Issue(s): Avengers #347
Quasar, who was chasing the bomb, has managed to survive. He locates the team of Avengers that went into Kree space (minus Captain America), but they seem to be dead.
He is found by Thor, and it turns out that the Shi'ar team of Avengers is all ok despite the fact that they were also chasing after the bomb.
The surviving Avengers also locate Wonder Man and the Vision.
And it turns out that they are alive. Although you'll notice that the Negative Zone energy has mixed with Wonder Man's ionic energy and causes a "mutagenetic response".
It also turns out that the rest of the Avengers are really alive, too. Starfox figures out that Sersi is using an old Eternals trick.
The Avengers then decide to go get Captain America, who they left on Hala. He's currently being revived by Deathbird, and the Supreme Intelligence shows up to reveal that the Nega-Bomb detonation was his plan all along.
We've seen before that the Supreme Intelligence is very upset with the fact that the Kree have reached a genetic dead end and no longer evolve. So he's been manipulating things so that the 98% of the Kree population would get wiped out. The survivors will now be able to evolve.
Captain America tells Deathbird to not bother attacking the Supreme Intelligence. "Leave him to his conscience... if he has one". But when the other Avengers show up and learn about the Supreme Intelligence's scheme, they're not so sanguine. Neither is Captain Atlas, who is mad at Doctor Minerva, who it turns out knew all along. Atlas teleports away angrily, but Minerva jumps with him at the last minute (as Michael notes in the comments, the Avengers think that they're disintegrating, but it sure looks like teleportation to me and that's what it turns out to be).
With the Kree gone, the Avengers debate the merits of killing the Supreme Intelligence.
On the "kill" side, there's really two arguments. The first is simply that what the Supreme Intelligence did is evil, and since there's no way to bring him to justice, he needs to be killed. The group's name is "Avengers" after all. The second argument is that the Supreme Intelligence isn't alive in the first place; he's just a robot.
Iron Man once again pulls rank, claiming that because he's a founding member of the Avengers he gets to make the call. About half the Avengers disagree, but not to the point where they'll fight the other side to stop them.
I think the breakdown on the kill decision makes sense. Wonder Man is the biggest question mark in my mind, but he just got through trying to stop the Vision from letting the bomb go off and now he's just angry. Thor is probably the most complex, but Tom DeFalco did explicitly show that he is more violent than the real Thor AND he's the one that shows the most doubt about all of this; he's relying heavily on the fact that the Supreme Intelligence is an artificial construct, not a real life. None of the characters on the "don't kill" side surprise me. I might have expected Hawkeye to be more vocal or even get physical in trying to stop the others (since he felt very strongly about this when he was leader of the West Coast team), but i kind of like the "manoman" line, as if he's too shellshocked to react.
I'm going to skip over the part where the Intelligence creates constructs of archenemies for the Avengers to fight. The constructs are defeated suspiciously easy, but other than the Vision, the Avengers are not too concerned about that.
They fight their way to the Supreme Intelligence's core, and discover an organic opponent. This gives Thor some doubt, since now it can't be argued that the Intelligence is just a computer. But they press on, and the Black Knight stabs the vat of organic matter with his new sword.
Soon after that, Empress Lilandra arrives, saying that what's left of the Kree empire is now under her domain.
Deathbird is made a vice-roy, and put in charge of the Kree.
It is worth noting that the Avengers could therefore have turned the decision regarding the Supreme Intelligence over to the Shi'ar. It's not like it was either let him live or let him run free (so to speak).
Speaking of the Supreme Intelligence running free, at the very end we see a Skrull and another alien receiving a data package.
I mentioned in an earlier chapter that the reason for the involvement of the Skrulls wasn't clearly spelled out. The inclusion of a Skrull here lends weight to the idea that the Supreme Intelligence had Skrulls working for him in some way, but it's still not explicit, especially since this Skrull seems to be working with some other kind of alien mercenary and not his people. The Intelligence also didn't mention the Skrulls when he was revealing his plans to Captain America and Deathbird, but that may be specifically because he didn't want them to know about the Skrull agent(s?) that were going to retrieve him here.
