SPACE MADNESS! And other space stuff...
If you are new to the wonder that is Super Reads, here's how this works: I read a Marvel Event comic book (in this case, Avengers vs. X-Men) and then I write it all down, spoiling the hell out of it. I give you a nutshell of what happened in the comic, flesh it out a little bit more with some bullet points, and then just dive right in with a far too detailed look at how everyone in comics is a moron. It's magical.
So I read the comics and then I write about them. It's something simple and easy that I attempt to make way too complicated.
This ain't my first rodeo. I've been covering Marvel events since Secret Invasion, back when I was a wide-eyed young fanboy with hope for the future. :) You can read about it all in the massive Super Reads section on the site.
Before we get to the comics, you need to know a couple things.
Once upon a time... the Captain Marvel name was up for grabs. To capitalize on the fact that Marvel was... well, NAMED "Marvel," they came up with their very own Captain Marvel! It was amazing.
And thus, the Kree Captain Marvel was born. With the help of a pair of wristbands (the Nega-Bands), Mar-Vell was able to fly at faster-than-light speeds and had the prerequisite super-strength that you'd expect from a Kree. Eventually, the good Captain gained "Cosmic Awareness," which was just as vague an ability as it sounds.
In short, Captain Marvel was kind of boring.
OK, so he was interesting enough under a few writers but mostly he was boring. The best thing the character did was die in Marvel's very first Original Graphic Novel. After the death of Captain Mar-Vell, the name passed around to different heroes in the Marvel Universe (including Mar-Vell's genetically created son and daughter and a Skrull imposter pretending to be the original Mar-Vell) so that Marvel (the company) could keep the rights to the name and be assured that any other Captain Marvel book by, say, the Distinguished Competition, would have to be called something else.
In a Universe where people return from the dead with startling regularity, Captain Mar-Vell's death has lasted. The character's death hasn't been overturned. He joins other notable dead dudes, Uncle Ben Parker and Baron Heinrich Zemo, as characters that will probably never be brought back to life.
So naturally, it's time to bring Mar-Vell back from the dead. With a little bit of help from everyone's favorite cosmic firebird (that's the Phoenix Force), Captain Marvel has been resurrected to once more fight for the Kree people.
Don't worry. With a new Captain Marvel book coming out post-AvX starring the current Ms. Marvel, this resurection doesn't have the smell of permanance to it.
Secret Avengers #27
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Renato Guedes
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Click HERE to see Super Read Secret Avengers #26!
The issue in a nutshell:
Captain Marvel and a mind-controlled Ms. Marvel and Protector defeat the rest of the Space Avengers. The Kree await Ascension (the coming of the Phoenix) with a little bit of subliminal mind control assistance. The Avengers stage a counter-attack that totally fails.
This issue by bullet points:
• Captain Mar-Vell returns to kick a little Avenger ass. Except for Ms. Marvel and the Protector. Those two are working for him.
• The Avengers are defeated. Rhodey, Valkyrie, and Captain Britain are taken prisoner. The Quinjet is destroyed.
• The Kree are mind controlled into welcoming the incoming Phoenix Force.
• Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel make out while a Kree Minister watches.
• Vision, Beast, and Thor try to break the mind control influence on the Kree but are stopped by Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and the Protector.
• Kree soldiers kill the citizens that had broken out of their mind-controlled state.
This issue in EXTREME detail:
This issue is narrated by Captain Mar-Vell. He tells us of his death. It was peaceful. He was surrounded by many of his fellow super-heroes when his light went out but he died not in battle but in a bed. This is followed by an image of longtime Captain Marvel nemesis, Thanos, mocking Mar-Vell in death. And finally, we're given a brief glimpse at his resurrection, detailed more in our last issue.
We are now in what passes for the present. Captain Marvel is back and kissing Ms. Marvel in mid-air... in one odd back-breaking pose for Carol Danvers, by the way. The other full Kree in the scene is the Protector and it looks like he's bowed his head in worship at the return of his hero.
