Avengers 89 to 97: The Kree-Skrull War
Kree and Skrull exiles
stir galaxies far away.
Earth will regret it.
Captain America; Steve Rogers
Goliath; Clint Barton
Iron Man; Tony Stark
Quicksilver; Pietro Maximoff
Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff
Thor; Donald Blake
Wasp; Janet Van Dyne
Yellowjacket/Ant-Man; Henry “Hank” Pym
Captain Marvel (later posthumous Avenger); Mar-Vell
Rick Jones (honorary Avenger)
Mister Fantastic; Reed Richards
Thing; Ben Grimm
This cycle features a story of unprecedented length in the Marvel Universe, the Kree-Skrull War. Although the issues are not tied together in the marketing sense, such as labeling them “1 of 9,” etc., history has regarded these issues as a complete saga. It would come to be a favorite reference point through to the modern era as well. Seeds for the recent Secret Invasion storylines are seen back here in 1971 and 1972, and the events therein serve to bring together the clandestine hero group, the Illuminati, as well as bring the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes firmly into history as protectors of Earth. Their exploits here cement their reputation throughout multiple galaxies as major hindrances to alien races seeking to take advantage of, as they call it, Sol-3.
Roy Thomas takes a lot of threads from another of his series that had been canceled, Captain Marvel (1968), which had heavily featured former Avengers “sidekick” Rick Jones. Those two characters bring the Avengers into the action, and Rick, often forgotten next to his superpowered allies, has one of his finest moments, bringing the saga to an end with a display of the incredible, nearly infinite power that supposedly all humans are on the evolutionary road to having. In future stories, other alien races begin to voice their negative feelings about Earth and its inhabitants after hearing about how potentially dangerous we are to the universe. Nice going, Rick. Exposure to Rick and Earth’s Mutants, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, also make the Kree and Skrull very aware about their own dead-ended evolution, and they start to aggressively do research into ways to better themselves, leading to further experiments on earthlings and more conflicts among these empires and Earth.
The story also ties up some plot points from the Inhumans’ series in Amazing Adventures (1970), which ended during this run of issues. At this point in Marvel’s history, it was not uncommon for series to end abruptly, but their characters and plots would play out in one of the other, more popular series. Although they still had some slips in continuity, the relatively smaller number of titles and immeasurably smaller number of characters were shepherded by less than a dozen writers, so it was a bit easier to follow characters from one series to the next.
The reason for the initial Kree-Skrull conflict took place millions years before these issues of Avengers, and it wouldn’t be revealed to the reader until years later. At that long-ago time, the Skrulls were the dominant empire in this region of space, and they were not very warlike. They used commerce to hold their empire together. The Kree had not yet developed interstellar travel, and they shared their homeworld with another race, the plant-based Cotati. The Skrulls transplanted groups of both races to Earth’s moon to see which race was more worthy to represent the planet in the Skrull Empire. The Kree built a beautiful city to showcase their achievements. This city later became the “Blue Area of the Moon” that the Inhumans and others would inhabit. The Cotati created a lovely garden. The Skrull judges preferred the garden, but the enraged Kree could not accept this, so they slaughtered the Cotati and Skrulls and stole their technology, mastering it enough to start the war that has continued on and off to this day.
Earth’s part in the conflict started when its Moon was used in the contest, but after that, contact with our planet was only scattered experiments on the evolving creatures that would become humans and Inhumans. The location of Earth is also strategic, lying somewhat between the two empires’ homeworlds. Once the conflict heats up in these issues, Earth is simply a small part of the plan, but both sides decide they need to conquer it or at least destroy it so the other side can’t use it. They don’t see us as being on one side or the other. We’re just in the way of their use of our solar system. When the story ends and Ronan loses his control of the Kree, the interstellar conflict seemingly turns away from Earth.
These issues were collectively voted on by fans as the 38th best Marvel comic from the first 75 years of Marvel's publication history.
These issues were collectively voted on by fans as the 38th best Marvel comic from the first 75 years of Marvel's publication history.
The Only Good Alien…
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Sal Buscema and Sam Grainger
The story opens with Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Rick Jones hunting down Captain Marvel and rendering him unconscious. They take him to a hospital for treatment, as exposure to radiation in the Negative Zone has left him dangerously unstable. Rick retells how Captain Marvel discovered a way out of the Negative Zone through observing Mister Fantastic. Captain Marvel advised Rick to get to the Baxter Building, and they switched places there. Captain Marvel broke into the Fantastic Four’s lab and activated the portal to the Negative Zone, which set off an alarm at Avengers Mansion. The three Avengers on duty responded and arrived just in time to see Rick coming through the portal back to Earth with Negative Zone resident Annihilus right behind him. While the Avengers battled Annihilus and sent him back to the Negative Zone, Captain Marvel stole their Quinjet and headed to Cape Kennedy so he could commandeer a rocket and return to space. Instruments in the Baxter Building revealed an excess of “nega-power,” and Vision computed that this energy in Captain Marvel could cause a chain reaction that may destroy the world. Back in the present, the treatment at the hospital manages to drain some of this energy, but Captain Marvel remains unconscious. Meanwhile, in the Kree Galaxy, Ronan the Accuser breaks into the headquarters of the Supreme Intelligence, leader of the Kree, and seizes control of the empire. Ronan activates a Kree Sentry robot on Earth with orders to kill Captain Marvel.
