Sunday, November 27, 2011

Avengers, Skrulls, and Space Opera: 1985

Second Part of a Three Course banquet of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!
FIRELORD: Hot Air Balloons

As if their inability to save the Savage Land were not enough, the Avengers return home to find that National Security Council agents ransacking their headquarters.

According to Raymond Sikorsky, in light of information from the Vision's debriefing, the Avengers' priority clearance has been suspended. Without a moment to breathe, they're called in to confront Firelord, only to find the former herald of Galactus already defeated by Spider-Man.

That’s right, Firelord.
Any Spidey fans remember him trying a slice of New York Pizza?
Hercules proves the rare voice of reason, convincing his ally of old to join the Avengers in their next great danger, as a way of making amends for his rampage on Earth.

The Skrull empire is in disarray, warring provincial powers dividing hegemony with shifting alliances.


Starfox has a power he keeps secret at first from the Avengers; this may not have been intentional, but it demonstrates a lack of understanding to do so. Mentally, he can stimulate pleasure centers in the minds of sentient beings, used in conjunction with persuasive words and conciliatory gestures. This proves handy in more than one battle, but when the awareness comes out, he’s held at an arm’s length by female team members. This “cheat” alters the nature of his charm and appeal to the opposite sex, even though he’s never depicted using this on anyone but an enemy in these stories. It might be beneath him to ever use this power on a female who is undecided about him---unaware being the operative word---but it’s hard for them to ever know.

Aside from this, he’s brave, buoyant, and knowledgeable of advanced scientific technologies…especially those of his native Titan. Ahh, but we know from the Vision’s chapter as chairman about the hazards of Titanian technology. As a matter of fact, the Vision’s the one person who knows about his “persuasive power,” and perhaps he appreciates playing things close to the vest. If the Vision’s will were altered by the process of becoming one with ISAAC, however, happy-go-lucky Eros finds himself questioning his part in whatever harm was done.
Thus, it’s a more contemplative Starfox who utilizes more of this Titan moon technology to pilot a starship full of Avengers, plus Firelord, to Captain Marvel’s rescue in the Andromeda Galaxy.

As summarized by SuperMonkey’s comprehensive blog:

Once reunited with her teammates, Captain Marvel presents them to the Skrulls' leader. General Zedrao, who tells them how, after Galactus's destruction of their throneworld, the ruthless Nebula and her mercenaries had taken over world after world of the shattered Skrull Empire. Although Captain Marvel had engineered a ruse making it seem that Nebula had destroyed Zedrao's base, Nebula is still at large and in command of Thanos's immensely powerful ship. Thus, although neither side truly trusts the other, the Avengers and the Skrulls become allies against their mutual foe.

Following the Avenger's decision to side with the Skrulls in order to stop Nebula's bid to take over the universe, Firelord refuses to ally himself with a race that has shown so much aggression toward his Xandarian people (See my blog “Nova’s Finest Hour” (September, 2010) for more on the four-fragmented world of Xandar—Literate Lue). He returns to his home world of Xandar to find it in ruins, tracking down its ruler Queen Adora, Firelord learns that it was attacked by Nebula's forces.

Elsewhere in space, the Avengers and Skrull commander Zedrao prepare to deal with Nebula, commanding Thanos' Sanctuary II ship. First they teleport a communications tube near Sanctuary II which is promptly brought to Nebula. In it, Nebula views a message from Zedrao and Captain Marvel asking her surrender. Blasting the device, Nebula furiously orders her soldiers to battle... one she begins losing to the attacking Skrulls and Avengers. Nebula has devastating weapons, but if she lowers her ship's shields, Captain Marvel can penetrate them in her energy form.

Firelord rushes back to play cavalry to the Avengers. While he turns the tide, he's also blasted into the next moon---but not seriously hurt. Who's this standing over him asking: "Are you one of the Avengers?"

Alongside her team, Captain Marvel tries at first to penetrate Nebula's shields, then smartly decides to over load her system. Spent, she returns to human form.

Thanos and the Avengers apparently board the Skrull ship, feared by all. In reality, it's Captain America leading a group of disguised Skrulls into the heart of the operation.

Thanks to a Gene Bomb, we’ll see the entire Skrull people lose their shape-shifting abilities. In addition, they are frozen in whatever form they possessed when the bomb activated! It all goes down in AVENGERS #258-260, and a 1985 cross-over of summer annuals, between FANTASTIC FOUR and THE AVENGERS.

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