The Transparent Fox:
Marvel Two-In-One #61-63
Issue(s): Marvel Two-In-One #61, Marvel Two-In-One #62, Marvel Two-In-One #63
It looks like the cocoon that the Enclave created Adam Warlock in. But this time, it's a female that emerges. And she heads straight to Alicia Masters, easily fighting off the Thing. She is in fact Paragon, the second creature that the Enclave created. She's further evolved herself to become Adam Warlock's mate.
She's sought out Alicia because the Enclaves' computers showed that Alicia was the last person to see him. Of course, their computers were out of date. Adam's been all over the universe, and he's currently dead.
Starhawk shows up to help the Thing.
Meanwhile, Moondragon joins Alicia and "Her". She's been monitoring cosmic occurrences and this has attracted her attention.
Even with Starhawk's help, the Thing isn't able to beat Her in the rematch and the three ladies fly off into space. The Thing and Starhawk follow in the FF's Skrull saucer. They eventually catch up with Alicia and crew and come to terms with Her. After the Thing gives Moondragon a spanking, of course.
Seems to be a fetish for him.
Together, they are headed to Counter-Earth to visit the grave of Adam Warlock. When they get there, they find the planet gone, and the High Evolutionary in a coma in his space station. Her revives him and finds out he was attacked by a maddened Adam Warlock some time ago (somewhere around the time of Warlock #14).
The High Evolutionary doesn't know what happened to Counter-Earth, and they start tracing it.
They find some giant space aliens who were contracted by a group of beings called the Beyonders (no relation to the Secret Wars guy; or i should say no intended relation at this time) to acquire Counter-Earth. Their captain is named Sphinxor.
As Mark notes in the comments, we've actually seen Sphinxor before. He narrates the recap in Strange Tales #178.
It turns out they are the reason Warlock thought he was so much bigger than the solar system in Warlock #15. They're also the ones who made him crazy so that he attacked the High Evolutionary. It's a little silly, with these working class aliens stealing a planet for this race that is said to be more powerful than Galactus, Thanos, or the Watcher.
But the Evolutionary decides to let them keep the planet, but only if they let Her visit Warlock's grave.
She tries to revive him, but his soul is in the soul gem, currently held by the Elder Gardener.
Kind of a weird story. Interesting, but a little ruined by the planet-stealing aliens. Like a lot of Gruenwald stories, it's more about making sense of disparate events in the Marvel Universe than actually telling a story, but that's ok with me.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places these issues between FF #214-215.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (18): show
Alicia is really the female rick jones of the MU. she has more encounters with heroes than any normal person could bear.
Posted by: kveto from prague | May 14, 2011 9:43 PM
Sphinxor, or somebody who looked and sounded a lot like him, appeared in the first Strange Tales Warlock issue.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 30, 2011 12:21 AM
This story was announced to begin in MTIO #57, but got pushed back due to fill-ins and the Impossible Man story(or maybe Jerry Bingham was just slow).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 26, 2012 5:07 PM
The Warlock flashback would seem to take place between Marvel Team-Up #55 and Avengers Annual #7. In Warlock #15 he is told that he'll kill the High Evolutionary in his future, and at the end of MTU #55 he says he's going to Counter-Earth.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 7, 2012 5:22 PM
You might also want to mention under Historical Significance first mention of the Beyonders, especially considering that they're playing a major role in Hickman's current Avengers storyline.
Posted by: Michael | March 7, 2015 1:05 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | March 7, 2015 11:27 PM
On the one hand, Ben spanking Moondragon is quite a bit sexist and more than a bit infantile.
On the other hand, if there is any character in the Marvel Universe who deserves a good spanking, it's Moondragon.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 18, 2015 8:09 PM
OK, a bit of confusion here: you have it that the Gardener already stole the Soul Gem that was on Warlock's grave here, but you have this before Hulk 248, which came out in June, 1980 while this issue regarding that gem being taken came out in May. Obviously they show a flashback in the Hulk issue of the Gardener taking the gem but it feels a tad screwy.