Scarlet Witch: “I was merely thinking…this man is an alien…marooned here from a distant star—while Pietro and I are Mutants—no more at home on Earth than he! We are all strangers—in a strange land.”
· This issue is usually regarded as the start of the Kree-Skrull War saga, even though no Skrulls appear until issue 91. That we know of…
· Captain Marvel had his own series that ended with issue 21 in August of 1970. After more than two years, the series resumed with issue 22 in September of 1972.
· Many of Captain Marvel’s abilities come from the Nega-Bands, wristbands given to him by the Supreme Intelligence. They also are used to swap Rick and Mar-Vell back and forth from the Negative Zone and enable them to communicate telepathically while separated. When on Earth, Rick Jones wears the Nega-Bands, but he gets none of the powers they bestow. When Captain Marvel rescues Rick from the Negative Zone in this issue, the Nega-Bands fade away, stripping Marvel of many of his powers for the duration of these issues.
· Previously Captain Marvel was only able to stay in normal space for up to three hours before returning to the Negative Zone. Vision gives the team a three-hour time limit to find him based on this limitation.
· Captain Marvel uses a light-based weapon called a “photonic uni-beam” that he hid in a secret weapons cache. Iron Man also has a weapon in his armor called a unibeam. Great minds of different species think alike.
· We see Rick Jones starting out in his music career. He will go on to have some success at it, releasing a couple of studio albums and touring widely.
· The recapping of Mister Fantastic’s escape from the Negative Zone is from Fantastic Four (1961) 110. He was aided by the magic of Fantastic Four ally and witch Agatha Harkness. She will later become mentor to the Scarlet Witch.
· Captain Marvel bails out of the Quinjet when he reaches Florida. It appears to explode on the horizon, but the Avengers discover it crashed in a park and are able to fly it again right away. Sturdy!
· The specialist they recruit to help Captain Marvel is Dr. Donaldson, a former associate of Henry Pym.
· The name Cape Kennedy was used from 1963 to 1973. After this, it reverted to its former and current name, Cape Canaveral. Most people in these issues just refer to it as “the Cape,” but the hospital they take Marvel to has the sign “Cape Kennedy Hospital.”
· This month is the first appearance of Barbara Morse in a Ka-Zar story in Astonishing Tales (1970) 6. She is an agent of SHIELD in this story, but she will later take on the identity of Mockingbird, marry Hawkeye, and join the Avengers.
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Sal Buscema
The Avengers try to defend Captain Marvel, but the Sentry overpowers them and kidnaps its target. Its original orders to kill him are overridden by new orders, so the Sentry teleports away with its quarry instead. Rick Jones fills the Avengers in on the history of the Kree on Earth, but this gives them no leads, so they return to headquarters. They see a message from Goliath that he has traveled to Alaska to look for the missing Yellowjacket, who disappeared while searching for some missing scientists. Wasp had told Goliath about a strange jungle that had appeared in the frozen wastes, and Goliath went to investigate it alone. Ronan shot Goliath while he was distracted battling a prehistoric sloth creature. The rest of the Avengers arrive to join Wasp, and the four heroes and Rick seek their missing teammates, only to find that Goliath has been mentally enslaved. Ronan tells the captive Captain Marvel that he plans to use his Kree device to devolve all life on the planet to where it was a million years before because the humans are poised to become an interstellar threat. The Wasp is slapped down by Goliath and lies unconscious as Yellowjacket, who has been devolved to a primitive caveman, approaches her.
Sentry 459: “We are androids both, you and I—far above mere humanoid. It is not meet—that we should fight their battles for them.”
Goliath: “But I can’t work with women around—not since Natalia and me broke up. ‘Broke up’—Hah! Face it, hero—she ditched ya. If only I didn’t think about her all the—Huh? Now the Widow’s face has faded—and it’s Wanda I’m seein’!! Get out of my daydream, Witchie. I said—beat it!”
· The Sentry robot is one of many employed by the Kree universe-wide. Sentry 459 came to Earth roughly 25,000 years ago to monitor the development of the Inhumans. It was reactivated in the mid-20th century and fought the Fantastic Four and Captain Marvel before its appearance here. It is unrelated to the Avenger named Sentry.
