Captain Marvel #50-53
Issue(s): Captain Marvel #50, Captain Marvel #51, Captain Marvel #52, Captain Marvel #53
For a 50th issue treat, in addition to the status quo change, there's a guest appearance by the Avengers, and the issue is a nice fight with the Super-Adaptoid.
The Adaptoid surfaces during a testing of some equipment at Stark Industries.
Someone must have forgotten that Tony Stark is no longer in munitions, because Milgrom draws this scene of this massive tank blasting along...
...and then they have to write in the dialogue that oh, no, this is just a moon buggy for Jupiter. We have to test it by shooting missiles at it because, um, it's hostile on Jupiter, people. Totally hostile.
The Adaptoid gets away from Iron Man and heads to Avengers Mansion to absorb more powers. Iron Man doesn't make it to the mansion to join the fight.
Meanwhile, Captain Marvel is still back on the farm owned by the Wilfords, the people who picked up Rick in the previous arc. Rick has a concert to get to, so Captain Marvel leaves the mind-addled Ronan the Accuser in the care of the Wilfords and the Kree scientist Mac-Ronn. The overalls are a nice touch.
Will Ronan eventually recover his memory and terrorize the Wilfords? Of course! But Rick has a gig.
This concert is a response to his one in Captain Marvel #40, which was received poorly.
This time people like him, thanks to some original Scott Edelman lyrics, and note all the things that he's "not". The "glitter" thing was a weird complaint in lettercols after the previous concert; people complained that there were glitter rock people in the audience of the previous concert and people didn't like that; the response to the letter blamed it on the inker! (As far as i can see, the concertgoers at both shows are just a random hodepodge of people.) Additionally, the title of that issue referred to a John Denver song.
Anyway, Jarvis decided to come out to support Rick, and he invites him back to Avengers Mansion after the show. And that's when the Super-Adaptoid shows up.
If you accept some questionable things about the Adaptoid's powers, the way he is defeated, and how Rick and Captain Marvel's status quo is changed, is quite clever. Mar-vell lets the Adaptoid mimic his nega bands...
...and then he forces the robot to ktang its wrists together, sending it to the Negative Zone and freeing Rick.
While all this is going on, Captain Marvel is observed by another Kree scientist, Minerva.
Now that he's free of Rick, Mar-vell considers creating a civilian identity for himself, and looks at the local want ads.
Here's a close-up on the want ads.
Probably still not legible even with that, so... the ads say "Fly Catcher Wanted - Howard Hughes", "Miner", "Dishwasher", "Cartoonist, $10. per week", "Secretary", "Girl Friday", "Inker - You Pay Us. Inquire: Marvel Comics Group", and what looks like "Continuity Associates - Flunkies Wanted".
I really hate the idea that Mar-vell would take a human civilian identity. He's the Protector of the Universe! I'm sure the Avengers would be happy to put him up if he wanted to stay on Earth. Luckily things don't actually go in this direction. Mar-vell is ambushed by Mercurio the 4-D Man.
But wait, Mercurio is a good guy nowadays!
Except, he's not.
Mercurio wants to invade Earth, and he wants the Kree secret of interstellar communication - the Omni-Wave Projector - so he can coordinate the invasion with his people.
Mar-vell seems to think it's sufficient to just punch the guy out and go home, even leaving behind the teleporter device.
Meanwhile, Rick Jones finds that his agent, Mordecai P. Boggs, has been capitalizing on his relationship with the Avengers.
And then he organizes a mini-reunion with the Teen Brigade. I guess i shouldn't be surpised to see they've all turned out to be a goofy bunch.
But the reunion is cut short when Minerva kidnaps Rick. Rick is just a back-up; Minerva really wants Mar-vell. So when he returns from Mercurio's dimension, he finds her ship hovering over Times Square and heads there. When he makes it to Minerva, she explains that she's a scientist that thinks she's found a way to circumvent the fact that the Kree are at a genetic dead end. The answer is for her and Mar-vell to mate. Purely for scientific advancement and the betterment of the species, of course, as you can tell by the way she puts her finger to her lips.
We're spared from that going any further thanks to a call from Phae-Dor, the Kree from the Inhumans series that was trying to capture the Inhumans and bring them to help fight the War with the Three Galaxies. Phae-Dor would now like Captain Marvel to be sent to Kree space, and when he objects, Phae-Dor creates a deformed projection of himself...
...and uses it to try to capture Mar-vell. But the battle winds up destroying Minerva's ship, which is what Phae-Dor was using as a power source.
The Teen Brigade had alerted the authorities about Rick's abduction, and they're initially under the impression that Captain Marvel kidnapped him, but when that's cleared up, they apologize and leave. And so do the cops, and the military. Ok, we just had a UFO crash into Times Square. But it's not Captain Marvel's fault, so everybody go home.
In any event, it leaves Mar-vell free to dig Minerva out of the rubble. But before he can get her to explain anything further, the Inhumans show up (with their Kree scientist, Falzon, who Minerva knows).
And here's Lockjaw acting like a dog.
They talk things out and decide that Captain Marvel and Black Bolt will go to the Kree and try to end the war. The rest of the Inhumans, especially Gorgon, are pretty upset about not being allowed to be involved in the conclusion of their own plotline, but Black Bolt's will is clear.
After a little fighting...
....it turns out that one of the Kree, Por-Bat, is really a Skrull that has been trying to instigate this war because it was a set-up for a Skrull ambush.
