Captain Marvel #55-56
Issue(s): Captain Marvel #55, Captain Marvel #56
These issues are kind of a false start. Captain Marvel has been trying to decide what to do with himself and was toying with the idea of getting a civilian job. In this issue he unmasks...
...and applies for and receives a job at a space observatory.
Getting a space alien to work in your observatory is a real coup. But it threatens my suspension of disbelief to have Mar-vell working there. Presumably what Mar-vell can show and tell the scientists at the observatory is (literally!) light years beyond anything they would have learned on their own. I'm not saying Marv should necessarily be following a prime directive-like code to not help humanity advance, but doing it this way is kind of half-assed; why not work directly for NASA or something? He could even go back to the job he had as Walter Lawson for an in-story tieback.
Anyway, as i said, this is a false start, so it's all moot.
By exposing his identity and publicly taking a job, Captain Marvel has opened himself up to attacks. Edelman goes deep into Mar-vell's history to find an appropriate foe. To recap, when Mar-vell first arrived on Earth, he somehow stumbled across a dead Walter Lawson, who he coincidentally was a dead-ringer for, and took his identity. And it was later discovered that Lawson was a weapons builder for the nefarious Organization. Mar-vell then busted up the Organization. But now, he's attacked by a guy calling himself Deathgrip who was mutated by Lawson's Eon Ray when Mar-vell destroyed it.
He's now got vampiric powers that requires him to drain lifeforce from others, causing them to age (and usually die) while giving him strength.
Deathgrip assumes that Captain Marvel really was Walter Lawson and wants him to develop a cure for the effects of the device he built.
The fact that Deathgrip recognizes Captain Marvel as Walter Lawson confirms that Mar-vell really was an exact match for Lawson, and also that when Eon (no relation to the Eon Ray) transformed Mar-vell into the Cosmic Protector, it didn't affect his appearance at all other than the change in hair color.
Captain Marvel tries to explain that he isn't really Lawson, but Deathgrip isn't buying it...
...and he winds up aging Captain Marvel. Marv is able to restore his vitality using the Nega-bands, so Deathgrip switches to the tactic of holding everyone at the observatory hostage until Mar-vell provides a cure. Mar-vell returns to the site of the Organization's base and retrieves the Eon Gun and brings it to Tony Stark.
Stark is unable to find a way to cure Deathgrip, but, no thanks to Henry Pym...
...he is able to reconfigure the gun to reduce the aging effect on Deathgrip's victims. Armed with that, Mar-vell returns to the observatory to punch out the bad guy. I love Deathgrip's helmet; it's like he's wearing a TIE Fighter on his head.
With no cure forthcoming, Deathgrip tries to use the gun on himself and it turns him to "primordial protoplasm".
You have to feel a little bad for Deathgrip since he wasn't a traditional villain; he just wanted to be cured. Granted he was a member of the criminal Organization but that doesn't mean he should be reduced to sludge.
The next issue blurb promises "Drax", but next issue will in fact be a fill-in by Roger McKenzie, and then at the beginning of issue #57 (which will feature Drax), Mar-vell returns to the Observatory to quit since he's realized that he just puts the people there in danger.
Pat Broderick has a somewhat busy but generally interesting style and i think the use of the Organization was cool even if i have a problem with some of the specifics.
I didn't increase the Significance Rating for Mar-vell exposing his identity since it's very low impact. Other than Deathgrip, the only other person who might have been interested to learn that Captain Mar-vell was (or "was") Walter Lawson is Carol Danvers, and that angle is never explored (even in the upcoming Ms. Marvel #19 where Mar-vell guest stars).
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: I'm allowing for a long gap in time between issues #54 and #55 to let this book catch back up to publication time after having held Mar-vell's series back in 1976 due to various dependencies and the fact that it was a bi-monthly book with continuing stories. This is also providing a break where Captain Marvel can appear in other books. Issue #54 ends with Marv on the street, and issue #55 begins on a street as well, but there's no reason it needs to be the same street. Stark & Pym's appearances are context free; the MCP places both of them circa Iron Man #109 and before the Korvac saga. Has to take place before Ms. Marvel #19 since Ronan's mind gets restored in that issue and he's still a mindless simpleton here.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showCaptain Mar-vell, Doctor Minerva, Ethan Wilford, Gertie, Henry Pym, Iron Man, Mac-Ronn, Mordecai P. Boggs, Rick Jones, Ronan the Accuser
Pat Broderick became sort of a fan favorite when he took over Micronauts.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 21, 2013 4:36 PM
Scott Edelman later admitted that Archie Goodwin fired him after #55 while arguing over the quality of Edelman's writing, resulting in the fill-ins.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 27, 2013 4:35 PM
The notepad next to the phone in the DENVER POST city room in page 17, panel 1 of #55 reads (if I’m deciphering it correctly), “Sorry I haven’t written lately but I’ve been inking tons of stuff for Marvel. Deadlines are always tight and the editor, Archie Goodwin, gets excited when he hears that an artist took time off to sleep or eat or use the lavatory. He’s given to fits of uncontrollable anger, wherein he foams at the mouth and his arms flail wildly, steam shoots from his nose…”
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | April 3, 2016 3:32 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|