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 8, 2015 2:18 PM
Yeah, it shouldn't be a problem, though. As you note, the flashback could have taken place at any time after Warlock's death. Sometimes the way things get place a revelation somewhere will get "spoiled" but it's not actually a contradiction. In this case you can blame the Hulk for being such a popular guy, appearing in the Defenders and elsewhere, and forcing Hulk #248 to get pushed back in publication time.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 8, 2015 6:29 PM
I always saw the Starhawk/Aleta merge as Gerber's way of sneaking "trans" themes past the censors, although maybe Gerber had something else in mind. Valentino ended up splitting the two and taking a different direction to the character.
In any case, this issue has an amusing reference to that theory, where a flabbergasted Ben Grimm says "I've seen weird powers in my life, but changin' into a woman has to be-" and Starhawk explains that he doesn't actually turn into Aleta, they merely occupy the same physical space. Ben is the perfect "reaction" character for Gerber concepts.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 12, 2017 6:06 PM
Valentino touched on some sexuality issues with Starhawk/Aleta during his run too. After Stakar and Aleta had been split into separate bodies for a while and Aleta had moved on to a new relationship, she ended up being reabsorbed into Starhawk--and had her mind controlling the male body. Aleta still wanted to maintain her romantic relationship with Vance, and seemed frustrated that he was having trouble making the adjustment to her having a male body now.
Posted by: Dermie | May 12, 2017 11:53 PM
I stand corrected on the Valentino run! I stopped reading it after about the first year so I think I must have missed those issues.
I wasn't keen on the timeloop origin (I'd rather have had no explanation of his "one who knows" thing) or the "divorce" of him & Aleta, it seemed to get rid of some of the things that made Starhawk unique. But good to hear Valentino didn't drop the merge aspect after all.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 13, 2017 5:12 AM
I doubt Gerber forty years (!) ago had any interest in trans thinking as we would define it today, but he was definitely interested in symbolic androgyny. In Mr Miracle he introduced a cosmic hermaphrodite named Ethos, whose fluid identity seemed to indicate a greater wholeness and transcendence. On the other hand, in Captain America he introduced Animus (in Jungian philosophy, I believe, "animus" is the term for masculine personality traits in women), who was all kinds of creepy.
Posted by: Andrew | May 21, 2017 2:13 PM
I suspect that by 40 years ago Gerber had probably at the very least read I Will Fear No Evil by Robert Heinlein, in which the lead character was a rich old man who had his brain transplanted into a young woman's body and was adaptive enough to learn how to live out the rest of his life as a woman in earnest. Just about everybody in the science fiction community at that time must have read it.
Posted by: Holt | April 4, 2018 6:43 PM
And judging from the contemporary reviews it got, the vast majority of them hated it. I've read the original serialization in Galaxy in 1970 and it was truly the worst thing he'd ever written at that point.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 5, 2018 7:52 PM
Most of Heinlein's stuff doesn't hold up so well for me now, but when I was in high school I read all of it that I could get my hands on, and enjoyed it. This was one of three favorites, and it was more thought provoking, to me, than anything I ever read about Starhawk anyway. Regarding Andrew's comment, on second thought, Heinlein's book is maybe not all that relevant to trans thinking nowadays, insofar as the old man soon found out that the young woman's thoughts were still resident in her body, alongside his own. One of the most interesting aspects of the story for me was how the woman's consciousness persisted in her body even though her brain was replaced. But that aspect also makes it less of a parallel to a real life modern day trans situation. The protagonist didn't seek out a sex change, either, but rather, just a young body for his brain transplant, and it had been unforeseen happenstance that the transplant donor would turn out to be a woman.
Posted by: Holt | April 5, 2018 10:17 PM
I Will Fear No Evil just wasn't very good. Not as offensive as Heinlein was capable of - but at that, he made Chris Claremont look like Fred Rogers, and the really sick novels were generally better-written.
Posted by: BU | April 12, 2018 11:36 PM
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