Marvel Super Heroes #3 (Captain Marvel)
Issue(s): Marvel Super Heroes #3 (Captain Marvel)
This was inventory fill-in for Captain Marvel's run originally intended for the never published Marvel Spotlight #12 (see Michael's comment below and also the Reference in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #55). Maybe it's more the case that the original scripter credits were lost or they had to be heavily revised for some reason before publication here.
In any event, the story has Captain Marvel discovering a group of people unearthing a cache of radioactive waste buried in a mountain.
When he goes to try to stop them, though, he notes that his powers have been feeling weaker lately, and when he uses his powers he has a vision of a woman screaming in her hotel.
She then appears to tell him to stop hurting her.
But he still has to defend himself from the raiders' high tech flying saucers.
So she shows up again, and this time attacks him, draining his powers.
Powerless, Captain Marvel tries to contact Rick Jones, who he thinks is on a tour of Europe with Mordecai, but we're told that Rick is back in the States, trying to reach the Hulk.
Mar-vell realizes that Rick probably couldn't help him anyway. So he reaches into his memory and pulls an address from the vision he had of the mystery woman in her hotel. He confronts her there and she is clearly confused but not willing to listen to reason.
It turns out that she is Apalla, the Queen of the Sun.
This goes back to a confusing Dr. Strange storyline.
Apalla restores Captain Marvel's powers and they defeat the guys that were after the radioactive waste. We're never really told what they were about. "Terrorists... perhaps financed by an unscrupulous nation seeking nuclear capability." That's some financing considering the flying saucers they had.
Apalla then returns home to the stars.
One day i need to re-read the Creators story in Dr. Strange, but i remember being somewhere between bored and confused by it (boredom leads to confusion because i stop reading carefully). Peter Gillis' intention for this issue might have been to clarify what was going on there, and i guess there is a clear explanation of Apalla here. But it's also possible that Gillis' intentions, if any, were lost in the scripting. As a Captain Marvel story published in 1990 hinging on an obscure plotline from 1977, well... it's been said that the only two interesting things about the original Captain Marvel are that he fought Thanos and that he died, and nothing in this story is going to change that perception.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Has to take place after Apalla's appearance in Doctor Strange #24. Takes place after Captain Marvel and Rick Jones are separated. The MCP have it circa Marvel Two-In-One #45, a break between Captain Marvel #57-58. But that comment about Rick Jones suggests to me that it must be later, maybe circa Hulk #251 when Rick is trying to put the Teen Brigade back together.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"... it's been said that the only two interesting things about the original Captain Marvel are that he fought Thanos and that he died ..."
I remember reading that Starlin once said Mar-Vell was his favorite character. That surprised me a little, at first, as I thought he might have picked Warlock. But then it made sense. He's an old favorite of mine, too. So what do we old Cpt. Marvel fans find interesting about him?
* When he flew, he left a sparkling trail! (That was thanks to Starlin, of course, who later reused this device for "Cosmic Guard.")
Posted by: Instantiation | July 29, 2015 6:23 PM
As this web site reveals, this issue was originally slated for Marvel Spotlight 12:
Posted by: Michael | July 29, 2015 7:49 PM
Does it make any sense to cancel a comic, and then because you have leftover inventory stories for it - publish them anyway in another comic? Why not decide to cancel the comic, but make it happen only after the inventory stories are published? It's not like they couldn't delay publishing Marvel Spotlight and run other inventory stories once Captain Marvel is cancelled.
Posted by: Chris | July 29, 2015 10:11 PM
Chris, as I recall from an article on Marvel Spotlight that ran in Back Issue Magazine a year or so ago, the editor (I forget who it was) knew that there was a somewhat better chance that people would buy these stories if they were released as Marvel Spotlight #1-4 rather than Captain Marvel #63-66.
Posted by: Ben Herman | July 29, 2015 10:21 PM
One more for my little list:
* He was a natural leader. Other superheroes instinctively looked up to him.
Years after his death, some Avengers reminisced about what an inspiration he had been (Bendis's "Avengers Finale"). He wasn't angst-ridden like Warlock and certainly wasn't edgy, ambivalent, or conflicted like various anti-hero characters. As I see it, he was more of a Galahad type who did the right things for the right reasons because that was his nature. Maybe it's hard to make such a character interesting in today's world, but I think he represented an ideal.
"He was the best among us."
Posted by: Instantiation | July 30, 2015 9:01 AM
Instantiation, I agree that Mar-vell - once he got to this point - was a pretty interesting character and had enough of a mythos and rogue's gallery that he should have stayed publish.
It took a long time to get there though. The first several iterations of the character just didn't work. I wonder if the baggage of those first 5-6 years undermined the character. They would have been much more in the mind with the readership then then they would be now.
Posted by: Chris | December 23, 2015 8:18 PM
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