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Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 17

June 14, 2017

Apologies for the small thumbnails here, there were a lot of full-page images I wanted to include. As always, you can click on the images to open the full-size version.

Captain Marvel #15 (cover date August ’69)

“That Zo Might Live… A Galaxy Must Die!” by Gary Friedrich (w), Tom Sutton (p), and Dan Adkins (i). New artist. We’ve gone from monthly to bi-monthly. The credits note that Gary Friedrich also did breakdowns, which is interesting – his Wikipedia page, at least, only credits him as a writer.

Mar-vell stands upon a lifeless asteroid, speaking to a voice in the void – Zo, his mysterious cosmic benefactor. The man of the Kree doubts that this is Zo speaking to him, and so Zo conjures up the entire history of humanity, from the cavemen to nuclear devastation to prove… something?… to Mar-vell, who isn’t even human. The follow-up act is an image of Mar-vell planting a bomb on his homeworld, which devastates the planet. The Captain refuses to do such a thing, but Zo says that it is his fate, and that “the power of Zo… is the power which controls the universe!” Then “the horizon explodes in a blazing inferno of blinding colors and meaningless spheres… floating aimlessly about the ever-pulsating mass of energy which is… Zo,” in another of the full-page trippy space-scapes that appear to be this mag’s current reason for existence.

More trippy-ness ensues. While Zo hurtles Mar-vell through more full-page weirdness, the Kree argues with himself about the nature of Zo – highly advanced species? Supreme being? Why would one so powerful need a mortal’s help? Then the Captain lands in a utopia full of waterfalls and beautiful people. Then he visits a hellish place with demons and the damned. Would such Christian imagery even have meaning to a Kree? Then he’s back where he started. He agrees to do Zo’s bidding, for he is obviously but a gnat next to Zo. The cosmic entity then shows an orbital view of Kree-lar, the “capital of the Kree Galaxy” and most populated Kree world. It is now time for Mar-vell to blow it up.

The Captain balks again. Dude. You just told Zo you would do its bidding! You already knew what its bidding was! Jeez. So Zo conjures up more images. “BEHOLD… TAM-BOR… PAGAIN GOD OF KREE-LAR’S FROZEN WASTELANDS,” the thing narrates, “To the eye, a harmless idol… but in reality… a dread menace which threatens ALL LIFE… ON EVERY PLANET!” Tam-bor doesn’t really look like some primitive idol; it’s a huge Kirby-esque metallic thing with a huge sorta-face that looks like maybe it’s buried halfway in the ground. The idol is the “greatest magnetic storehouse ever devised,” and as it grows in power, it will pull other planets out of their orbit. Mar-vell wonders, if Tam-bor is the problem, why not just destroy it and not the planet? But Zo says that the idol’s power source is the heart of the planet itself. Well, so what, Zo? You’re still home free if you just destroy the idol; the power source can’t do anything on its own, can it? But maybe Zo means that if you blow up the idol, it will cause a chain reaction and blow up the planet as well?

Needless to say, none of this makes much sense to me. But Mar-vell teleports himself to the city of Rad-nam, his birthplace, on Kree-lar. He’s spotted and instantly identified as a fugitive (wouldn’t the Kree think him dead, at best?) and gets in a tussle with an “Accuser Patrol.” He fights them, takes over their flying ship, and sets course for Tam-bor. The lead Accuser is shocked! “You must be mad,” he exclaims, “No Kree has ever gone near it… except those who have become its followers! But, since you are a traitor, perhaps you also worship Tam-bor! If so, let me warn you that you shall never spread your evil cult!”

The officer’s scolding is cut off by the appearance of a giant flying clam! It’s a warship of Tam-bor, and it overtakes and swallows the patrol craft! Warriors in space-armor with rifles surround the ship and inform the Captain that he is now a prisoner of Tam-bor!

Normally I’m a big fan of world-building type stuff, and I believe this is the first time we’re getting a look at what the Kree are really like (or maybe not? I’m not sure). But this is so haphazard that it just feels random. Which sums up the past 4 issues, come to think of it. Go blow up this pagan Kree idol that’s actually a doomsday device, which will also destroy the planet! What does pagan mean to a Kree? Do they have a non-pagan religion? How did the idol come to be? Why is its worship outlawed?

Next: Yet another creative team! What a mess.

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10 Comments
  1. New creative team almost every issue, isn’t it?

    • Yeah, pretty much. A sure sign that the book was floundering, and it doesn’t do any favors to the story (such as it is).

      • I must admit I caught myself wondering if they were specifically trying to reach the stoner demographics. but this was in… ’69 or so, right?

      • Cover says August 69, so it would have come out… earlier that year? I forget exactly how those old comics cover dates worked.

        It could be as you say. I seem to recall from Marvel Comics: The Untold Story that around the late 60’s, the old guard at Marvel started to move away from actively producing the books and some younger creators came in and started trying out new things, experimenting with the form, etc. Part of that was tapping into the 50’s-60’s counter-culture.

      • You, sir, are better informed on these matters than I. Much better.

        Also, I’m going to mark the ‘Stoner Theory’ plausible.

      • Pinkius permalink

        I mean… At least now he’s (sort of) doing what Zo asked of him, and if Yogg went home maybe he’s getting revenge at the same time, who knows. Zo knows, but he’s kinda a jerk.

      • Yonny’s not on Kree-lar, as it turns out, which we will find out in (I think) the next issue. And yeah, you can see that someone is trying to re-assert some direction on the book after the mess of the past few issues.

      • Pinkius permalink

        i guess the codifier for selling yourself to an immortal super being hadn’t come out yet… when was silver surfer released?

      • The Silver Surfer debuted a couple of years earlier, so Zo could very well have started off as a cheap copy of Galactus.

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  1. Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 16 | Daddy DM

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