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Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 13

May 10, 2017

Captain Marvel #11 (cover date March ’69)

“Rebirth!” by Arnold Drake (w), Dick Ayers (p), and Vince Colletta (i). We have a new artist, and it’s not good. It seems Dick Ayers is mainly known for being a longtime inker of Jack Kirby during the 60’s. I would have thought some of Kirby’s storytelling talent would have rubbed off on Ayers during that time, but if so it’s not evident here.

Strap yourselves in! This title apparently hasn’t been doing too well, because it’s about to go in some weird directions.

When we last left our hero, he was about to be executed by his own people. But before the firing squad can shoot, the entire squad is obliterated by a huge “ray barrage” from the sky! captmarvel-13-aWho saved Mar-vell from certain death, and why? Medic Una points up to a fleet of manned sky-sleds that are swooping down on them! “The Aakon – mortal enemies of the Kree people!” exclaims Mar-vell, despite the fact that the ships are clearly being piloted by goons in blue jumpsuits – the Organization’s mooks. Oops, major art fail.

“It is you they truly seek to destroy, Mar-vell!” helpfully notes Una. Well, why did they shoot the guys that were about to shoot him them? Why not let them do the deed or, you know, just shoot Mar-vell? Anyway, the Captain evades their blaster fire, grabs two fallen rifles that curiously were not destroyed by the ray barrage, and starts firing back at the Aakon, a rifle in each hand. As he systematically shoots down his attackers, he ponders the meaning of war: “Must it ever be thus, on every inhabited world – among all beings of intelligence? Will there never come a time when life will be valued above ego – justice and right above power? To join with other beings in the building of a fitter universe – I must first survive! Or is this the rationale which all fighting men have used from the beginning of time – to hide the blood on their hands from their own eyes?” Heavy stuff. Also completely out of left field, but hey.

Colonel Yon-rogg sees the battle taking place on the Earth below, and arrives with more Kree soldiers to beat back the Aakon, even though by doing so he may be saving Mar-vell’s life. The guy is still sentenced to death, is he not? A full-scale battle erupts in the Everglades, and Una is felled by a stray shot.

Mar-vell runs to Una’s side, but before he can ascertain the seriousness of her injuries, he is confronted by Yon-rogg. Mar-vell leaps to attack the man that has created this situation, and the two slug it out over Una’s still form. But when Una stirs, Mar-vell abandons the fight in order to fly her to safety. Yon-rog orders his men to shoot Mar-vell down, offering 10,000 kredits from his own wallet to whomever takes the Captain out!

Apparently the Kree soldiers fail to hit Mar-vell, or don’t follow the order, because the Captain reaches the Cape without apparent incident. The base just happens to be readying the launch of a moon rocket, and Mar-vell thinks that if he steals the missile, they could escape to the freedom of space. There’s not a lot of medical care up there on the moon, is there? Or food? Or air? This doesn’t seem like a very workable plan, Mar-vell. Nevertheless, he hijacks the rocketship and blasts off as Carol Danvers and the General look on in disbelief.

captmarvel-13-bSo it seems the vessel has medical equipment on board after all, meant for “Earth’s first lunar-nauts.” Fun fact: the moon landing was in July 1969, so several months off when this issue was written. Mar-vell stands by, helpless, as Una’s heartbeat slows and then finally stops. Mar-vell lands the rocket (how?) on an “uncharted asteroid that lies not far from the planet Mars” and uses his u-beam to carve a sarcophagus for Una out of the rock. “There shall she lie – her perfect form protected by the near-vacuum of space – for all to see! And then shall they know the complete and exquisite love that once was ours! Camelot alone could match its majesty – and nothing equal its permanence! Farewell – beloved!” Man, if only we had actually seen any of that on the actual page. After saying his good-byes, Mar-vell launches the rocket back into space (how?).

Unbeknownst to the Captain, his Colonel has been out looking for him in the Kree spacecraft. The Earthling’s rocketship is no match for the Kree vessel, and Yonny ensares Mar-vell’s ship with a magnetic ray. Then the Colonel whips his ship in a circle and releases the rocket, flinging it off into space like a stone from a slingshot. “So this is the end that Yon-rogg planned for me!” reflects Mar-vell after 63 days of hurtling through the void. “Wandering through space at speeds too fast for Earth instruments to even record, or the power of feeble Earth rockets to overcome!” Mar-vell notes that he has food and water for 90 more days. And how about that Kree air supply? Seems to me you should have run out of it by now…

“I can no longer trust my own judgement!” he further says to himself. “I have begun to imagine things – to see the planets as mere floating toys, the very stars as a child’s marbles!” He also has visions of Una, who runs from him, and his dead parents. Apparently they perished “in father’s first experiment in surpassing the speed of light! The same speeds that are carrying me to relentless death!” Interestingly, this would imply that the Kree were not capable of traveling faster than light until after Mar-vell was born. Makes you wonder how they ended up on Earth in the distant past to create the Inhumans.

captmarvel-13-cThen we enter the LSD quadrant of space. Mar-vell sees “brilliant colors and designs,” which is followed by “only darkness – and unfathomable evil!” Strange, monstrous beings appear around the rocket, and somehow speak to him: “Turn back, Captain of disaster! Do not cross the Forbidden Belt!” The twisted, tentacle beings warn of a being who has the power to condemn them to “eternal pain!” Mar-vell wonders of whom the monsters speak, but then concludes that all of this is the result of his Space Madness.