Before we go any further: mind-control. That's your excuse for every crazy bit of behavior coming out of Ms. Marvel and the Protector. It also explains why Captain Marvel is just about ready to unload a plate of whoop ass on the rest of the Space Avengers. Later on, the mind-control will be revealed to be planet-wide. We'll get there.
Right now, it's time to save an Avenger's life. Last issue, James Rhodes was at death's door after a failed attempt at capturing the Phoenix Force. In this issue, Rhodey goes into cardiac arrest and has to be revived with defilbrilator paddles. Once his pulse is steady, the Avengers can go back to worrying full time about the Phoenix that is headed for their planet.
One of them takes the full brunt of the blame. Captain Britain (Brian Braddock) went off plan last issue, trying to succeed at capturing the Phoenix Force where War Machine had failed. He grabbed the Phoenix Cage and tried to power it by his own magical powers. This proved less effective than War Machine's energy source and the Phoenix-Cage was severely damaged in the attempt. Beast chewed out the Avenger for this stupid act and Brian has taken that lecture to heart.
Thor does a pretty good job of lifting Braddock's spirits. This might be because the thunder god is kind of at fault here, too. Thor peer pressured the British super-hero into drinking before the fight and who knows what terrible effect that had on the whole encounter with the Phoenix?
Ok, that's enough talking. It's time for the Space Avengers to be taken down by Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and the Protector. Faced by their teammates and a resurrected Captain Marvel, the rest of the Avengers are too surprised to launch an effective counter-attack. Besides all that, Captain Mar-Vell seems nigh unbeatable. Every attack against him fails, even Vision's density alteration trick.
When the fight is over, Mar-Vell orders Ms. Marvel and the Protector to "gather the weak and injured." That would be Captain Britain, Valkyrie, and Rhodey. The others (Thor, Beast, and the Vision) are left to their own devices for now. As the party flies off, Captain Marvel destroys the Avengers' Quinjet.
OK, here's where we witness the mind-control that affects the entire planet of Hala. The Supreme Intelligence speaks to the Kree people, telling them all that the Phoenix is coming and it brings with it Ascension. It calms the people down and tells them that this is a good thing for Hala. Besides, look at the resurrected Captain Mar-Vell! He's beaten death and brings a new hope for the future!
Behind the scenes, it looks like the Supreme Intelligence is being fed his lines by that Kree Minister we met last issue. And just so I can fully expain the situation, this Supreme Intelligence doesn't look like the typical Supremor. This is a four-eyed version. We've seen a similar Supreme Intelligence speaking to the Protector but that one was apparently from a different dimension.
More full disclosure: behind the Kree Minister is the telepathic Kree with the brain on the outside of this head. We saw that guy last issue, too.
Below the burning remains of the Quinjet, the Vision picks up the Supreme Intelligence's message to the Kree people and realizes that the Kree are most likely being mind-controlled. With the Kree cheering on the arrival of the Phoenix, what's one poor Space Avengers team to do? Especially since the Phoenix Force is set to hit the planet in only a couple hours. Planetary evacuation probably isn't an option given the timeframe.
And what of our captured Avengers? Well, James Rhodes wakes up to find himself in a cage and still majorly weak after his recent heart attack. Captain Britain and Valkyrie fill him in on what's happened since he passed out and it's all bad news. Captured by the Kree, set to be executed, Quinjet and War Machine armor likely destroyed. It's a bad day to be a Space Avenger.
In one of Hala's many towers, Captain Mar-Vell and Ms. Marvel get reacquainted. Mar-Vell explains that his Cancer is still in his body but the power of the Phoenix has "frozen the Cancer INERT." To me, that sounds like a precarious place to be with something that led to your death, but Mar-Vell seems unconcerned.
Carol and Mar-Vell drink Kree wine, and Danvers tells him that she listens to Mar-Vell's recorded tapes all the time. She wanted to make sure that she remembered Captain Marvel but in the listening, she sort of fell in love with him. After admitting that, she drops her glass and gives Mar-Vell a kiss.
