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Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 12

May 3, 2017

Captain Marvel #10 (cover date February ’69)

“Die, Traitor!” by Arnold Drake (w), Don Heck (p), and Vince Colletta (i).

The scene: the Florida everglades, with nary a mountain or a canyon to be seen. Captain Mar-vell of the Kree stands before a swampy-looking tree, his hands behind his back. In the foreground, a Kree firing squad prepares to execute the Captain… oh, is it Tuesday again? We’ve gone a whole three issues without an attempt on Mar-vell’s life by his comrades-in-arms.

And then we flash back to the end of last issue. Carol Danvers does kiss Mar-vell, and Colonel Yon-rogg and Medic Una do bear witness to the event. Una puts on a brave front in front of Yonny, but inside she believes that Mar-vell has betrayed her.

Mar-vell flies back to the ship, as the battle with Cyberex and the Aakon has torn up his suit and he needs a replacement. Oh, and more of his air supply. Hey, remember that? Alas, gone are the days when we would read about Mar-vell sneaking down to the hotel bathroom to dilute his breathing potion with water.

Ronan the Accuser (who is yellow/gold colored for some reason) calls the ship while Mar-vell is aboard. After reviewing Mar-vell’s recent reports, the Kree Supreme Council wants to know more about Number One and the Organization. Based on the Organization’s bankrolling Lawson for millions in order to produce a giant robot, the Kree believe that “this group possesses power equal to good-sized nation!” Their hope is that they can use the Organization against the other Earth powers when it’s time for the Kree to make their move. It’s a clever idea – identify powerful criminal groups that can be turned into unwitting traitors.

As Mar-vell leaves, he runs into Una, who gives him the cold shoulder. Yon-rogg is ecstatic! Finally, Mar-vell has no allies left on the ship, which apparently is key to Yonny’s plans. Didn’t you give up on trying to engineer Mar-vell’s demise a few issues ago, Yonny? Some people never learn!

captmarvel-12-aOver at the Organization’s HQ, #1 is haranguing the goons who have failed to find Dr. Lawson. Since the penalty for failure is death – why do people join these groups, anyway?!? – one of them gets shot with the eon-ray! This invention of Dr. Lawson ages the target by 10 years per second, and the unfortunate test subject turns into an old man, and then to dust. Damn. Lawson was a straight-up evil mad scientist.

captmarvel-12-bOver by the Cape, Carol Danvers has invited Dr. Lawson for a drive in her pink car. She wants answers about the giant robot that busted up his hotel room and house. He claims he has no idea who could have been smart enough to invent such a contraption. But their argument is interrupted by some blue jumpsuit-wearing goons in another car – it’s the Organization! They shoot at Carol’s automobile with the eon-ray, and Mar-vell pulls them both out of the vehicle just in time. The car is reduced to a rusting heap of junk, and a nearby bird is turned into a pterodactyl.

Yep.

Carol tries to run, but somehow falls backwards and hits her head on a tree, conveniently knocking herself out so that Mar-vell can change into Captain Marvel! The art looks like maybe she fainted, but then they added the tree in afterwards? And then the text says that she tripped, but there’s nothing on the ground for her to trip on, and anyway, who trips backwards when trying to run forwards? Anyway, Marvel fights the dinosaur while the jumpsuits grab Carol. Eventually our man of the Kree is forced to snap the beast’s neck, but when he returns to get Danvers he finds a note instead. The Organization wants Lawson to surrender, or they will kill the woman. Mar-vell decides to go along with their demand, but as Captain Marvel, not Dr. Lawson.

Captain Marvel is brought before Number One, and proposes an alliance. Carol, who is being kept prisoner in the same room, can’t believe her ears. She and Marvel get into an argument, during which Marvel plants a knockout gas capsule in her hand. He whispers to her that she can use it to escape when she’s alone with her guards, and they take her away.

As #1 and Marvel discuss how he can be of use to the Organization, a guard comes running with news of Carol’s escape. Since she had been thoroughly searched (and why didn’t they search and disarm Marvel?), that must mean… Marvel tricked them! #1 escapes on a hidden elevator platform, while a mob of goons with guns swarm around our man of the Kree. He evades the gunshots and gets in close enough that his opponents are forced to combat him in hand-to-hand, where the Kree has a decided advantage. However, #1 appears behind Mar-vell, and shoots him with the eon-ray!

As the Kree ages at an unbelievable rate, he takes note of what is happening to his body. “Skin shriveling – body drying out – muscles atrophying! Starting to gasp for each breath like a septuagenarian! Gums receding – pulse growing feeble – limbs trembling now!” One of the mooks watching this remarks, “That’s what you call collecting your social security the hard way!” And #1 triumphantly rants while the sands of time run out on Mar-vell.

captmarvel-12-cIn a last desperate bid for survival, the Captain lunges at #1, grabs the eon-ray, hobbles off, reverses its controls, and shoots himself with it before anyone can act. Given his advanced age, that’s quite the feat! While all the bad guys just stand around wondering where the geriatric hero went, Mar-vell runs away, where he apparently encounters Carol Danvers because she shows up in the next panel. When #1 and the guards finally pursue, they run into a rejuvenated Marvel, who gives them a taste of their own medicine! #1 and the goons are sentenced to death by eon-ray, but it’s a death that we don’t get to see, because “stray eon-rays have aged the very walls! The structure is starting to fall in upon us!” The Captain grabs Ms. Danvers and flies away as the building collapses.

Up on the Kree ship, Yon-rogg watches all of this take place, and feels like he now has incontrovertible proof that Mar-vell disobeyed orders. Una overhears Yonny’s call to Ronan, informing the Accuser that Mar-vell is going to be executed. Despite her broken heart, she still loves Mar-vell, and flies from the ship with the intention of warning him. Elsewhere on the vessel, the crew has misgivings about executing a hero like Mar-vell, but Yon-rogg quashes the dissent. captmarvel-12-dThe firing squad pilot a shuttle to the Earth’s surface, and they run into Una along the way. They figure she’s going to warn Mar-vell, and knock her out with a “controlled blast.”

Una comes to in time to find the scene from the issue’s opening. The lieutenant in charge of the squad apologizes to Mar-vell, but he tells them to get on with it. And so the lieutenant gives the order to fire as an off-panel Una yells for them to stop.

Next: the end?

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2 Comments
  1. That’s … not the least coherent story they’ve put out yet.

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  1. Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 11 | Daddy DM

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