· This is the first time Carol Danvers appears in Avengers. This is before she gains her powers and identity as Ms. Marvel. She is head of security at Cape Kennedy in this issue. She currently serves with the Avengers as the newest Captain Marvel.
· The Sentry mentions Kree “Plan Atavus.” The word “atavus” means an ancestor from which a trait has probably been inherited. The Kree certainly have a good grasp on the English language, as that’s a rather obscure term.
· When Yellowjacket sees the jungle growing in the arctic, he refers to it as “Adventureland,” a section of Disneyland. The Avengers are now part of Disney as well.
· To prevent Wasp from going into danger, Yellowjacket knocks her out with a vicious slap. Not nice.
· Wasp asks the Sentry, “What have you done with the I love?” A word is omitted, even in reprints of this issue. Based on the space left, it’s a short word, so it’s probably meant to be “man,” but I wouldn’t call him a man so soon after he slapped his wife either.
· Considering that Ronan is now in charge of the Kree Empire, it’s strange that he attempts this scheme with no other soldiers than the Sentry, but his reasons are not explained. Since his Universal Weapon is able to teleport him to Earth, perhaps he didn’t want to waste a full ship’s time to travel to Earth when he thought he could handle the situation alone.
“Take One Giant Step—Backward!”
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Sal Buscema
The bestial, devolved Yellowjacket takes Wasp away from the ongoing battle. The Sentry and enslaved Goliath manage to subdue Scarlet Witch and Vision, and Quicksilver and Rick flee to safety. Ronan gloats to his captives about his plan and demonstrates how the de-evolution effect can even bring creatures back to the level of an amoeba. Before Ronan can use the beam on Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver breaks into the building and attacks Ronan and the Sentry. Rick Jones tries to free Captain Marvel in the confusion and fires the uni-beam weapon into a control panel. This causes a chain reaction that starts the destruction of the citadel. Before Ronan can react, he gets a message from his forces in the Kree Galaxy that the Kree are under attack from the Skrull armada. Ronan teleports away, leaving the Sentry with no orders and unsure of what to do. It is buried by the crumbling structure while the Avengers make their escape. With no technological help, the jungle is quickly overcome by ice and the prehistoric creatures return to their normal state.
Sentry 459: “Yet I cannot rage and bellow, as they would have me. It is not given to a Sentry to know the white-hot wrath of hatred—nor even the golden glow of pride in victory.”
Ronan: “They are—in love! An android—and an atom-born Mutant—rejected offspring of earthling technology—in love! This sight alone was worth my joining the Sentry here, after teleporting him to these once-icy wastes.
· Ronan expects the bestial Yellowjacket to club Wasp, but instead he protects her. This is even more ironic considering that the “modern” Yellowjacket just struck her last issue and the caveman Yellowjacket does not.
· Ronan’s dialogue seems to hint that the Kree don’t mate and are instead grown in labs. Captain Marvel’s son, Genis-Vell is indeed created by artificial means after Captain Marvel’s death. Ronan may be referring to custom rather than capability, as the pink-skinned Kree that resemble earthlings were produced by the pure-blood blue-skinned Kree mating with other alien races in the past.
· The Vision and Scarlet Witch’s mutual attraction is first noticed by Ronan when they almost kiss.
· This issue and issue 92 do not have visible page numbers. This may have been because they were getting ready to change the page count and didn’t want to make a comparison easy.
· Rick Jones applauds Quicksilver busting through a wall like “the Green Bay Packers thru a high school defense.” The Packers were not in the middle of their best seasons. Their last good year was as champions of Super Bowl II in 1968. In the two seasons after that, they hovered at around .500 and would have a 4-8-2 season in 1971.
· Quicksilver faces off against Ronan in this issue. They don’t know it, but they will both end up married to the same woman, Crystal. Quicksilver is her first husband, and they will have a troubled marriage. Ronan is her current husband after a recent political marriage to strengthen bonds between the Kree and the Inhumans. In this issue, both have not even met her yet.
· Yellowjacket is a bit embarrassed that he was no help in the battle and takes it as a sign that he should stay retired from superheroics. He and Wasp formerly resign.
· It’s implied the Sentry is destroyed, but it will show up again in Captain Marvel’s series and subsequent issues of Avengers, although it has lost much of its intelligence due to damage.
All Things Must End!
