Magus leads General Egeus and the entire army of the Black Knights of the Church, super-powered beings from countless planets never before featured in Marvel Comics up to this point. (This makes them forerunners of the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard over at The Uncanny X-Men.)

ThanosWe readers know from the end of the previous installment that the Magus suspected that Thanos wanted him to attack, since he had dropped Sanctuary‘s defensive shields. However, even if he’s playing into the Mad Titan’s hands, the Magus had no alternative but to attack since his viewscreens showed him that Thanos and Warlock were about to use a Time Probe to try and prevent the Magus from ever coming into being.

In-Betweener 2As the Magus and his Black Knights pour through the teleportational rift the self-proclaimed god orders his knights to kill Thanos, Gamora and Pip the Troll but leave Adam Warlock to him.

The villain intends to finish off Thanos if he can, but most importantly he needs for the battle to prevent Warlock from entering the Time Probe long enough for the In-Betweener to arrive and abduct Adam to his dimension. There, over the course of 5,000 years Warlock will be tortured into becoming the Magus.

As this final chapter opens we are told there is less than one Earth hour left before the In-Betweener arrives. Continue reading


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Adam WarlockBalladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit continues.  



Warlock #9 (October, 1975)


NOTE: The first four installments of The Magus were successful enough for Marvel Comics to re-launch Adam Warlock’s solo series. The previous chapters were published at Strange Tales and this 5th part resumed the Warlock comic book beginning with number 9. The first run of Adam’s solo series ended with number 8 back in October 1973 during his Counter-Earth adventures.  

Infinity EffectSynopsis: We pick up immediately where we left off. Adam Warlock, Gamora and Pip the Troll have at last come face to face with the REAL form of Adam’s future self, the Magus, instead of the misleading “green like the Soul Gem” disguise he had been hiding behind.

Confusion is still in the air, because though the Magus is Warlock’s future self, his Universal Church of Truth was formed to worship him as its god 5,000 years ago. The explanation for that is at last forthcoming in this Timey Wimey chapter.

Pip comments on the way the Magus in his real form looks just like Adam except for being purplish-gray and having “an electro hair-do” as the Troll calls the Magus’ White Guy Afro. The Magus dismisses Pip as a fleabag, rises from his throne and says that the difference is far more profound than that. He is what “this golden butterfly” (Adam) will become.

Tom Fleming WarlockThe villain further states that he is what the forces of Chaos and Order have decreed that Warlock will become. NOTE: This carries over Marvel Comics’ use (in Captain Marvel’s comic book) of Chaos and Order as their William Blake-styled personifications of cosmic forces beyond human understanding. Marvel had Chaos and Order and their subordinate entities “upgrade” the Kree Captain Mar-Vell to help him against Thanos in the original 1970s Thanos War, covered in 2017 here at Balladeer’s Blog.  

Adam calls the Magus a cancer for the way his tyrannical  Universal Church of Truth has enslaved or obliterated countless planets, all just to further the Magus’ desire to become the only god worshipped anywhere. The Magus taunts Warlock and in response Adam attacks his future self. Continue reading


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Magus 1Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at the turning point story for Adam Warlock, a Marvel Comics character … and therefore probably destined to become a pop culture demi-god like almost every other Marvel figure thrown at the screen. (He was already an Easter Egg in their Cinematic Universe)

Marvel Comics characters, their film rights spread across multiple studios, have been at the center of seemingly countless movies in recent decades as well as plenty of television shows, both broadcast and cable. Flops like Howard the Duck and Ben Affleck’s Daredevil are cultural touchstones for cinematic failure. Marvel’s vampire slayer Blade, introduced in the 1970s, succeeded in three motion pictures AND a television series long before the Black Panther was adapted for the screen.

The X-Men, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and others have appeared in multiple films. Even less popular Marvel figures like the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man have been money-makers. Hell, even Groot, originally introduced as a rampaging monster in NINETEEN SIXTY has become nearly iconic despite having the most limited vocabulary this side of “Hulk will smash!”

(Yes, Groot – like Fin Fang Foom, Patsy Walker and the zombie Simon Garth – came even before the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man!).  

All of which is my roundabout way of getting back to ADAM WARLOCK, another lesser-known Marvel character who will probably become a household name before you know it. Adam had the very FIRST encounter with GAMORA. He fought THANOS in multiple storylines dating back to the 1970s, sometimes alongside DRAX and THE AVENGERS. Continue reading


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Here are links to all the chapters for reader convenience.

Avengers 89I. THE ONLY GOOD ALIEN IS A DEAD ALIEN – Ronan the Accuser overthrows the Supreme Intelligence to take control of the alien Kree Empire. Meanwhile, the Avengers help the Kree officer Captain Marvel and Rick Jones stop Annihilus from escaping the Negative Zone after Mar-Vell and Rick break out. CLICK HERE 

II. JUDGMENT DAY – Ronan the Accuser comes to Earth to personally oversee Sentry 459’s attempt to kill the Avengers as well as to launch Plan Atavus, a project that will set back Earth’s evolutionary clock by millions of years. CLICK HERE  Continue reading


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FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE  – With Marvel Comics characters basically being Pop Culture Deities these days I’m approaching this topic the way I approach neglected mythological epics.