In the sky overhead, the Phoenix is getting closer. On a view monitor, the Kree Minister watches Carol and Mar-Vell kiss like a creepy space voyeur.
Vision, Beast, and Thor fly into the nearest city with a half-plan to save the Kree. Vision is broadcasting a signal that will counter the mass Kree mind-control, but it will only work if he can get close to some Kree. Thor suggests that maybe smashing things is the way to go which opens up some wry wit for Beast.
Inside the city, the Kree gather in the streets to watch the approach of the Phoenix Force. Their happiness is ruined when the Vision lands among them and wakes them out of their mind controlled state. The Kree citizens turn into a chaotic mob in their attempts to evacuate not only the city but the planet.
Before Vision can move on to another street to attempt more of this behavior, he's struck down by Captain Marvel. Once Vish is dealt with, Mar-Vell moves on to the thunder god. Ms. Marvel and the Protector focus on the Beast. With that kind of firepower against him, Hank ain't gonna win so his battle happens completely off-panel.
So we focus on Thor and Captain Marvel.
It's a good beginning and the god of thunder is able to capitalize on this for a good page or two. Captain Mar-Vell is his rag doll and gets the stuffing beat out of him. For a while, at least.
When Thor attempts to his Mar-Vell with a bolt of lightning, Captain Marvel deflects it with his swanky Nega-Bands and the blast hits Thor instead. I'm guessing the Nega-Bands converts the lightning into something that would actually HURT Thor since I'm pretty sure lightning immunity is part of the thunder god's repertoire.
With this final Avenger defeated, Mar-Vell drags the beaten Thor off, leaving the thunder god's hammer behind.
Mar-Vell runs into a platoon of Kree soldiers who have just killed a group of Kree civilians. When Captain Marvel asks them what the hell they're doing, they explain that they just pacified a rioting crowd that was corrupted by the Avengers' influence. The look on Mar-Vell's face indicates that he is kind of disgusted by this action and his narration sort of confirms that.
"I died, as all things must. There was peace. Rest. Reward for a life spent in service of others... I didn't miss life."
The Avengers #110
Writer: Steve Englehart
Penciler: Don Heck
Inkers: Frank Giacoia & Mike Esposito
Editor: Roy Thomas
The issue in a nutshell:
The Avengers race to the rescue of the X-Men and run right into an attack with Magneto. When the smoke clears, Mags has escaped with the X-Men, a couple Avengers, and a stolen Quinjet. This is a banner day for the Avengers.
The issue by bullet points:
• Quicksilver calls up to let his sister know that he's not only alright, he's getting married to the Inhuman, Crystal. Pietro is not happy that his sister has found love with the Vision.
• Magneto tapes his destruction of the X-Mansion and sends the footage to the Avengers.
• The Avengers try their best to find the X-Mansion.
• Hawkeye looks for the Black Widow in San Francisco.
• The Avengers find the X-Men's Mansion and try to rescue the X-Men. Instead, they run right into Magneto's trap. There are dinosaurs.
• Magneto reveals himself as a disguised Angel. He attacks the Avengers and makes off with all the X-Men, Captain America, Iron Man, and the Scarlet Witch.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
It was April 1973. The X-Men book was still in reprint hell. Beast's solo series in Amazing Adventures had just come to an end. It was a sad time for all fifteen X-Men fans.
Fortunately, the Avengers book was revisiting a lot of themes left up in the air by the X-Men book. Roy Thomas had brought back the Sentinels and the Savage Land Mutates in recent issues. All that remained was a full-blown appearance by Magneto and the X-Men. That wish was about to be fulfilled under the pen of Steve Englehart (who also wrote most of Beast's Amazing Adventures stories).
Our tale starts off with a sparring competition between the Black Panther and Iron Man. It appears that Iron Man is losing. This is sad considering their power sets. Thor rushes in to break up the fight to tell Wanda that good news awaits her on the video phone. The Avengers rush around the monitor to witness proof that Quicksilver is alive!