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Sal Buscema and George Roussos
The Avengers are relaxing at home when they discover that a new government organization, the Alien Activities Commission, is actively searching for Captain Marvel. The technicians rescued from Ronan’s plot have informed the world about the Kree incursion. Captain Marvel deliberates on giving himself up, but most of the Avengers support his right to stay free. Carol Danvers arrives at the mansion and claims that Captain Marvel can hide out at her friends’ farm. The two of them manage to get through the SHIELD aircraft patrolling around the building. The four Avengers attend a public hearing led by H. Warren Craddock. Rick Jones attends with them, and he recalls a dream he had where Captain Marvel is captured at the farmhouse. Overcome with the feeling that it really happened, he bolts from the courtroom, and after the disturbance, the hearing is adjourned. The Avengers return to the Mansion to find that protestors had rioted and trashed the interior of the Mansion. Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America seemingly arrive and disband the Avengers for all time.
Vision: “If first a man of the Kree can be confined for no reason, then detainment of androids will follow—next of Mutants—the Giants—until ultimately a left-handed man would fight a right-handed man to the death—for the remnants of a burned-out planet!”
Thing: “The Avengers? What Avengers? The Avengers I knew was Thor—Iron Man—guys like that!”
· The cover announces it is “Still 15₵,” but it will only remain at that price this month. DC Comics had increased the size and price of their comics to 25 cents the previous month, which is probably why the price was highlighted here.
· Neal Adams draws the cover for this issue. He will start penciling interiors next month.
· Quicksilver comments on his “winged heels.” He’s referring to the winged sandals of Hermes, not those of Namor.
· The word balloons of Vision make a change to extra-thick bubbles with a yellow interior in this issue.
· This is not the true first appearance of H. Warren Craddock, the head of the Alien Activities Commission. He had been captured and impersonated by a Skrull. It’s not even the first appearance of the Skrull. It had appeared in Fantastic Four (1961) 2 impersonating the Invisible Girl.
· Rick says to Captain Marvel, “If you’re a spy, then I’m Joe Cocker.” Rick is making fun of his own low status as a singer, but he will become popular in the future.
· Vision claims Avengers Mansion is outside federal and local jurisdiction. It’s not certain why he would state this, since they are on New York City and United States land. Since he’s not a liar, we have to assume this is some deal made with law enforcement that we’re just hearing about.
· Super-Skrull is impersonating Carol Danvers in this issue. Later the Supreme Intelligence suggests that he clouded Captain Marvel’s mind so that he would not notice the imposter. That was probably the real Danvers in issue 90 at Cape Kennedy, but you never know.
· Captain Marvel is only able to escape SHIELD’s aircraft because Nick Fury undermines the security measures. Remembering the Japanese-American internment camps in World War II, he wants no part of Craddock’s plans.
· Mister Fantastic and the Thing are at the public hearing as well. Mister Fantastic supports the Avengers’ claim that Captain Marvel is not a threat, but the Thing is dismissive of the new Avengers members.
· Once Craddock determines Vision is an artificial life form, he refuses to allow his testimony, asserting that he can only parrot what is programmed into him.
· Rick Jones' “dream” is later shown to be a vision sent to him by the Supreme Intelligence.
· The rioters are only able to break into the mansion because Jarvis turned off the defensive equipment. He was afraid civilians would be hurt.
· The Big Three don’t actually appear in this issue. They are imitated by the Skrulls that originally impersonated the Thing, Mister Fantastic, and Human Torch in Fantastic Four 2. That’s even them on the cover!
· I was born in this month. As far as I know, I am definitely not a Skrull.
This Beachhead Earth
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Neal Adams and Tom Palmer
Vision bursts in on Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor at the Mansion and collapses. Ant Man arrives a bit later and offers to venture inside Vision to discover the problem. After fighting through automated defense mechanisms inside Vision’s body, he finds a loose cable and reconnects it. When Vision revives, we discover that imposters disbanded the team, not any Avengers member. Vision relates how the dismissed members went to the farm Carol Danvers had taken Captain Marvel to. All but Goliath had been attacked by three cows that morphed into members of the Fantastic Four, and Vision had barely escaped with only some automatic functions active. We discover that Captain Marvel and Danvers are hostages of these three Skrulls who duplicated the Avengers and Fantastic Four. Goliath is still at large, and he is joined by Rick Jones. While the three Skrulls attempt to capture them, the Avengers from the Mansion arrive and join the battle. An unguarded Captain Marvel escapes and engineers an Omni-wave Projector in order to get a report to the Kree that the Skrulls are on Earth. Carol Danvers reveals herself to be the Super-Skrull in disguise, and what he wanted was a working Omni-wave Projector. Although Captain Marvel destroys the device before Super-Skrull can examine it, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver are abducted by Super-Skrull in the craft hidden in the farmhouse. Goliath attempts to smash the retreating spacecraft, but his powers wear off, and Super-Skrull escapes.
Captain America: “He spoke of sending back for help, but how could any of us help him—in there? Hank Pym’s alone—as alone as any man can be.”