I've said before that as a writer, Mark Gruenwald makes a good editor, and i think that's true for most if not all of the writers that were involved in this storyline. The plot outline is very good. Some very memorable moments and good ideas. The Supreme Intelligence's goal makes a lot of sense, and it demonstrates his ruthlessness and his ability to execute a scheme. The moral dilemma that the Avengers face in this issue is a great way to bring out conflict between the various Avengers, and the larger schism between Captain America and Iron Man is a great idea. And there are good fights along the way and it works well as a fun action story until we get to the more serious bits. I also think the event is very well coordinated. Aside from the one reversal on the part of Lilandra, which we could chalk up to a behind-the-scenes change of opinion thanks to the Araki impostor if we wanted to, the story flows from book to book without bumps. What keeps this from going from good to great is the fact that it is written mostly by people that would be better off working as editors. The dialogue is stiff. The development of the Cap/Iron Man schism is ham handed, and so is the foreshadowing of the killing dilemma. Sometimes it feels like issues are dragged out too much, like when the Avengers were wandering Hala more or less aimlessly (and then there's the Cap anniversary issue and the pointless fight between Wonder Man and the Vision). Personally i think it would have been nicer to see the negotiations in more detail, and working better, especially on the Shi'ar side (instead of getting interrupted by ridiculous emotional outbursts by Thor, for example). This story is, in my opinion, vastly superior to the big annual events (High Evolutionary, Atlantis Attacks), and it's more focused and has a much more satisfying ending than the original Kree-Skrull War. So it's good. But i think it could have been amazing if it were executed by real writers instead of editors posting as writers. It's also worth noting that aside from the art on these Avengers issues (the Epting/Palmer pairing usually works well, although you'll find a close-up on Starfox in one of the panels above where he's looking pretty scary), the art teams have generally been pretty weak and even beyond that we saw some fill-in artists and extra help being brought in.
Overall it's not a bad event at all. Definitely a noteworthy moment for the Avengers.
I admit that i'm speaking as someone that bought all these issues as back issues and was going to read everything that Marvel put out in 1992 regardless of whether or not it was part of a crossover. I suspect that for some, having to collect a 19+ part crossover across seven titles in realtime might have felt like a burden, especially with Infinity War coming right behind it.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part nineteen of Operation: Galactic Storm, the final chapter. There is an "After the Storm" story in Captain America #401 and an "Aftermath" in Quasar #35; they both take place at the same time. The MCP give Immortus a behind-the-scenes appearance for this issue because it will be retconned that he's influencing Iron Man.
The old Shi'ar standing behind Lilandra who looks a heck of a lot like Araki will be said in a later Marvel index to be Aroke. That feels like the sort of thing that happens when a character is supposed to be dead is included in the art. It's worth remembering that the real Araki was seemingly killed in Uncanny X-Men #157. The one that's been appearing in Galactic Storm was a Skrull imposter. But since no one thought it was weird that Araki was around, the real Araki must be alive at this point, so i don't know why this couldn't have just been Araki again. Later stories will have revelations about Araki having cloned bodies, which may be the reason. It's a little unclear to me if future appearances prior to the clone revelation should be Araki or Aroke, but i've listed Aroke as a character appearing here.
Crossover: Operation Galactic Storm
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (16): show
"Good idea, but..." kind of typifies the Marvel crossover going back to SW2. Some exceptions but, for the most part, I think they're mostly like that. Soon it'll get to the point where we can't even say the good idea part. Anyway I never cared much for the story or its contrived moral dilemma. I always wondered why they didn't just let the Shi'ar handle the Supreme Intelligence, too. But then we couldn't get bloodthirsty "ready for the 90s" Avengers. I'm surprised Dane didn't start carrying a gat and hanging out with Punisher.
Posted by: Robert | February 1, 2016 6:05 PM
"I suspect that for some, having to collect a 19+ part crossover across seven titles in realtime might have felt like a burden, especially with Infinity War coming right behind it."
Posted by: clyde | February 1, 2016 6:49 PM
"The Supreme Intelligence's goal makes a lot of sense..."
If you can get behind the idea of the Kree having lost the ability to evolve. Which just, ugh.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | February 1, 2016 10:30 PM
It's not clear how Starfox manages to restore the "dead" Avengers to life. It reads like Harras thought Starfox had molecular transformation powers like Sersi.
Posted by: Michael | February 1, 2016 10:51 PM
"If you can get behind the idea of the Kree having lost the ability to evolve. Which just, ugh"- But that's not this story's fault. They'd been unable to evolve for two decades now.
Posted by: Michael | February 1, 2016 10:52 PM
Don Hudson inks the mutagenic Wonder Man panels.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | February 1, 2016 11:00 PM
If they wanted the conclusion of this story to mean anything, to have any weight, they should have actually killed off the Supreme Intelligence. I felt (reading it in real time) that by revealing he survived the "ordeal" kicked the legs out from under the story. A group of Avengers killing someone who didn't really die? That turns into a group of Avengers who didn't agree with Captain America. Why should we care about that?
That being said, the sides chosen do make sense (except for Wonder Man, since he was always shown to be anti-killing), so I do like that. Hawkeye, Captain Marvel and Quasar would most definitely have Cap's back. I do wonder what the real Thor would have thought if he were around in this event. Whose side would he have chosen? Come to think of it, he was also spared from choosing between his two friends in the Civil War too!
Posted by: Bill | February 2, 2016 12:06 AM
Bill, this is pretty much where Wonder Man STARTS to be pro-killing.
