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Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 30

February 14, 2018

Avengers #95 (cover date January 1972)

“Something Inhuman This Way Comes..!” by Roy Thomas (w), Neal Adams (p), and Tom Palmer (i).

We rewind time to an hour ago, when the fish-Inhuman named Triton pulls himself out of New York Harbor. He is immediately spotted by some dockworkers holding docker’s hooks, who chase after him. Because I know that when I’m hanging around the docks with my dock buddies and we’re playing with our hooks, and we see a fishman in purple underwear running around, our first instinct is to go beat him up. Triton foils their pursuit by knocking over a stack of crates onto their heads, but then he runs into a bunch of soldiers – in NYC? maybe this is the cordon around the Avengers’ mansion? – who shoot at him. He is hit, but he escapes into the sewers, only to emerge in the present time into the middle of the Avengers’ battle with the Mandroids.

And what of that battle? It appears to be going alright for the anti-Avengers side, until Iron Man detaches his “power pods” – the little discs on his hips; I forgot those were a thing – and discharges their stored electricity into the Mandroids. The men piloting the suits are knocked out, much to H. Warren Craddock’s consternation.

With the Mandroids no longer a threat, the assembled troops, tanks, and whatnot are promptly ignored by the Avengers as they stop to have a chat with Triton. It’s rather cool that here is a moment where different elements of the MU meet for the first time – only Thor, and I suppose the FF, have met the Inhumans before at this point in time. These days everyone knows everyone else, and has for ages. Rick Jones hears on the radio just then that the FF are conveniently out of town, so only Thor can vouch for the Inhuman and only the Avengers can help Triton with his quest.

Triton summarizes Amazing Adventures (volume 2) #5-8 *, in which Black Bolt’s “cousin” Maximus (huh, I thought they were brothers) gains mind control powers and uses them to give the Inhuman king amnesia. Triton and a few other loyalists are out searching for Black Bolt, who was in San Francisco when the “mnemonic beam” struck.

* “The Inhumans and the Black Widow – in one mag together – because you demanded it!!” I highly doubt that anyone asked for that particular pairing! Amazing Adventures and Chamber of Darkness (I thought horror titles were dead by 1970?) were Jack Kirby’s original swan song at Marvel before he jumped ship for DC. When Kirby left Amazing Adventures after issue #4, the Inhumans half of the book was picked up by… Roy Thomas and Neal Adams! So really this whole storyline is spun out of two features written by Roy that got cancelled (Capt. Marvel & Inhumans). Incidentally, after the Kirby-less Inhumans feature crashed and burned, the X-Men’s Beast became the star of the title, and that’s where and when he got the (originally grey) fur.

Anyway, Captain America proposes that they travel to California to help find Black Bolt when Vision puts his foot down. Jeez, what’s eating this guy, wonders Iron Man? How about a little interstellar war between the Kree and the Skrull? Remember that?! Do you recall, Iron Man, that the Skrulls kidnapped two Avengers and Captain Marvel?!? Eh, who cares, they’re just mutants and aliens anyway, right? Of course, the Vision cares because he’s in love with Wanda, but the others don’t ever seem too concerned that their companions were Skrull-napped.

Iron Man takes offense to Vision’s suggestion that “the Avengers don’t take care of their own,” even though that’s exactly what happened, and Clint Barton is forced to step in and separate the two. Cap picks Vision to divide the teams – one for space, and one for California – and Vision totally gives his team Thor and Iron Man, leaving Captain America, no-longer-Goliath, and Rick Jones for the Inhuman hunt. He feels a little guilty about grabbing the heavy-hitters for himself, but not too guilty.

As the California team flies away, the SHIELD agents monitoring the Mandroids wake up from their naps and activate the remote controls on the suits. Even though the pilots in the suits are unconscious, the armor can still be operated from afar. Why didn’t you do that when they first got knocked out?!?

Meanwhile in San Francisco, Black Bolt and a young boy named Joey are boxed in by some gangsters with rifles. They just want Black Bolt to assist them in a “lootin’ spree – same as you did them blacks, a while back.” That’s a reference to the previously mentioned Amazing Adventures story, wherein Black Bolt joins up with a Black Power group. The gangsters grab the boy and are about to shoot him when Cap & the others show up and save the day. Black Bolt has already regained his memories, and signs to Triton that they have to return to the Inhumans’ Great Refuge right away. The Avengers volunteer to play taxi, and they’re off. Joey tags along, because having one useless kid on board, i.e. Rick Jones, just isn’t enough.

As they fly across the world, Black Bolt has a flashback to long ago, when he discovered his brother Maximus making a deal with a Kree envoy. The Kree was proposing an alliance: when Maximus had taken the throne from Black Bolt, and Ronan controlled the Kree Galaxy, the two will become allies, and Maximus will rule Earth. Black Bolt rushed into the room, the Kree took off in his craft, and Black Bolt used his voice to bring it down. But the vessel crashed and… kills his and Maximus’ parents. Gotta have that extra layer of tragedy, right?

In the present day, Iron Man, Thor, and Vision disable the remote-controlled Mandroids. The Vision then has a change of heart, and requests that they aid the Inhumans before going into space. Thor creates a portal, and the trio steps through to stand just outside of Attilan. They can’t penetrate its shield, but wait – the other Avengers arrive with Black Bolt! The king yells, the dome shatters, and the forces within prepare to do battle. But ultimately they recognize their rightful ruler and turn against Maximus.

In the royal palace, a man of the Kree is conferring with Maximus when the Avengers bust down the walls! Goliath is still big, so I assume he must not have thrown away all of his serum. Rick gets nabbed by a Kree with a jetpack, who zooms the lad onto a ship and takes off. Meanwhile, Maximus had some sort of breakdown, and is merely standing there paralyzed. The Inhuman city is free!

But what of those kidnapped by the Skrulls? Or the Kree? We see the Supreme Intelligence saying, “The players are all in place. Let the final phase begin!” And as the Avengers pose upon a rocky spire, Captain America proclaims, “We’re coming for you – Kree and Skrull alike! And nothing can stay our hand from vengeance – nothing but death!” Wow, that’s some grim talk from Cap.

Next: Back to the space-war!

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  1. Where I Read: Captain Marvel, Part 29 | Daddy DM

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