Pietro had disappeared during the Avenger's run in with the Sentinels. The Scarlet Witch has scoured every bit of news and followed up every lead in an attempt to find her twin brother. While this never led to Quicksilver's reappearance, it DID create some random Avengers adventures which is almost just as good.
Pietro has more news: he's fallen in love with the Inhuman named Crystal. They're already making wedding plans and couldn't be happier. Wanda's about to ruin her brother's good mood by telling him about her own love for a robot.
I mean, it's a sentient robot. It's the Vision. He wouldn't like me calling him a robot, either. He prefers the term "syntheziod" or at the very least "android." To Quicksilver, "robot" is all the Vision is. It's as unnatural as falling in love with the toaster. Even if it does make bread delicious.
All of this is made all the more insane by the fact that the world doesn't hold mutants or Inhumans in high regard. It's like eight layers of unnatural depending on what portion of the Marvel Universe is looking at it. Needless to say, Pietro is not amused and demands that his sister give up her crazy love for an artificial life form. Quicksilver even makes the ultimatum that it's either Vision or him.
When the monitor goes dark, Wanda cuddles up to Vision for comfort. It leaves the rest of the team uncomfortably quiet as they ponder what the rest of the world might think of this matching.
After a little talk about how the Avengers roster is getting a little light with Quicksilver and Hawkeye's departure, the Avengers' conversation is interrupted by the video monitor suddenly lighting up once more. This time, it shows the team images of a destroyed mansion. There's audio but no-one is talking for some time. Then, the camera focuses in on the fallen form of Professor Charles Xavier. Prof X is still conscious and shouts his defiance at whoever is manning the camera.
Once again, the monitor goes dark, leaving the Avengers with a whole lot of questions that need some quick answers. Fortunately, Thor remembers his telepathic conversation with Professor Xavier (from X-Men #9) and that leads them to believe that the X-Men are in trouble. The problem is that they don't know where this mansion is located. The team splits up to search the city.
In their smaller groups (most of them are off all on their own), the Avengers think about Wanda and the Vision and their love. Most of them find themselves thinking of their own loves. To their credit, the Avengers all accept what's going on between the Scarlet Witch and the Vision. Cap even tells Wanda that Quicksilver's ultimatum is more Pietro's decision than hers. She shouldn't feel guilty because it's Pietro who's made the decision to abandon HER.
While the team looks for the X-Mansion, we take a quick trip to sunny San Francisco to find Hawkeye looking for his old flame, the Black Widow. This is ALSO related to the Scarlet Witch and the Vision expressing their love for one another because Clint Barton became the odd man out. Hawkeye has just told Wanda that he was in love with her a couple issues before she and Vish became an item. When he was rejected, Clint stormed out of the Avengers' lives and went to find his comfort elsewhere.
The problem with going to the Black Widow is that she was just beginning her romance with Daredevil at the time. So Hawkeye was going to find himself rejected twice in so many days.
OK, Scarlet Witch and Captain America have found the X-Men's Mansion and have even radioed in the rest of the team. The Avengers search the building and quickly come across the unconscious X-Men. There's Cyclops. Over there is Marvel Girl. Around the corner is Iceman. Further in is Professor Xavier.
After finding the Professor, the trap is sprung. Doors begin to close on their own. Metal objects start attacking the Avengers. The heroes gather up the X-Men and beat a hasty retreat to their Quinjet. Iron Man finds the final X-Man, Angel, before they leave.
Before they can even reach the Quinjet, the Avengers are attacked by giant boulders which explode out of the ground.
After defending themselves against the rock attack, the Avengers get a moment of calm before the next onslaught. The Scarlet Witch tells them all that it is Magneto who is playing with them. She would know. Magneto is always messing with her life.
From the distance, music from a flute hits the team. Following the musical number is an attack by DINOSAURS. The Avengers take the prehistoric creatures down and then find the source of the music (which seems a LOT more interesting to the team than fighting dinosaurs). The flutist turns out to be the Savage Land Mutate, Piper. He can control animals by playing the flute and is the one directing the dinosaur attack.
