Captain Marvel #31-33
Issue(s): Captain Marvel #31, Captain Marvel #32, Captain Marvel #33
Captain Mar-vell returns to the Avengers Mansion with Moondragon to find them fighting with Drax the Destroyer (Iron Man is not currently present).
Marv sorts things out, and then the full roster of the Avengers is summoned. Thanos, unhappy that the Avengers have been brought in, uses the Cosmic Cube to teleport Captain Marvel, Drax, Iron Man, and Moondragon to him. The other Avengers contact Starcore One to see if they can be located, but instead they are alerted to Thanos' warfleet, which is approaching Earth. They leave to attack the fleet, and the details of that encounter are depicted in Avengers #125.
Meanwhile, Thanos reveals to his six prisoners (including the four he teleported in from the Avengers Mansion, he's also got Eros and Mentor) that he's captured Kronos, the godlike father of Mentor.
Using the old switch back into Rick Jones trick, Marv breaks everyone free, but Thanos quickly defeats everyone again.
He then transforms himself into a god, appearing as only a glowing outline of his head, floating in space.
Once again the prisoners break free, and one by one everyone sacrifices themselves so that Captain Marvel can get to ISAAC, the thought being that the computer might have some information on how to defeat Thanos.
The Avengers return from their space battle to find that Thanos has shifted the Earth ahead a moment in time, leaving them out-of-phase with the Earth. What this really means is that they are removed from the battlefield, with the exception of Mantis who is able to shift herself in time enough to communicate with Mar-vell and help him put the knowledge they've gathered together.
Meanwhile Drax repeatedly attacks Thanos and is defeated. It is revealed that he is actually Moondragon's father, killed by Thanos on an early scouting trip and resurrected in soul only by the Titans to defeat Thanos.
While Thanos thought this might drive Drax mad, it just makes him hate Thanos more and he continues his hopeless attacks.
The following clues are laid out: 1) Thanos has an ego and is leaving people alive so that he has an audience for his godhood. 2) Thanos is not really accustomed to godhood, and is dealing with issues one by one instead of all at the same time. 3) Thanos is a god, but has no worshipers. Therefore he must be drawing his power from somewhere else. 4) Thanos' discarding of the empty Cosmic Cube may have been misdirection. He may actually still be drawing his power from the Cube. 5) Captain Marvel's Cosmic Awareness is meant to be able to counter the Cosmic Cube.
In the end, the solution is for Captain Marvel to smash the Cosmic Cube.
At that point everything is restored to normal. Thanos is seemingly killed.
The conclusion to this story is a little weak, and Thanos' inability to actually use his cosmic cube powers in a meaningful way is frustrating, but this is still a good story overall.
Please note that some comments below relate to Carol Danver's appearance in Captain Marvel #34, which i had to split into a separate entry.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Avengers' appearance in Captain Marvel #31-33 taking place during and after Avengers #125. Captain Marvel appears in Daredevil #107 between Captain Marvel #30-31.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: The Life & Death of Captain Marvel TPB
Inbound References (18): show
The Carol Danvers who helped Mar-Vell escape the authorities during the K-as War by taking him to the farm that had been overrun by Skrulls was actually the Super-Skrulls in disguise. The real Carol shows up earlier, in the first or second part of the saga,but doesn't appear on panel with Mar-Vell.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 2, 2012 1:51 AM
To fill in a bit more, there doesn't seem to have been much opportunity for Carol to see Marv at the Cape in Avengers 89, when he's being decontaminated of Negative Zone radiation,, and she only shows up in Avengers 90 right after the Sentry has teleported away with Marv. So it may be correct that she hadn't seen Marv, or had any interaction with him at least, since the Psyche-Magnitron incident.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 2, 2012 1:59 AM
Thanks, Walter. I've put in a correction above and added some notes to the Kree-Skrull War entry.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 2, 2012 10:14 AM
I wonder if K'L'Rt actually knows that Carol is Ms. Marvel/Binary/Warbird/Captain Marvel #5. Be funny if when he was fighting her (say in Marvel Team-Up #62) he recognized her as someone he had previously impersonated.
Granted, he's impersonated plenty of adversaries, but the Avengers #92-93 "Carol" is the only time I remember him transgendering himself.