Posted by: Michael | February 2, 2016 12:09 AM
another thing they could have played up that I am surprised did not come up is- is it really The Avenger's place or call to execute the Supreme Intelligence for killing another race? Morally I suppose it is but aren't The Avengers aware that there could be possible fallout for their own planet by getting that involved with intergalactic affairs and laws? That's a plot point they coulda played up... just the published writer in me thinkin' too hard I guess!
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity, Actor, Celeb Spokesman, Author, Food Critic, Comics CEO | February 2, 2016 4:11 AM
Fnord, in the text you say that 80% of all Kree died in the Nega-Bomb explosion, but in the scan below it the Supreme Intelligence clearly states that 98% of them died.
Posted by: Tuomas | February 2, 2016 4:54 AM
TBH, I find it pretty ridiculous that the Avengers would even consider that the Supreme Intelligence is just a computer, and that he doesn't "meet the criteria for artificial life". In this issue alone, we see him gloating over his victory, and in general acting more "human" than, say, The Vision, who the Avengers have always considered to be a sentient being. So if the Avengers are against coldly executing any sentient life form, this should include the SI as well.
And Brimstone is right that the question of jurisdiction should also have been brought up. If the Avengers have never even considered of, for example, going to Latveria and executing Dr. Doom, then executing the leader of an alien empire should be equally questionable. It would make much more sense for the Avengers to tell the truth to the remaining Kree, and let them decide what to do with the SI.
As for the rather arbitrary way some of the Avengers become pro-killing, didn't Busiek retcon it in Avengers Forever that Immortus was manipulating them behind the scenes? Or maybe the manipulation was just limited to making Iron Man more bloodthirsty? It's been a while since I read AF, so I can't remember... But it certainly seems Busiek too was disturbed by the sudden change of heart seen in this crossover, so he tried to provide some justification for it.
Posted by: Tuomas | February 2, 2016 5:09 AM
Updated the number, thanks Tuomas.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 2, 2016 7:28 AM
@Tuomas- I think the Avengers convincing themselves the Intelligence wasn't sentient was just an attempt to make themselves geel less guilty.
Posted by: Michael | February 2, 2016 7:51 AM
Well, I really like the story mostly because of the end of the crossover and the moral debate and it not being a cop-out. But I guess that's just me.
Posted by: AF | February 2, 2016 8:05 AM
I forgot all about the reference to this story in Avengers Forever! It was revealed that Immortus had been boosting Iron Man's paranoia here, knowing he would have the "authority" to convince others to execute the Supreme Intelligence. If memory serves, the ultimate goal of Immortus was to keep the Avengers out of space politics and stuck on Earth. This event would serve to keep the Avengers tensions high and squabbling back at home and not establishing a presence in the Kree empire or something like that.
It was all essentially a long game of stalling the Avengers until the arrival of Onslaught.
Posted by: Bill | February 2, 2016 10:38 AM
Regarding the killing of the Supreme Intelligence, maybe it's just me but I've always thought that the Supremor himself was behind it. After all, he already had his escape plan in place and he probably didn't want to hang around and allow the Shi'ar to deal with him so he faked his death and used the Avengers as pawns to do so. The fact that his defensive constructs were suspiciously easy to defeat is one clue and the reference to how he had been able to manipulate various Shi'ar into creating the Nega-Bomb was another. To me, the Supreme Intelligence was always his own killer and he subconsciously influenced the Avengers into being the weapon he used to pull it off.
As for the question of whether the Avengers had any right to get involved in an alien race's business as they did, well, that's just typical human behavior. That whole upcoming Maximum Security storyline dealt with how human "heroes" had been going around the universe, meddling in other races' affairs, and generally imposing their own standards on those of other, alien cultures. It is, of course, an incredibly arrogant attitude for anyone to have but I guess that running around in a brightly-coloured costume "righting wrongs" does requires a heightened sense of one's own fitness to judge others. Plus, it's a lot easier to deal with situations that occur "out there" in deep space than it is to fix similar problems that are "back home" on Earth. I remember that Peter David did a Captain Marvel story in which Rick Jones was outraged when he learned that Kree females were routinely subjected to some process that inhibited them and Genis-Vell pointed out, quite rightly, that some cultures on Earth treat their women in a similar fashion and he didn't see Rick getting upset about that or doing anything to stop it.
Finally, as to whether the Supreme Intelligence was alive enough to be killed, while there is a tendency to regard inorganic beings as more disposable than biological entities, another important factor is the sentience of the individual in question. "Heroes" can go around smashing non-sentient robots with impunity but they generally hold back when the mechanoid is sentient because that's too much like they would be "killing" something. And in this case, although he was an evil alien computer system, the Supreme Intelligence definitely was sentient.
