Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Live Kree Or Die - Behind The Mask Of Zo!


I might argue that there is more change to a single character in the next several issues of Captain Marvel than any other comic book character. He changes from issue to issue with the premise of each seemingly overturned by the next.


Issue fifteen under a colorful Marie Severin cover is a romp with Tom Sutton with Dan Adkins on inks delivering arguably his most exotic single comic issue. He was a master of mood, but this issue is wild and crazy, evocative of Bowman's hallucinogenic odyssey in Stanley Kubrick's masterpice 2001: A Space Odyssey. Cap teleports to the Kree Galaxy, his home planet of Kree-Lar to be exact but on the way he visits heaven and hell and points between. Sutton delivers some truly bizarre pages which make even less sense when seen in their correct order. With a script by Gary Friedrich this is a forgotten gem in the Marvel mythos.


Mar-Vell arrives and learns of the Kree idol Tam-Borr, part of a forbidden cult, but which itself poses a threat to the galaxy because of some bewildering stuff about magnetic fields and whatnot. Cap is captured by followers of Tam-Bor and as the issue closes is ready to do battle with Tam-Bor's acolytes. 


And then comes issue sixteen with a script by top pro Archie Goodwin and art by returning and reliable artist Don Heck, this time joined with Syd Shores on inks. This trio really works overtime to completely upend the status quo of Captain Marvel and by the end of the issue nothing we've seen before is going to be the same.


Captain Marvel battles the followers of Tam-Bor and fights to confront the deadly idol itself when Ronan the Accuser suddenly appears to defend the deadly cult. Captain Marvel though continues to struggle and uses his own helmet to disrupt the deadly magnetic flow and destroy the idol. He is swiftly captured by Ronan. A brief interlude shows us that Carol Danvers is waylaid by Colonel Yon-Rogg himself. Ronan comes under attack by a Super-Sentry, a representative of the Supreme Intelligence who defeats the Accuser and takes Captain Marvel in tow transporting him to Pama, the capitol of the Kree Empire. There before the immense maw of the Supreme Intelligence Mar-Vell learns that Zo was a fake, the creation of the traitorous Zarek and Ronan, two true-blue Kree who wanted to return the Kree Empire to its pure ethnic roots. In a desperate ploy Zarek tries to destroy the Supreme Intelligence with a "Negatron Sphere" but the selfless Mar-Vell throws his own body on it and saves the day and the Supreme Intelligence.

(Clearly the coming of the Nega-Bands is presaged by the yellow cuffs on Cap's costume.)
As a reward for his service the Supreme Intelligence transforms Mar-Vell's costume giving him for the first time the red, blue and gold which he'd wear the rest of his time in the Marvel Universe. Gifted still with the powers from the fake god Zo, Captain Marvel again teleports toward Earth to have his long-delayed revenge on Yon-Rogg, but then suddenly finds himself stranded in the Negative Zone.


It will take a brand new writer and and brand new artist and a brand new concept to free him from that terrible place. But more on that next time.

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6 comments:

  1. So, did Don Heck have a hand in designing Mar-Vells new threads? I’d always thought Gil Kane…

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    1. I don't have any facts to back this up, but my speculation is that Kane designed the costume and Heck saw that design to help set up issue seventeen. The tell-tale yellow on the costume for the Nega-Bands which haven't been added to the character or costume yet show that to me. But that's speculation. It doesn't feel like a Heck design and it does fell like a Kane one.

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  2. I think this is the first time I've ever seen the debut of Cap's new costume (that I remember anyway), so thanks for that, Rip. The figure has a strong hint of Kirby about it, so I wonder if Heck copied it from one of Jack's mags? I always felt that they missed a trick not calling him Major Marvel - it has a certain (alliterative) ring to it.

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    1. Heck inked by Shores is a strong combination. Nah, Captain Marvel is the name, or why bother.

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    2. Why bother? 'Cos there's too many Captains, not enough Majors. And besides, the name was already taken.

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