Ant-Man, inside Vision: “What it looks like is a leftover movie set from Metropolis. Fritz Lang’s, not Clark Kent’s! Just the place for an old E.C. fan-addict like me!”
Rick Jones: “You could be Reed Richards—but that sure ain’t the Torch and the Thing. They never talked that good in their lives.”
· The price of this issue increased to 25 cents, but the page count increased to 34 pages. That’s $1.47 in 2014 dollars.
· There is no issue of Avengers for October, 1971.
· The cover design does away with the corner box that features characters’ faces. Instead they use a full-body picture of the Vision that resembles his pose on the cover of issue 87.
· This is Neal Adams first issue of Avengers. He’d recently finished a run on Uncanny X-Men with inker Tom Palmer and also just developed the Ra’s al Ghul Batman villain with Dennis O’Neill. Adams and O’Neill were also working on issues of Green Lantern/Green Arrow that were published at the same time as these Avengers issues. Adams is a member of the Hall of Fames of both the Eisner and Kirby Awards. He claims that Superman vs. Muhammad Ali is one of the favorite books he worked on. His latest series for Marvel, The First X-Men wrapped up in December of 2012.
· Pym shows up as Ant-Man since the summons was for the “original team.” He reasserts he has resigned, though. He claims that Wasp did not come because she was sick with a virus.
· The ants that accompany Pym into the Vision are Crosby, Stills, and Nash, named after members of the singing group. Neil Young had joined the group by this time, but there was no fourth ant. Crosby, the ant, dies on the mission.
· Iron Man claims he’s “seen more than fire and rain” in his time. This is a reference to lyrics in the 1970 James Taylor song “Fire and Rain.”
· Ant-Man admits to being a fan of EC Comics. E.C. stand for Entertaining Comics, a publisher from the mid-forties to mid-fifties. Although they are more remembered for their horror comics like Tales from the Crypt and starting Mad magazine, they also published science-fiction stories. Ant-Man also mentions Al Feldstein, who edited Mad magazine until 1985, after he makes a pun.
· Ant-Man makes a comment about something surprising he finds inside Vision, but he is forced to move on. Though he doesn’t specify what it is, the narration teases that the reader may find out someday. Later stories reveal that he saw something reminiscent of the Human Torch android.
· Goliath says Rick is doing a “Secret Squirrel bit.” Secret Squirrel was a cartoon about a secret-agent squirrel that aired from 1965 to 1967. The show was partnered with the Atom Ant show about a superhero ant, and this issue features Ant-Man.
· Goliath mentions that he hasn’t taken growth serum for a few days. This is the first time he mentions the fact that he’s drinking a serum to gain his growth powers.
· The Skrull “cows” are from the Skrulls’ first appearance in Fantastic Four 2. Mister Fantastic hypnotized the defeated alien invaders to think they were really cows, but Super-Skrull recently revived their memories. They mimic the powers of the Fantastic Four through artificial means. They are not “super” Skrulls. These Skrulls end up as cows again after this issue, which proves to be a shortsighted solution. Their alien milk ends up in the food supply, changing the residents of the town into Skrull-hybrid monsters in Fantastic Four Annual (1963) 17. Even worse, the Skrull cows end up slaughtered and eaten by humans. Those who ate the meat either died or gained shape-shifting powers and a terminal disease. Some of those infected founded the Skrull Kill Krew.
· Super-Skrull is a warrior named Kl’rt who was given the powers of all the members of the Fantastic Four. After repeated failures against Earth heroes, he was exiled from the Skrull Empire, and his kidnapping scheme is a plot to regain favor. Most recently in the Secret Invasion event, he opposed the Skrull invasion of Earth and fought against the Skrulls. He is a playable character in the current Marvel vs. Capcom video game series. The game developers first wanted to include Human Torch, but that character model took up too much processing power, so Marvel suggested Super-Skrull as a replacement since he has all the powers of the Fantastic Four.
More Than Inhuman!
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Neal Adams, John Buscema, and Tom Palmer
While dealing with the leftover Skrull prisoners, the Avengers notice that Vision is missing. He had stowed away aboard Super-Skrull’s craft. The Super-Skrull reveals that the Mutants’ brainwaves hold the key to finding the Inhuman city of Attilan. Super-Skrull attempts to bomb the city, but the shield around it proves too strong to penetrate. He decides to take his hostages to the Skrull Empire to gain favor from the Emperor and wed the princess, Anelle. Vision decides he cannot defeat Super-Skrull alone, so he returns to the Avengers to explain events. The Super-Skrull, as an unwanted exile, is subdued by Emperor Dorrek’s forces, and the prisoners transfer into the Emperor’s custody. Dorrek threatens the lives of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, so Captain Marvel agrees to construct an Omni-wave Projector. Back on Earth, the H. Warren Craddock Skrull sends out Mandroid troops to enforce a court order that compels the Avengers to appear before the Alien Activities Commision.