Posted by: Don Campbell | February 2, 2016 11:28 AM
I think the central dilemma is a good one ("do we kill?"), but the context comes off as too...stilted for me. As everyone has pointed out, it's not like they're suggesting the SI should get a medal and get off scot free; the Shi'ar might in fact put him on trial and kill him anyway, or the Kree survivors (surely Cap wouldn't have an issue with that). Why doesn't Cap and the others just suggest that they wait and see what happens?
The decisions as to who kills and who doesn't all seem fine to me, even not knowing future revelations. I didn't quite peg Dane as that bloodthirsty, and I thought Starfox might join his fellow Eternal, but those are the only ones that gave me pause.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | February 2, 2016 5:07 PM
This. All of this. This begins the modern comic era as we know it and plants the seeds for the decline of Marvel both as a profitable publishing entity and as a cohesive fan universe.
Posted by: Brian Carey | February 2, 2016 6:59 PM
Don, it depends on what you mean by the Supreme Intelligence was behind the Avengers' attempt to kill him. I don't think anyone's disputing that the Supreme Intelligence wanted the Avengers to try to kill him. But I don't think that means that he mind controlled the Avengers to do it. Rather, he was aware of their human weaknesses and knew that several of them would try to kill him if he killed all those people. The Supreme Intelligence says in issue 346 that Crystal's mind was the clearest to him because the Kree created the Inhumans. So if there was mind control, one would think Crystal would be the most susceptible but she was opposed to the Avengers' attempt to kill the Intelligence.
Posted by: Michael | February 2, 2016 8:12 PM
There is something very modern about Operation Galactic Storm, with its politics, moral dilemma, heroes versus heroes moments and ending that seems designed to set up a new status quo. All the previous crossovers mostly just involved a big threat for the heroes to punch and have much more neat endings, with maybe some wrapping up of longstanding plotlines or some existential pondering in between.
Or maybe I just get that idea because it's wedged between two installments of the Infinity trilogy. Those stories really feel like a callback to the Thanos War, whereas Galatic Storm, despite being a callback to the Kree-Skrull War, feels much more akin to something like Civil War.
Posted by: Berend | February 2, 2016 9:00 PM
I don't think Lilandra has any more reasonable authority here than the Avengers do. What is the rationale? "My species built the bomb that just killed billions of Kree, so obviously I'm ethically the one who should decide whether or not to execute specific surviving Kree. Never mind that I decided not to use the bomb, that it was activated by non-Shi'ar, and that the only reason I had it built in the first place was because I was being manipulated by the Kree leader."
It's not out of character for Lilandra to think that way - I wouldn't be surprised by her claiming authority over anyone and anything for the most spurious reasons - but it would be out of character for the Avengers to just pass the buck. They should make the decision and then fight to back it.
The only thing I see wrong about what happened (not in terms of characterization, but of how a stable Avengers team should function) was that there was a schism about the decision.
Posted by: Mortificator | February 2, 2016 9:10 PM
"Atlas teleports away angrily, but Minerva jumps with him at the last minute"- it will eventually turn out they teleported away but the Avengers think they killed themselves.
Posted by: Michael | February 4, 2016 8:20 AM
Harras writes Sersi and Starfox as if they knew each other when young. Did he forget that they hadn't met before Avengers #246?
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 28, 2016 1:33 PM
He likely did forget that detail...but it could be excused away as it just being a reference to games that *all* Eternals play as children, rather than specifically referencing a shared childhood experience.
Posted by: Dermie | February 28, 2016 2:47 PM
"I'm the only original Avenger present…and I'm pulling rank, Cap." Dude, shut up.
1. You were an "original Avenger" for all of three issues before Cap joined. I think he's earned his way of the kids' table by now.
2. You know damn well that if Hank and Jan hadn't been conveniently left behind on the Earth team, you'd be outvoted, 2-1. Let Cap cast their proxies.
3. What are Clint and Wanda? Chopped liver?
Of the eight Avengers who put the team on its feet early on, made it what it is (not counting the cameo memberships of the Hulk, Wonder Man, and the Swordsman [a total 4 issues between the 3 of them]), two are unavailable, and Tony is outvoted 5-1 among the remaining six. Insufferable that he's "pulling rank" here. Grrr.
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 22, 2016 2:07 AM
Also, Dan, I think Cap has been retroactively granted "founder" status (confirmed in Busiek's run) so Iron Man's "pulling rank" speech is basically a bunch of bull (unfortunately not out of character for Iron Man, though. In fact I think at least half of the Avengers crossovers go something like this.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | December 25, 2016 1:53 AM
I wonder if this, plus being part of the gritty 90s Avengers is the reason Dane seems to have been dropped from Avengers since the end of jackets era. Or maybe it was that awful jacket.
Posted by: OrangeDuke | January 8, 2018 12:30 AM
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