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Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 4

March 8, 2017

Captain Marvel #2 (cover date June ’68)

“From the Void of Space Comes… the Super Skrull!” By Roy Thomas (w), Gene Colan (p), and Vince Colletta (i).

The king of the Skrulls (who has a cute little robotic dog!) has been made aware of recent Kree activities on Earth. Why, he wonders aloud, do the Kree have a sudden interest in this backwater planet that aliens are constantly taking an interest in? The king can’t ignore the chance that there’s something important on Earth that the Skrulls don’t know about, and so he summons the Super-Skrull (a Skrull with all the powers of the Fantastic Four, who had been exiled for his failures against the FF and Thor). I find this development rather interesting; the Earth here is like a Latin American country captmarvel-04-acaught between the USA and USSR during the Cold War.

The Super-Skrull is happy to do whatever the King wants, because he totally has the hots for the Princess Anelle (intro’d in FF #37 – so we finally get a footnote, and it’s for something inconsequential). Anelle, however, isn’t so interested in Kl’rt (that’s the Super-Skrull’s given name; he’s not named here but I’m already tired of typing out “Super-Skrull”), and figures that even their robotic dog, Machino (‘cause it’s a machine Fido, get it?) can take him out. Why, Kl’rt asks the king, is he so worried captmarvel-04-babout one “man of the Kree”? The king replies that Mar-vell is a war hero, and if the Kree sent him to Earth, it must be for an important mission. Accompanying the exposition is a nice full-page panel of Mar-vell warring against the Skrulls, with the king’s face in the background.

The king promises any gift, short of the throne itself, if the Super-Skrull succeeds. But if he fails, “star-spanning legions will hunt [him] down! Nowhere in the known or unknown universe shall [he] then be safe!” I am going to make a bold prediction: the Super-Skrull will fail to stop Mar-vell’s mission, and he will not get hunted down and killed like a robotic dog. Kl’rt, of course, plans to ask for Anelle. I don’t think she wants you, Skrully, and I don’t think she will go along meekly with your plan to ascend to the throne through her.

captmarvel-04-cOver on Earth, Mar-vell flies back to his hotel room so that he can change back to Walter Lawson. When he takes off his helmet, he is surprised to find that he can’t breathe. Then he remembers / reminds the readers that he has to take a breathing potion. But, “it’s too concentrated to take… in its pure form! Must dilute it… with tap water…!” This is apparently a problem because the bathroom is down the hall. Our brave hero sallies forth, and manages to make it to the toilet and back without being discovered. Marvel action as you like it! I don’t know why this is necessary. He already needs the breathing potion every hour to survive. Forcing him to make runs to the bathroom on top of that doesn’t seem very heroic. Also, have you tasted the tap water in Florida? Ugh.

When he then goes to retrieve his Earth clothes, he finds that his alien suitcase is missing! This is bad because apparently messing with the case will activate a nuclear bomb on a timer. Wow, talk about your scorched earth security! He throws on a trench coat over his battle armor and goes down to the front desk, where he discovers that the regular clerk took off in a hurry.

The clerk gets to the base and demands to see the General in the middle of the night, without saying much of anything about why, and… the gate soldiers say, “OK.” I suppose it’s a good thing the clerk isn’t the spy or assassin that he suspects Walter Lawson is, eh? While a soldier on a motorcycle leads the clerk’s car to the base proper, the Super-Skrull’s ship arrives on Earth. He can’t locate the Kree ship (because aura of negativism), but he can detect the radiation coming off of Mar-vell’s suitcase, which is located in the clerk’s car. Kl’rt exits his ship, punches out the soldier, and yanks the clerk and the case out of the car. Skrull-face recognizes that the container is of Kree make, and demands that the “earthling” clerk tell Kl’rt where it came from. The clerk uses this to figure out that the Super-Skrull – and Walter Lawson – are both alien lifeforms.

Not too far away, Mar-vell is getting out of a taxi despite the driver’s protestation. “Don’t sweat it, friend!” Mar-vell replies, “Let’s just say I need the exercise!” He wants to reconnoiter the area in his battle costume before entering the base as Lawson. As he tosses off his trench coat and dons his helmet, though, he hears the clerk’s cry for help! Mar-vell flies over and finds Kl’rt roughing up the human. The Super-Skrull knocks the clerk off a cliff, and then knocks Mar-vell out of the sky as well.

captmarvel-04-dCuriously, Mar-vell doesn’t try to catch the guy, but instead flies under him in order to slow his fall? When the Captain then lands, his first priority is not to worry about the clerk, but to retrieve his case. Kl’rt “flames on” and shoots fire at the man of the Kree, which clues Mar-vell in to the Skrull’s identity. Mar-vell returns fire with his uni-beam, missing the Super-Skrull but causing a blast that puts out Kl’rt’s flames. Then Mar-vell tackles his foe and starts to hammer away in an attempt to keep him off-balance.

Kl’rt escapes by stretching over to the middle of the missile base. The Captain uses his jet-belt to follow, but the Super-Skrull knocks him out of the air (again) and then turns him into a punching bag. Mar-vell falls to the ground, and lifts his arm to attempt a final desperate attack with his uni-beam. But before he can fire, the Super-Skrull takes him out with a flame blast.

Elsewhere in the base, the General and Carol Danvers look on with horror as Captain Marvel is defeated. Up in space, Colonel Yon-rogg looks on with glee. With Mar-vell taken by the Skrulls, perhaps their mission will be aborted, and Yon-rogg can have Una all to himself. That’s two creepy dudes in this issue who think that they will be able to possess an unwilling woman if they can get rid of Mar-vell. And back down on Earth, Mar-vell‘s nuclear time bomb suitcase sits forgotten on the edge of a cliff, ticking away…

So, the interesting thing here, to me, is that Mar-vell is totally outclassed. As he was by the Sentry as well, I might add. He gets some licks in when he can throw the Super-Skrull off-balance, but for the most part the Skrull uses his powers to make mince-meat out of the Captain. I am impressed that Roy is keeping the character’s defined power levels consistant within the story, because I don’t feel like you see that in modern supers comics. And now I am also intrigued to see how Mar-vell manages to defuse the suitcase bomb and defeat Kl’rt.

Next: boom?

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4 Comments
  1. Consistent power levels? In a comic book? Heresy! 😉

  2. Pinkius permalink

    Everyone knows the hero is exactly powerful enough to overcome their current foe! And their foes must be a linear progression of tougher challenges! Muh Immershun

  3. ” And now I am also intrigued to see how Mar-vell manages to defuse the suitcase bomb and defeat Kl’rt.”
    – One might suspect the solution to these two problems might be related.

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  1. Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 3 | Daddy DM

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