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Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 26

January 10, 2018

Avengers #91 (cover date August 1971)

“Take One Giant Step – Backward!” by Roy Thomas (w), Sal Buscema (p & i).

Caveman-Hank Pym is about to crush his wife Janet’s skull with a club when he has a change of heart. Girl pretty, take her home, show to Ma; that sort of thing. Ronan watches this on a view screen and muses about the stay of execution. The brutish Pym undoubtedly just wanted a mate, as “child-bearing has not yet been superceded [sic] by more civilized practices” on this world. I’m starting to get an idea of why the Kree are such monumental assholes… Ronan then goes on to recap his “de-evolution of Earth” plan to Mar-vell and to the readers.

Elsewhere, the Vision, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Rick Jones battle against the Kree Sentry 459 and a mind-controlled Goliath (Clint Barton). Rick tosses rocks at the Sentry’s head, because why not? Though his actions may look futile, he actually manages to create an Asset for Wanda! The rock he throws shatters, and the Witch’s hex turns the fragments into magnetic alloys which encase the Sentry’s head, blinding it!

The Vision reluctantly solidifies his hand inside of Goliath, which causes the giant to pass out. The Sentry breaks free of the rocks, and the Vision tries the same intangible-hand trick with the giant robot. But he used it against the Sentry in their previous battle, and it’s prepared a counter-measure for the attack! The Vision is shocked into unconsciousness! Wanda is distraught at the sight and runs over to check on him, and gets shocked in turn when she touches his android body.

The Sentry creates a ring of fire around it and the fallen Avengers, and a distressed Quicksilver runs away with Rick Jones in tow. After Pietro sulks for a bit, they run across the 3 technicians that staffed the research facility that the Pyms were initially coming to investigate. The techs have been devolved into cavemen, just like Hank – and speak of the devil, caveman-Hank is there too, warning the cavemen-techs away from Janet with a show of aggression. There’s a fight, and Hank wins by virtue of still having some reflexive combat training. The cavemen-techs withdraw. Ronan notes that the Wasp could flee from the cavemen, but she doesn’t because of her love for Hank.

Meanwhile, over at the Kree citadel, Ronan binds his new captives with energy bonds that negate their abilities. The Vision and Wanda are hanging next to each other, and exchange their concern for one another before they lean in for a kiss. However, the android pulls away at the last moment, for he is a synthetic being and not worthy of Wanda’s affection. Ronan gets a real kick out of this development: an android and an outcast mutant in love! How novel!

The two separate displays of emotion cause Mar-vell to pipe up. As long as the humans have love, he tells Ronan, the cold, heartless Kree can never truly rest easy. Ronan shrugs. He has some “delicate attachment” for the evo-rays that will further devolve the already-devolved lifeforms until they are nothing more than amoeba. “So, strain all you want, my dear Captain… Aye, cry out loud enough to be heard in the far-off Kree Galaxy itself – mankind is nonetheless doomed – doomed to return to the muck and the mire!” Okay, this is getting a little silly, and I have to wonder: wouldn’t a bomb be so much easier? Or heck, the Supreme Intelligence was going to obliterate Earth from Hala with a “hyperspace bolt” back in Captain Marvel #16. Why not just use that?!?

Outside the tower, Quicksilver grabs a sharp metal stick and does a whirlwind trick to turn the stick into a drill so he can penetrate the outer wall. He then zooms to the command room, where he just barely stops Ronan from shooting Wanda with the super-duper evo-ray. Pietro can’t really hurt anyone, but he makes a nuisance of himself until Ronan orders the Sentry to sweep the room with “arcs of death!” While the mutant speedster dodges, Rick Jones tries to free Mar-vell. But Mar-vell instructs the youth to instead grab his uni-beam (still on his wrist! That’s some seriously lax security, Ronan) and use it to shoot the machinery with a beam of solid light. The citadel, once buried beneath the Earth for millennia, proceeds to re-bury itself. Or self-destruct. I’m not sure which.

Ronan and the Sentry are prepared to go down fighting, but the moment is interrupted by a one-way transmission from the Kree Galaxy! “The Kree Galaxy – is at war! Our space-lanes have once more been invaded – our stellar freighters decimated – by our inter-nebular rivals. The entire Kree Galaxy is under assault from – the Skrulls!” Ronan immediately teleports away – he doesn’t have time for petty vendettas anymore. The Sentry tries to “generate enough power… to hold the citadel together,” even though it knows that it’s a lost cause. “But I may not falter – for I am a Sentry – a Sentry – a Sentryyyyyyy…”

Goliath wakes up and they all skedaddle out of the tower. Outside, the jungle is melting away and the devolved creatures have returned to normal. Those evo-rays aren’t very good if the effects are reversed as soon as you turn the machine off. Bombs, Ronan. Next time bring bombs.

The citadel crashes through the ice, so I guess it was just going back into hibernation. In the aftermath, Hank Pym is convinced that he’s better off as a scientist than a superhero, and officially resigns from the Avengers. “Then – I guess that goes for the Wasp, too,” says Janet, because it’s not like she gets to have her own life or anything.

Next: a bit of a breather!

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2 Comments
  1. 1963. No free will for women, clearly.
    Not even superheroic ones.

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  1. Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 25 | Daddy DM

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