Captain Marvel 33CAPTAIN MARVEL Volume 1, Number 33 (July 1974)  The God Himself

Before I dive into Mantis’ crucial role in this final chapter of the 1970s Thanos War I’ll do a quick look at two supporting figures in that conflict – Drax the Destroyer and Moon Dragon. 

These two characters and their relationship with each other have a direct connection to the mysteries surrounding Mantis herself, especially the upcoming Celestial Madonna storyline.

Drax the DestroyerDRAX THE DESTROYER: Just like our Vietnamese heroine Mantis, Drax from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies was introduced in the 1970s. He’s much different in the G of the G films but this blog post deals strictly with his original depiction.

Drax was originally an Earthling named Arthur Douglas. Years earlier he was driving home from Las Vegas with his wife Yvette and his little daughter Heather when they spotted a UFO that was one of Thanos’ scout ships checking out the Earth in advance of a planned invasion years down the road. 

The ship blasted the Douglas’ car to kill any potential witnesses. Douglas died in the crash, but Thanos’ father Mentor – wanting to create a nemesis to destroy his mad son – intercepted Arthur Douglas’ soul as it left his body. Mentor encased that soul in an incredibly strong and powerful elemental body.

As Drax the Destroyer, whose sole purpose for existence was the destruction of Thanos, the late Arthur Douglas became a major player in the forces opposing the mad Titan in the Thanos War. Among other deeds he helped Iron Man defeat Thanos’ minions the Blood Brothers.  

Moon DragonMOON DRAGON: As for Arthur’s daughter Heather, Mentor took the child back to live with him and his fellow Eternals inside Saturn’s moon Titan. From an early age the girl was rechristened Moon Dragon and was trained in super-powerful versions of martial arts.

Most importantly Titan technology helped bring out and enhance her telepathic and other psionic powers to the point where she outclassed even Charles Xavier himself. (And Moon Dragon debuted YEARS before the bald woman Ilea in Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Mantis faceNOTE: So, as we’ll see, a) Mantis and Moon Dragon were born at the exact same time in different parts of the world to different parents … b) Each were raised and trained by otherworldly cultures to bring out the most in their physical and supernatural abilities (Mantis by the Priests of Pama, Moon Dragon by the Eternals of Titan) … c) Each is “the other woman” in a romantic triangle (Mantis with Vision and the Scarlet Witch, Moon Dragon with the Black Widow and Daredevil) … AND d) Each recently had an emotionally scarring reunion with a father they’ve never really known (Mantis with Libra, Moon Dragon with Drax the Destroyer).   

Just coincidental parallel experiences or something more? Stay tuned.


Captain Marvel 31Synopsis: The Avengers (Thor, Captain America, the Scarlet Witch, the Black Panther, the Vision, the Swordsman and MANTIS) have just landed back at Avengers Mansion after destroying Thanos’ invasion fleet in space. As we saw in the previous installment Mantis’ mutant empathic powers told her some strange change had come over the entire planet during their hours-long battle in outer space.

Thanos, lurking nearby, smugly observed that Mantis was correct. He had willingly sacrificed his invasion fleet because while the Avengers had been off the Earth fighting that fleet of spaceships he had made subtle alterations that have doomed Earth and our heroes. Continue reading


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Avengers 125THE AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 125 (July 1974) The Power of Babel  

MANTIS’ vital role in the 1970s Thanos War is on the slate in this post. This first Thanos War was basically the same as the much later Infinity War, coming in movie form soon. Thanos was trying to get his hands on the Cosmic Cube, later called the Tesseract. This object was later ret-conned into being one of the Infinity Stones or Infinity Gems that fit into the Infinity Gauntlet.  

So I guess the Infinity War is like the Thanos War but with SIX items for the scavenger hunt instead of just one. If this villain’s name isn’t familiar to you, he’s the big purple guy who keeps showing up in mid-credits scenes of Marvel movies.


Synopsis: The Avengers are back from Vietnam after saving the world from the Star Stalker. Much was revealed about the enigmatic Mantis but much still remains a mystery with some contradictory notes especially puzzling our heroes for now.

Mantis 125Libra is being taken off to prison by the authorities. Mantis tells him she still can’t think of him as her father but she feels that they are both the better for what has happened. He asks if she will visit him in prison but she replies that she does not know. It may depend on what she learns about her enigmatic past next.

Captain America returns to the team after dealing with a long, multi-issue adventure in his own comic book. Mantis welcomes him back and then goes to visit her romantic partner the Swordsman in the hospital as he recovers from being tortured by her crime lord uncle. 

After she leaves, Thor, Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch, the Black Panther and the Vision bring Cap up to date on the new developments regarding Mantis.

Captain Marvel 28Soon the Avengers – including Mantis and the recovered Swordsman – get dragged into the ongoing Thanos War which had been playing out in multiple Marvel titles back then.

Parts of the conflict involved Iron Man, Daredevil and the Black Widow plus the Thing from the Fantastic Four but the bulk of the action took place in Captain Marvel’s comic book.

Supervillains like the Blood Brothers, Ramrod, Angarr, Super-Skrull, the Dark Messiah and the Controller served Thanos who – with his homeworld (Saturn’s moon Titan) at last conquered – turned his attention to Earth. Continue reading


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