Posted by: Dan Spector | February 3, 2013 2:38 AM
The Swordsman's French in the first panel translates as "Son of a bitch".
The top panel on #31's page 6 was based on "The Last Supper".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 8, 2013 2:53 PM
Nitro's next battle with Captain Marvel was in a Hostess Twinkie ad.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 8, 2013 4:28 PM
Captain Marvel #33 was, luckily, one of the first comics I ever read, and boy did it make an impression on me, esp. the ending. Space warping! The good captain aging/balding! Thanos's head floating in the sky! And then the iconic karate chop that does in both the Cosmic Cube and (seemingly) Thanos Himself. And after that, no one says anything for two whole pages. There's just a shriek and then Death's laughter. The final words, from the narrator: "And to understand is to choose a life with no simple choices -- the life of Captain Marvel." (I now have the whole series collected in a volume aptly titled "The Life of Captain Marvel.") This was something most unusual, mysterious, and mind-bending.
So I think how good the conclusion is is definitely debatable. For me, it's one of the high points in Starlin's cosmic output -- and it definitely did a lot to turn me on to comics. (Wow, this came out way back in '74 . . .). But you do have to understand those five "clues" outlined above (two 4s there, btw, just noticed) and also the fact that subconsciously Thanos always wants to lose. He worships death, but part of him seems to want to live (he doesn't just commit suicide, at least not in a straightforward manner, for instance) and to let some others do so as well. He's often notably a good bit harder on his own minions than on the heroes who oppose him, whom he secretly seems to admire. This psychological complexity -- and Starlin created Thanos during a psychology class, it's worth remembering -- creates an interesting dimension to his character and makes him quite unlike, say, Darkseid, to whom he's often compared but who is more thoroughly evil, single-minded, and relentless. The Mad Titan, indeed.
Posted by: Instantiation | August 19, 2014 5:56 PM
Randau appears again in #31 as part of Thanos' army. Page 9. He's on the far right of the group shot (and is correctly colored this time!)
Posted by: AF | June 22, 2016 7:31 PM
Added him (as Space Parasite). Thanks, AF.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 23, 2016 7:35 AM
Starcore is described here as a joint Russian-American space observatory.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 24, 2016 9:17 PM
One of Thanos's Badoon henchman gets the name Czar-Doon in the flashback to Drax the Destroyer's origin in issue #32, and he'll get a surprising number of later appearances. However, it's not clear if he's the Badoon seen commanding the space-fleet in Avengers #125, so he might not appear during the "present day" of this story.
There are hints that Death is somehow providing Thanos with knowledge: back in #27, Mar-Vell doesn't know how Thanos could have learned that Rick Jones had the Cosmic Cube's location imprinted on his subconscious mind, and when In issue #32, Thanos notes that he could defeat Drax on the mental plane in #28, because knows Drax's origin. Did Death provide him with this information, enabling him to finally defeat Drax?
The next-to-last page of this story strongly implies that Death was manipulating Thanos and seemingly shows that "she" is pleased with his defeat. The intention seems to be that he's actually dead, though Starlin will of course toss this out when he brings Thanos back in Strange Tales/Warlock.
Building on Instantiation's comment, it's worth recalling that Freud's concept of the death-drive -- Thanos -- is actually an urge to self-destruction, albeit one that's often externalized as aggression. Is Death allowing Thanos to court her with his schemes, or just indulging his byzantine desire for self-destruction? Starlin's later stories show that Thanos doesn't really understand Death, for all his protestations that he loves "her."
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 15, 2017 2:45 PM
Klaus Janson's first Marvel art was apparently in the fanzine Marvel Tribune #9(10/68), a Dr. Strange picture.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 20, 2018 4:47 PM
Starlin's recap pages in this run are possibly the best ones in comics. Even reading one issue after another, so that a recap is not really necessary, they're just plain stunning to look at, well worth wading through the redundant exposition.
Posted by: Michael Grabowski | May 7, 2018 12:39 AM
This was a very cool story, but reading it a few days ago, it became even more clear to me that its plot is almost exactly like the Infinity Gauntlet.
Posted by: jULES | July 14, 2018 3:22 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|