And that's a super-quick and unsatisfactory conclusion to the "War with the Three Galaxies".
Al Milgrom is generally competent and there's some decent stuff here. Separating Captain Marvel and Rick is potentially good - there are lots of letters asking that Rick get removed from the book entirely; the real problem is just that he's written as a whiny brat. But it's amazing how much Kree stuff Mar-vell gets involved in considering the decision to bring the character back to Earth. And the wrap up for the Inhumans series is really quickly and poorly done (to be fair, there will be additional wrap-up in Fantastic Four annual #12, but i'm talking about the war of the three galaxies portion).
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: I'm placing this not too far after issue #49 since Mar-vell is still on the Wilford's farm at the beginning. The Avengers line-up is Beast, Cap, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, and Vision. This can't take place between Avengers annual #6 and Avengers #154 since, while not necessarily a direct continuation, it's clear that no other appearances should take place in between. So i'm pushing this after Avengers #156 (since #154 leads into the Super-Villain Team-Up crossover). Issues #50 and #51 are separate stories but #51 begins with Mar-vell and Rick still with the Avengers, and then #51-53 are direct continuations, so i've left them all in a single entry. There's a cameo by J. Jonah Jameson in issue #51 and he mentions Carol Danvers, so this has to take place after Ms. Marvel #1. The MCP says that the Super-Skrull appears in issue #53, but he's not explicitly shown. Maybe it's Por-Bat? That would be problematic, though. The Super-Skrull is caught in the Soul-Catcher in Marvel Chillers #7 (Oct 76) and isn't released until Marvel Team-Up #61 (Sep 77). The MCP places this issue before the Super-Skrull's Marvel Chillers appearances, which began in issue #3 (Feb 76). I've already got these Captain Marvel issues pushed back pretty far; i guess going even further would be feasible since Mar-vell is generally pretty isolated from the rest of the MU, but i'm not going to do that until i see some kind of confirmation regarding the Super-Skrull's appearance here.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (12): show
The Jupiter buggy reappears early in the Michelinie/Layton Iron Man run.
Continuity Associates was Neal Adams' art studio; Wiacek and Austin both worked there(apparently not happily, though).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 2, 2013 5:24 PM
“By the end of issue #50, CM and Rick will be separated from each other for the first time since issue #17.” Yet you correctly observe, in reviewing #39, that “they make a special effort and find that they can actually separate their bodies. So for the first time in a long while, both Rick and Captain Marvel are out of the Negative Zone,” and only #47 “restored the ‘take turns in the Negative Zone’ status quo.” (Interestingly, Edelman makes the same omission when claiming credit for this innovation on his blog.)
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | November 10, 2015 1:53 PM
Thanks Matthew. I may even have picked that up from Edelman's blog without thinking.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 10, 2015 2:18 PM
It is only a literal couple of panels, and written ambiguously at that, but #50 is the first appearance of Gertie, who will return in #54 already fully developed into a firm love interest for Rick - a role that she will keep for all further Rick appearances in this series and in Marvel Spotlight.
Then no one ever mentions her again.
Generally speaking, Captain Marvel's series is an odd duck far as continuity goes. It lasts about a decade and, if you include the Marvel Super-Heroes and Marvel Spotlight issues, 68 books. But between being bimonthly for most of its publication, several hiatuses, and a frequent lack of significant plot advancement, it feels remarkably decompressed for the time period.
That is all the more notable because it was the only "cosmic" book for most of its run. It was a book that ought to feel important and eventful, but only managed that when it was involved with Thanos. Mar-Vell's most significant apperances otherwise were actually in the Kree-Skrull War issues of Avengers (late #90s) when he did not even have his own book, and later in the couple of Annuals that killed Thanos for a while.
Overall, it reminds me of DC's Wonder Woman, in that everyone seems to feel that the book ought to have a reason to exist, but no one seems to find it no matter what.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | June 29, 2016 3:48 AM
Added Gertie. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 29, 2016 12:59 PM
Doctor Minerva Will be in the MCU Captain Marvel movie.
Posted by: CaptainMar-Vell92 | February 27, 2018 2:03 PM
I haven't read these issues and am left wondering why Rick Jones wasn't wearing the Super-Adaptoid's Nega-band bracelets when he returned from the Negative Zone. Seems a bit contrived. In previous issues, when Mar-Vell clicked his Nega-bands together, they would disappear from his wrists while he was in the Negative Zone, and Rick would then be wearing them as he returned to the Positive Zone. This was how Rick could summon Mar-Vell back from the Negative Zone, by clicking them together again.
It would also seem to follow that the Adaptoid should still be wearing them when he arrived in the Negative Zone, so why didn't he just click them together again, and exchange places with Rick again? Maybe he's just too darn stupid, or maybe he was unconscious when he arrived in the Negative Zone? (Do Adaptoids dream of electric sheep?)
My tentative no-prize candidate answer would be that, for some unknown reason (unknown to me anyway), only one set of Nega-bands can exist in the Positive Zone at a time. An alternative answer would be that the duplicate Nega-bands faded into non-existence when the Adaptoid entered the Negative Zone. Perhaps they were re-incorporated into the Adaptoid's body, since the Adaptoid's accessories appear to be morphing and changing all the time. Maybe they disappeared because he was no longer close enough to Captain Mar-Vell. At any rate, the Adaptoid doesn't seem to be wearing them when he next appears in Marvel Two-In-One #75, 5 publication years later.
Posted by: Holt | March 3, 2018 10:27 AM
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