Emperor Dorrek VII: “Have you forgotten that one of Mar-Vell’s rank must know the secret of the Omni-wave—the sole means of instantaneous communication between galaxies? Wrench that secret from his bosom—and we could send a doom-ray thru the Kree’s stoutest defenses—wipe their homeworld out of existence, in the twinkling of an eye!”
· The price decreases to 20 cents this issue for 23 pages. That’s $1.14 in 2013 dollars. Because DC kept their price at 25 cents and Marvel reduced theirs from 25 cents after one month, Marvel’s market share increased for a while when cash-strapped kids probably chose the cheaper line.
· Super-Skrull calls Vision a “recreant.” This is someone unfaithful to duty or cowardly. I admit I thought he meant “replicant” until I looked that up, but the latter term hadn’t been coined yet.
· In theory, the brainwaves of the Mutants guide the Skrull ship’s instruments to Attilan because the Inhumans have mutated themselves artificially.
· Captain Marvel and Anelle, the Skrull princess, meet in this issue. They fall in love and have a half-Skrull, half-Kree child together during his capture here, but that is not revealed until much later. That child is Hulkling (aka Dorrek VIII) from the Young Avengers team.
· Emperor Dorrek VII of the Skrulls mentions that Earth had been protected by a Kree Nega-Shield, which is part of the reason they hadn’t attempted to invade. In Fantastic Four 37, Dorrek had told Mister Fantastic that it was only a fringe group of Skrulls that wanted to invade Earth, not his legitimate government.
· Super-Skrull calls out oaths like “Sargassos of the Sirius” and “Demons of the Dog-Star.” Dog Star is another name for Sirius. It’s unknown why he keeps referring to that particular star.
· Super-Skrull keeps referring to his abilities as “ultra-powers” in this issue, just like the term characters in the Ultraverse would use over 20 years later.
· Although it’s unclear why Super-Skrull attacks the Inhuman city here, we find out next issue that a contingent of Kree is inside the city recruiting Inhumans as troops.
· Emperor Dorrek VII does not torture Captain Marvel in keeping with the Convention of Fornax, likely an equivalent of our Geneva Convention. He states that earthlings are not advanced enough to be seen as intelligent creatures, so he tortures Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch instead.
· Goliath uses up his last remaining growth ability in the battle with the Mandroids.
· Nick Fury is still on the side of the Avengers. He tries to warn them to leave the mansion before the Mandroid attack.
· Stark Industries engineered the Mandroid armor, and Iron Man trained the pilots, giving him some advantages in the battle. This is the first appearance of these suits, but they would continue to be used to subdue superheroes for many years.
· Captain Marvel fought a Kree robot called a Mandroid in Captain Marvel 18, but aside from the name, there is no relation between the Earth battle armor and Kree robot. That issue is more noteworthy because it is where Carol Danvers is exposed to the Kree radiation that would give her powers as Ms. Marvel.
· Uncanny Avengers artist John Cassaday was born in this month.
Something Inhuman This Way Comes..!
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Neal Adams and Tom Palmer
Triton, a member of the Inhuman royal family, comes to New York seeking the Fantastic Four, but American soldiers attack the strange-looking Inhuman when he arrives in the city. Wounded, he slinks into the sewers and arrives at Avengers Mansion during the battle with the Mandroids. Iron Man uses his inside knowledge of the Mandroid technology to end the battle without killing the pilots inside. Triton pleads with the Avengers to help him recover Black Bolt, the true king of the Inhumans, from San Francisco. The villainous Maximus had currently taken control of the Inhuman city with his mental powers and was negotiating with Ronan’s Kree forces to provide them Inhuman soldiers in exchange for Maximus' rule over Earth. The Avengers prepare to help Triton, but Vision disagrees, stating that they must focus on the kidnapping of their own members. They split into two teams, and Captain America, Goliath, and Rick Jones head to California with Triton. SHIELD manages to operate the Mandroid armor by remote control even though the pilots inside are unconscious, so Iron Man, Thor, and Vision battle them again. Feeling regret, Vision changes his mind and wishes to help the Inhumans, so both groups converge on Attilan. Black Bolt shatters the protective shield with his powerful sonic cry, and his reverberating words free the Inhumans from Maximus’ control. The Kree, sensing they will no longer be welcome, attempt to flee. On a whim, one of the Kree warriors kidnaps Rick and takes him onto their craft.
Captain America: “We’re coming for you—Kree and Skrull alike! And nothing can stay our hand from vengeance—nothing but death!”
· The issue title is a play on Something Wicked This Way Comes, a 1962 novel by Ray Bradbury. The Bradbury title is also a quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth play.
