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Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 10

April 19, 2017

Captain Marvel #8 (cover date December ’68)

“And Fear Shall Follow!” by Arnold Drake (w), Don Heck (p), and Vince Colletta (i). The return of Colletta to inks is much welcomed by me. Heck’s art looks so much better in this issue.

We open with an Aakon trading vessel that needs to make some emergency repairs while passing by Earth. The Aakon have yellow skin, blue hair, and a bestial sort of face. According to Wikipedia, they haven’t been used since except maybe a name-check here and there. The Aakon detect the Kree warship – so much for that aura of negativism – which means trouble, for the two races are sworn enemies!

The Kree also spot the Aakon, and Colonel Yon-rogg immediately orders the attack. Captain captmarvel-10-aMar-vell tries to dissuade him – an attack will possibly alert the Earthlings to the Kree ship’s presence, it’s dishonorable to attack a trade ship, yadda yadda – but Yonny derides him for being a coward and/or a traitor. The Aakon ship touches down on the dark side of the moon, the Kree ship follows, and the two sides meet in battle on the moon’s surface. Yon-rogg orders a crew member named Tir-zarr to fetch the “nuclear rocket launcher”, and gets guff from both Tir-zarr (for not submitting a written request as per regulations – in the middle of a battle, really?!) and Mar-vell (who fears a nuclear explosion will definitely be seen by the Earthlings!). But Yon-rogg don’t care. He wants that launcher and he wants it now, soldier!

captmarvel-10-bFortunately for the moon, the Aakon take out Yon-rogg and Mar-vell assumes command. He grabs the Colonel and orders a fighting retreat. Incidentally, this is the first time (in this mag, anyway) that we see “Hala” – the name of the Kree home world, although it’s used as an exclamation here – and “Great Pama!” – another exclamation. The Kree make it back to the ship, whereupon Medic Una examines Yonny and says he’ll be fine, eventually. Mar-vell puts Tir-zarr in charge and heads back to Earth.

The Kree Captain feels like he should look into the life of the former Dr. Lawson – I think this might be related to his promise to Carol Danvers in #7, although captmarvel-10-cI didn’t think he was serious at the time – and flies to the dead man’s house. I don’t mean the hotel room that Mar-vell is staying in under Lawson’s name, but the doctor’s actual residence, which has not been mentioned before now. He finds a huge mansion, which is suspicious since Lawson is apparently a university professor. You’d think the university would have blown Mar-vell’s cover by now, since he probably hasn’t been keeping up that aspect of Lawson’s life. Anyway, inside the house he spots a sculpture of the DNA double-helix, and notices a mistake in the sculpture. When he moves the pieces of the sculpture to correct the error, a secret door opens, revealing a huge robotics laboratory! Complete with a conspicuously empty giant-humanoid-shaped depression in a huge table.

captmarvel-10-dAs Mar-vell grabs some computer cards from the lab, two dudes in weird blue jumpsuits and rifles break in to the room. They’re looking for Lawson: “No use hidin’ from us, egghead! We got twelve million bucks sunk into this lab of yours – and we ain’t no silent partners!” Well, that explains the fancy digs, at least. Mar-vell hides from the duo, and when they fail to find their quarry, they radio their boss to tell him that Lawson and “the big guy” have split. Their employer is Number One, a stocky and hideous individual that wears strange, compound-eye-looking lenses over his eyes. #1 reveals that their organization gave the not-so-good doctor all of that money so that he could build them “the perfect agent… that could remove any enemy without risk! A robot assassin! Since the robot was programmed with only enough information to do its job, it could never reveal anything to the police!” #1 is worried that Lawson is going to use the robot captmarvel-10-eagainst him & his goons.

Just then, Mar-vell is spotted and attacked by the two jumpsuits. A stray shot triggers an explosion which disorients the man of the Kree long enough for the humans to grab him and rough him up. But our Captain recovers, and demonstrates his superior strength and speed on their faces! The goons flee and use a couple of high-tech grenades captmarvel-10-fto seal the way behind them, but Captain Marvel is not so easily stopped! He blasts his way free with his uni-beam (now called a u-beam to avoid infringing on Iron Man’s trademark) and flies after the getaway car. The chase, which takes place amongst the scenic cliffs and canyons outside of Los Ange- err, Cape Canaveral (!), ends when the driver loses control. The car plummets over the edge and the two henchmen fall to their doom.

Number One is furious that Captain Marvel has killed his two best agents, and issues an order to his entire organization – which is called, imaginatively enough, The Organization – to seek and destroy the Captain! Meanwhile, Marvel flies over to Carol Danvers’ pad to tell her that the doctor’s lifestyle is suspicious and being underwritten by someone, thereby undermining… his own cover?!? This particular plot doesn’t make much sense to me. First off all, Danvers is the security chief and she’s outsourcing her job to the local superhero. Is she really unable to find Lawson’s residence and investigate it on her own? That’s what you get when you give a dame a man’s job! Secondly, since Lawson is Mar-vell’s human disguise, why the hell would he fuel for her suspicions? In any case, Mar-vell throws himself under the bus, and Carol appreciates it so much that she wraps her arms around him and kisses him. Naturally, Una and Yon-rogg are watching from above. Yonny gets in a good zinger: “Apparently Mar-vell, who is assigned to learn all of Earth’s culture, has chosen to investigate their romantic customs!”

Back at the base, “Dr. Lawson” is feeding the computer cards lifted from the secret lab into the Cape’s computers. By examining the instructions, he discovers that the real doctor set his robot assassin to hunt down and kill… himself! As a test run, you see. Makes perfect sense. In a shocking coincidence, the robot has, at that exact same moment, just found the plane crash site where Dr. Lawson died. As it tears apart the wreckage, looking for clues, it vows to destroy its creator. And before you know it, it’s at the base! The robot is a greyish-blue color, with a pseudo-Kirby design – the body actually reminds me a lot of the Kree Sentry. As it deals with the guards at the gate, Mar-vell just happens to be driving by in Chester’s cab. When the cabbie mentions Lawson’s name, the robot hears it, and Mar-vell runs away to perform a costume switch (from where I don’t know – he’s not carrying it and it seems doubtful he has it stashed near the base entrance).

captmarvel-10-gCaptain Marvel flies out of the foliage, blasting at the robot with his trusty u-beam. The thing grabs the Kree in both of its giant hands, Mar-vell tries to blind it but fails, it throws him but he uses his rocket boots to halt his descent, then he picks the machine apart with blast after blast. It’s a pretty boring battle. The robot falls, Carol Danvers (a latecomer to the scene) breathlessly thanks the Captain, and up in space, Medic Una fears the loss of her lover. Meanwhile, the robot initiates its self-repair mechanisms.

Co-incidences abound here. The Organization goons come to Lawson’s home as soon as Mar-vell checks it out. Lawson’s robot assassin finally tracks “Lawson” down just after Mar-vell finds out about it. I suppose no one noticed a 20-foot tall silver robot stomping around central Florida all this time?

Next: the Aakon return, and they’re vengeful! Watch out, Mar-vell!

  1. The density of coincidences seems a tad high to me.

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  1. Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 9 | Daddy DM

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