On Day 112, the rocketship is being pulled toward a planet smaller than Earth. This makes no sense to the Kree, for such a small body would not be able to exert enough gravitational pull to alter his ship’s trajectory, given its great speed. He also worries that the ship is in no shape to survive re-entry. And his fears appear to be justified, for as the rocket enters the atmosphere, is begins to burn up! But then, a strange ray shoots up from the planet’s surface, stabilizes the spacecraft, and brings it gently down to the ground.

Captain Mar-vell exits the ship to find himself on a world enveloped in mist and fog. He stumbles about, wondering why he even goes on, before finally laying down in defeat. But then, the mist thins out, and our man of the Kree feels rejuvenated. As he looks up, he sees a group of beautiful human-looking women wearing dresses, and carrying food and drink. One asks him, “You wonder… what great fortune brought you here, eh?” Mar-vell replies that he places “no special significance upon the accidents of life!”

“You think your coming an accident?” replies the woman, incredulously. “How sad, Captain, that even great Kree science – is unable to fathom more than half the truth of our universe! But, if you do not fear having the veil lifted from your eyes – follow, Captain… follow!” Giant golden doors appear before Mar-vell. The women walk away into the mist, and the one says before she departs, “And behind that gate lies all wisdom – and all life! But this you must face alone – good-bye, Captain!” The women are gone, and the doors open on their own, with nary a whisper.


captmarvel-13-dBeyond the door is a strange, alien-looking obelisk, which speaks. “Hear me, Mar-vell! Attend to the voice of Zo! You were brought here not by near-disaster alone – but by infinite wisdom and planning!” Mar-vell questions whether Zo means to say that it caused Una’s death and all of his recent suffering, to which Zo replies that it moves in mysterious ways. Mar-vell then questions the wisdom of bring a broken man such as himself all this way, for he is now without purpose in life, but Zo points out that he does have a purpose – revenge!

Mar-vell agrees to serve Zo in exchange for the power to defeat Yon-rogg, but he notes that the unremovable monitor upon his wrist gives the Colonel power over him. But then his body is “bathed in a brilliance, bright as a super-nova… followed by a flaming, searing ray that brings bone-deep pain!” When the power-up ends, the man of the Kree is disappointed – the wrist monitor is still there. “What you just endured was not meant to destroy the monitor,” chides Zo, “But to give you the power to do that yourself!”

The monitor is made of Daxilium, the strongest alloy that the Kree know of. But by concentrating really hard, Mar-vell shatters the device. “I – SHALL – BE – FREE!” Zo explains that it has also taken away Mar-vell’s uni-beam, for “you have no further need of it!” The cosmic being continues, “Now you know the full dimension of your power – but of only one such power! For you have many Mar-vell! You must begin to learn how to use them all!”

captmarvel-13-eBut wait – there’s more! Captain Mar-vell has a new uniform that looks only slightly different than his old one. The soldier asks why, considering that his old uniform could withstand re-entry. Zo replies that the new one can also withstand the “incredible stresses wrought by – teleportation!” Mar-vell then explores his new powers: he can “teleport [himself] at a speed faster than that of light!” Although the picture shows him flying. And speed isn’t really a thing with teleportation, one would assume. So I’m guessing that the writer meant something else, or the artist got confused, or both. Mar-vell also has great(er) strength, and can also project “fearsome illusions.” Random power is random.

Before the issue ends, Zo reminds Mar-vell that after he kills Yon-rogg, “Your life and strength belongs to Zo!” Mar-vell is cool with that. Once Yonny is gone, he will no longer have any attachments to his old life, and agrees to be Zo’s servant forever and ever.

Finally, the narrator takes us out: “This is indeed a new Mar-vell! [and hopefully one the readers will be more interested in!] A man without emotions – and with limitless power! But even he may not realize the full dread of this pact he has made – a pact that must one day be paid in full!”

Next: revenge, presumably.

  1. Isn’t flying faster than light technically a form of teleportation? Or do we strictly define teleportation as moving from point A to point B without crossing the space in between?

    • I suppose it could be, although “moving” without actually moving is what I think of when I think “teleportation.” And as we will see, that’s how this book defines it, too… after this issue, anyway.

  2. Pinkius permalink

    Well, this all sounds very Silver Surfer-y.
    The last bit with Zo at least.
    Hopefully Zo doesn’t eat planets.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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