· The page count is reduced to 21 pages for 20 cents.
· Nick Fury calls Craddock a “pain in the assignment.” They weren’t throwing around the word “ass” back then.
· When the Avengers split into smaller teams, they task the logical Vision with selecting who will go with which group. He admits to himself that he may have been biased and sent the weaker team members to help Triton because he wants the strong members to save Scarlet Witch.
· Captain America asks a thug if he would have preferred Captain Midnight show up instead of himself. Captain Midnight was a radio serial in the 1930s and 1940s about an American aviator who fought foreign espionage and crime. It was unrelated to DC Comics’ Doctor Mid-Nite.
· The Inhumans had their own series in Amazing Adventures, but it was discontinued with issue 10, cover-dated January, 1972. Their appearance here ties up some of the plot lines from those 10 issues. They were replaced by stories about future Avenger Beast in issue 11 of that series.
· This issue reveals that the parents of brothers Black Bolt and Maximus were killed years before in the crash of a Kree spacecraft into their home. It was fleeing Attilan, and Black Bolt used his sonic power to attack it, causing the fatal crash.
· Once the teams split, Iron Man, Thor, and Vision have a short battle with the Mandroids and go to Attilan directly via Thor creating a space warp. The other group flies to San Francisco, picks up Black Bolt, and flies to the Himalayas. Despite all their extra traveling, the second team shows up almost immediately after the first.
· We later learn that the Kree who kidnaps Rick only does so because the Supreme Intelligence manipulated him into thinking it was a good idea.
· Avengers Special 5 is also released this month. It reprints Avengers 8 and 11 which both featured Kang.
The Andromeda Swarm!
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Neal Adams, Tom Palmer, and Alan Weiss
Despite the official policy of the Alien Activities Commission, SHIELD and Nick Fury secretly welcome the Avengers to their orbiting satellite and loan them a spacecraft. As the Avengers head into space, they intercept a Skrull armada in our own solar system. The Earth shuttle has a device that allows the Avengers to trick the Skrulls into thinking we have our own armada, but even when the Skrulls see it, they don’t believe it, and they send their flagship to investigate. The Avengers attack the lone warship and reach the Commandant’s command center. On the screen, the Skrull Emperor threatens Earth with a death ray from the Omni-wave Projector that Captain Marvel is building, but during his speech, he is surprised to discover that Captain Marvel has escaped and freed Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Instead the Skrull fleet sends a ship with a nuclear device to destroy Earth. Vision nearly beats the Commandant to death before he will reveal the location of the Skrull homeworld. Goliath goes alone to stop the nuclear attack while the rest of the team prepares to engage the armada. On the Kree homeworld, Rick Jones meets Ronan the Accuser, who decrees Rick will be his personal slave. Rick is shut in with another prisoner, the Kree Supreme Intelligence. The Supreme Intelligence reveals its plot to Rick and how it manipulated events to get Rick there. After this explanation, Rick finds himself transported suddenly to the Negative Zone and menaced by Annihilus.
Goliath: “Now that I’ve tossed away Hank Pym’s growth serum for good—I guess that’s just about my speed—playin’ watchdog!”
Ronan the Accuser (of Rick Jones): “Progeny of a demented calot! I sent you to the Earth to recruit Inhumans…to battle Skrulls—and you bring me—this?!”
· This is inker Alan Weiss’ first issue of Avengers. Neal Adams also inks himself for some of the pages in this issue.
· The Avenger logo switches to a new one on this cover. The new logo, with the arrow inside the A of the logo, will be used for several years. In addition, the cover hypes Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man by printing their names above the logo.
· The issue title is probably based on Michael Crichton’ 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain. A movie version of it had also been released in 1971. The Skrulls happen to come from the Andromeda Galaxy. The Kree, by the way, are based in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The Earth is only vaguely located between the two.
· A note is made about the three billion souls on Earth. The population of Earth would reach four billion in 1974 and just reached seven billion in 2011 or 2012. It’s estimated we’ll reach eight billion in 2027. Later in the issue, Rick mentions The Population Bomb, a 1968 book by Paul Ehrlich that cautioned of problems on Earth due to future overpopulation.
· The Skrulls’ interest in the Omni-wave Projector cannot be because of its use as an instant communicator. Emperor Dorrek is transmitting instantly to the Milky Way already. They must only want it for its use as a long-range death ray.
· The craft the Avengers use can only travel faster than light speed because it is hooked up to Thor’s hammer Mjolnir.
· Ronan mentions a “calot.” It’s unknown what that means to the Kree, but in the John Carter of Mars series of Novels, a calot is a Martian creature like a large dog. John Carter has a calot named Woola, which appears in the recent motion picture John Carter.