When the Avengers try to approach Piper, they get another barrage of boulders for their trouble. Thor goes for the direct approach, smashing rocks with his hammer. Unfortunately, the rocks swarm around the thunder god, preventing him from getting a good swing out. After expressing his frustration for not being able to attack to true target, Thor finally draws out the real villain, not with action, but with his words.
And here's.... MAGNETO!
Wearing Angel's costume.
Yeah, there's a reason. For now, Mags explains that he was disguised as the Angel in order to manipulate the Avengers without revealing himself. He's here for the X-Men. And some of the Avengers.
And now we all judo fight.
The Master of Magnetism keeps the advantage throughout this short battle, escaping in the Avengers' Quinjet with the X-Men and half of the Avengers team (Captain America, Iron Man, and the Scarlet Witch). When the rest of the Avengers finally free themselves from the magnetic boulders that surrounded them, it's too late to even pursue the villain because Magneto is straight out of sight.
The Avengers #111
Writer: Steve Englehart
Penciler: Don Heck
Inker: Mike Esposito
Editor: Roy Thomas
The issue in a nutshell:
Namor, Hepzibah, and Sunspot are sent to Tabula Rasa to find Hope. Instead, they find a big fight with Luke Cage, Thing, and She-Hulk. Namor and Thing's rematch makes the locals think the two are getting ready to mate.
The issue by bullet points:
• Cyclops sends the X-Men out to find Hope.
• The Tabula Rasa team is comprised of Namor, Hepzibah, and Sunspot.
• Namor and Hepzibah decide to have sex after all the fighting.
• Luke Cage crashes his Quinjet in Tabula Rasa after something slimy flies into the jet intake.
• Oh. Someone forgot that She-Hulk is also on stake-out duty at the Jean Grey School.
• We're all surprised when the X-Men attack the Avengers! I know! Shocking.
• Namor handily beats Luke Cage and then starts up against Thing for a little rematch action.
• The fight is interrupted when a local scientist thing tells Namor and Thing that it wants to watch their mating ritual to its conclusion.
• Magik arrives to collect Namor (but leaves Hepzibah and Sunspot). There's a battle on the Moon that requires the Sub-Mariner's attention.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
There's a little interlude that happens before this issue where the Avengers recruit Daredevil and the Black Widow in Daredevil #99. They also run into the mad-as-hell Hawkeye who spends most of the comic fighting Daredevil for Black Widow's affections. When the comic is over, DD and Natasha join up with the Avengers and Hawkeye runs off, fuming.
And now we can get down to this issue of Avengers! Magneto has discovered a brand new power and it's one that'll make him more of a threat than ever before: MIND-CONTROL. By controlling the blood supply to the brain, Magneto is able to make people obey his every command. Sure, it makes them a bit sluggish but when you've got heavy hitters like Captain America and Iron Man in your army, they don't have to be at 100%.
Meanwhile, the Avengers are returning to their headquarters with their allies. The problem is, they've built up a new roster without any destination in mind. Everyone settles down to a long wait when Daredevil accidentally "reads" a newspaper in front of him with his fingertips. It's all about an Atomic Energy Commission Conference scheduled today. Mutants. Atomic Energy. Let's just say conclusions are drawn. It's imperative that the Avengers be on hand for Magneto's attack.
As the heroes race to the Atomic Energy Commission Conference, we check in on Hawkeye, still in San Francisco and hanging out on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Clint is feeling sorry for himself and is trying to figure out what he should be doing with his life. He's got big plans to become a bigger name than the Avengers or Daredevil. That guy and his emotions...
We join the Atomic Energy Commission, already in progress. I'm sure they all have some brilliant ideas for how to use nuclear power but they aren't going to get to even one item on their agenda before facing a combined attack by the X-Men and a few Avengers. All mind-controlled, of course.
