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Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 5

March 15, 2017

Captain Marvel #3 (cover date July ’68)

“From the Ashes of Defeat!” by Roy Thomas (w), Gene Colan (p), and Vince Colletta (i).

This issue opens with a full-page panel of Kl’rt the Super-Skrull carrying an unconscious Captain Mar-vell back to the Skrull’s spaceship. Except Mar-vell isn’t actually unconscious, he’s just acting. But he is very weak – too weak to move a muscle, he thinks to himself. While he waits for an opening, he considers that the atomic bomb in his suitcase is going to blow in less than an hour!

Once on board, Kl’rt removes the Captain’s helmet, leaving him unable to breathe. I guess he’s good at holding his breath, because he continues to play dead the entire time instead of gasping for whatever it is that the Kree breathe. The Super-Skrull comments that he has never “beheld a true man of the Kree before! …You are as loathsome as I expected – almost as repulsive as the earthlings themselves!” The Skrull straps Mar-vell into the “psycho-probe” and turns on the device, all while giving the readers a recap of his motivations.

The mental probe is so painful that Mar-vell passes out. Kl’rt then plays back the images that it has taken from the man of the Kree’s mind: a recap of issues #1 & 2. Now, I’m used to recaps in comic books. When I was growing up, multi-part stories usually featured a single a poorly-colored page near the start of each issue that got the reader up to speed. This recap lasts three pages. I have never seen that before in a Marvel book.

captmarvel-05-aWhile Kl’rt is busy narrating what he sees on the psycho-probe’s playback, Mar-vell wakes up. He uses the uni-beam on his wrist to blast off one of his restraints (how does he activate that thing anyway?), leaps up, and socks the Super-Skrull in the jaw. The captmarvel-05-bSkrull is knocked back into the “delicate electronic equipment” of his spaceship, which releases “countless volts” of electricity that shoot through the alien and paralyze him. Mar-vell uses the opportunity to retrieve his helmet and escape the ship with his jet-belt. The Super-Skrull escapes from the electricity, “flames on,” and follows.

The Captain flies up into the upper reaches of the atmosphere and beyond. Escape velocity what? He notes to himself that his helmet and battle suit will allow him to survive for “only seconds” in space, but at least up there the Skrull will have no oxygen to make fire with. Kl’rt, for his part, tells Mar-vell that he could create a force field and follow, but… nah. Too much work. Actually, what he says is, “if you prefer suicide to capture, you shall have your wish! …I’ll let you perish – in the numbing, jet black void!” Even if he thinks that Mar-vell will die up there, why not follow and make sure if you’re capable of doing so? I mean, this is his whole mission, his path to the throne of the Skrull empire!

A desperate Mar-vell activates the “monitor band” in his glove, which will tell him where the Kree ship is. And after 4 ½ issues of being on the crew of the ship, he finally mentions its name – “Helion.” Speaking of which, over on the Helion, Medic Una is trying to school Colonel Yon-rogg on his duties – to go rescue Mar-vell. Yon-rogg, though, claims that he can’t because that would reveal their presence to the Skrull.

But even without his commander’s help, Mar-vell makes it to the spacecraft. His jet-belt, meant for atmospheric use, stops working (how was it working up until this point?) and, well… “Just enough air molecules remain to provide friction – make [making?] me lose my momentum! If I don’t reach the ship – there at my finger-tips – I’ll fall back to Earth – a flaming human meteor!” Actually, you’d be a flaming Kree meteor, Mar-vell. Jeez, Yon-rogg was right about you being a traitor – you’re already identifying as the enemy!

With no more excuses for inaction, Yon-rogg reluctantly opens the hatch and lets Mar-vell onto the ship. The Captain immediately asks to go back, so that he can defuse the nuclear bomb in his case, but Yon-rogg gives him a lot of pushback. Why does he care what happens to the earthlings? The colonel continues, “You speak, Captain, like a research scientist who has become enamored of his own guinea pigs! Your words betray a maudlin sentiment – perhaps even the seeds of disloyalty-!” Mar-vell counters that it’s not up to them to destroy the Earth or its inhabitants – they are only there to gather data. In the end, Mar-vell goes over Yon-rogg’s head and contacts the Imperial Minister.

captmarvel-05-cWhen the Kree home world is called up on the interstellar communications device, it appears as a Saturn-like planet with a thick band of rings, and little purple shapes floating in space around it. Apparently the rings are actually “defensive space-mines,” and the purple bits are a “flotsam-like cosmic sea of enemy-detecting sub-sonic crystals!” I’m pretty sure none of that will ever get referenced again, and I’m not really sure why it’s being brought up now. Maybe Gene drew the thing and Roy felt the need to try and explain what the reader was looking at.

Anyway, the Minister doesn’t give a $%#& about saving primitives from a nuclear holocaust. But he allows Mar-vell to go defuse the bomb anyway so that the Skrulls can’t gain a foothold on Earth. Huh? The Super-Skrull actually went back and grabbed the case, so if they wanted to hurt the Skrulls, they would do nothing. Not that the Kree know that Kl’rt has the bomb, but it’s a reasonable inference that he would get caught in the blast. He lost his primary target – Mar-vell – and knows about the suitcase, after all. Mar-vell and Una tearfully embrace before he departs once again.

Meanwhile, the Super-Skrull has retrieved the case and, posing as Walter Lawson (making him the 2nd alien to pose as Lawson in the past few days!) makes it onto the missile base, where he tries to get access to the Kree Sentry. Kl’rt hopes to bring both the giant robot and Mar-vell’s case back with him, but his plan is interrupted as Mar-vell himself comes streaking out of the sky! The Captain grabs “Lawson” and flies him away from the base in case the bomb goes off before it can be disarmed.

captmarvel-05-dThe Super-Skrull drops the case and “flames on.” Mar-vell lets go and the two battle in the sky. Just when the Captain seems to have Kl’rt on the ropes, the Super-Skrull uses his stretching power to reach the ground, throws Mar-vell, and leaps or lands onto some strange device (where? At the base?) , maybe to push it over onto Mar-vell? It’s not at all clear where they are or what’s going on. While it looks like the Skrull is going to push the device over, he’s saying that he’s going to use his power of captmarvel-05-e“super-hypnosis” which he had “all but forgotten!” What a maroon. Why not just hypnotize Mar-vell if you want intelligence from him?

But in a further comedy of errors, the device was a solar mirror, which Mar-vell turns towards the Skrull with a blast from his uni-beam (this has to be explained in the dialogue, because you’d have no idea WTF was going on otherwise). The Super-Skrull Super-Hypnotizes himself, which means he’ll take commands from anyone. Mar-vell disarms the bomb seconds before it explodes, and orders Kl’rt to get back into his ship and fly to the farthest reaches of space. Only now do his thoughts turn to the poor hotel clerk, who is being taken to the hospital in the final panel.

Well, that ended with whimper. It looks like Colan basically gave up trying to tell a coherent story on the last couple of pages.

Next: Namor the Sub-Mariner!

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3 Comments
  1. I kinda lost track there at the end. Kinda glad it wasn’t just me.

  2. Pinkius permalink

    “Fire everything!” – Noye from Star Trek 2009

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  1. Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 4 | Daddy DM

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