· Ronan claims the chance of Earth surviving the war intact are .00000327. That’s one out of 305,810.
· Rick threatens Ronan and promises he will kill him one day. He hasn’t yet. Ronan’s still alive.
· The Supreme Intelligence admits it’s not alive, but merely the sum of knowledge of former Kree geniuses. Years later, during the future Operation Galactic Storm event, the Avengers have a acrimonious debate about the correctness of killing the Supreme Intelligence. Half the team treat it as a living being and cannot support destroying it. When the second group does attempt to destroy it, they discover it does have biological systems as part of its makeup, causing more debate of its status as a living being.
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by John Buscema and Tom Palmer
Rick seems to be in big trouble in the Negative Zone, but a bolt of mental energy comes from out of his head and zaps Annihilus. Rick concentrates, a portal back the Supreme Intelligence’s chamber appears, and Rick escapes the Zone. We find out that Captain Marvel sent him to the Negative Zone in the first place, an unforeseen side effect of using the Omni-wave Projector. Captain Marvel destroys that device as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch battle Skrulls. Rick is faced with a horde of Ronan’s soldiers, but the Supreme Intelligence has assured him that, like all humans, he has the potential for amazing mental powers. Rick uses this new power to summon Golden Age heroes he read about in his childhood. These summoned heroes battle the Kree, but they begin to fade back into nothingness. In a display of even greater power, Rick sends energy throughout the galaxies that freezes every Kree and Skrull in place where they stand. Even back on Earth, we see H. Warren Craddock revealed as a Skrull imposter. The people on Earth riot at this revelation, and that Skrull is killed by the mob. Rick summons all the Avengers (but Goliath) and the now-unfrozen Captain Marvel to his side and collapses. The Supreme Intelligence fills the heroes in and tells Captain Marvel he must merge with Rick as before for Rick to survive, and Captain Marvel grudgingly agrees. The Supreme Intelligence sends the heroes back to Earth and promises to rule the Kree more benevolently, sparing Earth from the war.
Supreme Intelligence: “Yet, rest assured that the end is truly at hand—that hour when you shall prove worthy of your cosmic heritage—or perish horribly!”
Captain America: “I wonder who--or what—did this to them, and not to us!”
Iron Man: “Whoever did it, one thing’s for sure—he’s got to be one of the most powerful beings in the universe!”
· Although Neal Adams does not contribute art to the issue, he is credited as a consultant.
· The cover is drawn by Gil Kane and Bill Everett. Everett was one of the co-creators of the Sub-Mariner, who appears on the cover.
· The word “The” is added to the Avengers logo on the cover.
· When Goliath is shown facing down the Skrulls, there are only three instead of the four shown at the end of issue 96. When he tells what happened to him in issue 99, they stick with only three.
· Rick calls Annihilus “Bat-Man.” He’s actually closer to an insect-man.
· Rick summons images of these comic-book heroes: Captain America, Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, The Fin, The Vision, The Patriot, and the Blazing Skull.
· The Patriot, Jeffrey Mace, took the role of Captain America in 1946, after Steve Rogers was lost at sea and another man, William Naslund, died as the second Captain America. So, really, Rick summons two different Captain Americas.
· When Rick summons the heroes from his mind, he claims that it’s easy to summon Cap and Namor since they’re real, implying the others are not. All of them have at one point been reintroduced as actual characters in the Marvel Universe.
· Nick Fury references the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. This pertains to a underground comic series by Gilbert Shelton about drug-using slackers from San Francisco. They aren’t really brothers.
· This is the real first appearance of the human H. Warren Craddock. He had been kidnapped by the Skrull during these stories. He clears the Avengers’ names and then never appears again.
· Rick Jones recovers, but his incredible power, later called the Destiny Force, does surface from time to time over the years with varying results. Unfortunately he seems to have no control over when he can harness it.
· Goliath is left behind for a bit. Clint will return next issue as Hawkeye, but between the issues, he is pulled into the future for the events of the Avenger Forever mini-series and then sent back to this point in time with no memory of those events. That mini-series is another case where Rick uses the Destiny Force, this time to summon Avengers through time. This may mean that instead of figments from his mind, he did actually summon the real Golden Age heroes through time and space.
· The Skrull Armada is still free to attack, but we are forced to assume the Supreme Intelligence has used these events to reassert his rule over the Kree and started to cool off the conflict surrounding Earth. Narration also claims that the nicer Anelle will become regent of the Skrulls, but it’s not clear why. Her father is still alive and will still be Emperor in later stories. The ending of the saga is a bit abrupt.
· Captain Marvel and Rick appear again when The Captain Marvel series is restarted in September of 1972. Instead of starting a new series, they continue the numbering with issue 22 after a hiatus of over two years.