Security has been doubled to anticipation of an attack. It won't be enough. X-Men. Avengers. Even moving slowly and requiring Magneto to concentrate on each of them to make his mind-controlled minions dance properly, they are more than a match for any security force.
The big question is: are they a match for the Avengers plus Daredevil and the Black Widow?
The answer is: Yes. Unfortunately, the Avengers arrive too late to do any good. Iron Man herds the members of the Atomic Energy Commission into Magneto's stolen Quinjet while the rest of the mind-controlled heroes slow down the Avengers. Daredevil tries to hitch a ride on the departing aircraft but Magneto electrifies the hull, causing the swashbuckling hero to lose his grip and plummet to the ground below. Fortunately, the Black Widow is on hand to save the blind hero from a fatal landing.
When Thor attempts to follow the Quinjet, Magneto orders Iron Man to dangle Captain America out the door. Not only will Iron Man drop Cap is Thor continues to follow them, the Golden Avenger will leap out of the jet himself. And then so will all of Magneto's slaves. Thor could catch one of them, maybe two, but not all of the mind-controlled heroes. It looks like Magneto has won a second round with the Avengers.
A quick after battle wrap-up session reveals that the Avengers are down another teammate. The Vision has disappeared.
When Magneto returns to his hidden secret base, he tells the members of the Atomic Energy Commission his devious plan. He also lays down the rules.
He is going to unleash the nation's nuclear arsenal in order to make more mutants. Of course, the AEC isn't going to part with their knowledge willingly, so Magneto's going to have to use mind-control on them, too.
But before he can do that, he has to explain what the hell he was actually doing in Angel's costume. It's confusing, people, but here it is: you MAY remember that this particular Angel suit was actually a GIFT from Magneto. The "gift" was designed to siphon off Warren's mutant energy. After Magneto faced some serious injuries (in Amazing Adventures #9 & 10), he came a-callin' for that mutant energy, capturing Angel and then donning the young mutant's costume to gain access to all that sweet, sweet power. This fully restored the villain and led to the fall of the X-Men and half of the Avengers.
And now you know.
So the members of the Atomic Energy Commission refuse to give up their nuclear secrets, Magneto takes over their minds, and the world is doomed. Just kidding about that last part. Let's move on over to the world's premiere super-hero team and see how they figure out where Magneto's secret base is located.
Remember those dinosaurs the Avengers fought last issue? Who doesn't! Well, it turns out they had a smell and what has a smell can be tracked by Black Panther. Neat.
The magnetically mind-controlled heroes are ordered to attack the non-mind-controlled Avengers (and Daredevil & the Black Widow). Against some fully capable heroes, the sluggish moving slaves are more disadvantaged. In short order, the Avengers take down a number of mind-controlled heroes. This upsets the Master of Magnetism and he decides to stop toying with the Avengers and just take them all over.
And that's the end of the fight. Right?
Wrong. Piper walks towards his master and judo chops the villain in the back. Mags is down, courtesy of...
The Vision! Remember he disappeared earlier? It turns out he used the confusion of the previous battle to hide himself INSIDE the Savage Land Mutate. According to Vish, "only his BRAIN has been solidified JUST enough to direct [Piper's] movements." This is the first time Vision has attempted anything like this and it worked pretty well.
The day is saved. The X-Men and the mind-controlled Avengers return to normal. There are questions that are left unanswered, the biggest being: What happened to the Angel? Magneto took the X-Man's place last issue and Warren Worthington III hasn't been seen since. We'll get no answers in this story.
The next biggest question is: Are Daredevil and the Black Widow going to join the Avengers? For Matt Murdock, the answer is clearly no. For Natasha Romanova, the answer is yes. Trouble, she is in paradise. Black Widow wants some time away from DD so she can think through her relationship with the swashbuckling hero. Daredevil isn't too happy at this separation and swings away from Magneto's headquarters, angry.
And that's the story.
It looks like we're done for this week. Short, sweet, to the point! That probably won't happen again...
Until next time: Have a good week!