What are they looking at? Well, it’s a space ship belonging to a little team you might have heard of recently…The Guardians of the Galaxy!
Only these aren’t the ones you’ll see in the upcoming Marvel movie. These are the Arnold Drake/Gene Colan guardians. Much weirder. They’re from the future. Or, I should say “a” future–another “Earth” (Earth 691), and they got a guy who looks like the original hairless Beast, a dude made of crystal, someone with a fin on his head…
I love that cover.
This is also the “real” beginning of the Korvac saga. Technically, the character began lurking in the pages of The Avengers back in #159, but he was barely in it. In this issue, he’s still an unnamed mystery, but the Guardians’ appearance marks the beginning of what is easily one of the top three Avengers cosmic stories of all time. It’s well worth getting in trade.
Written by Jim Shooter.
Say what you want about how he treated creators during his run as the boss of Marvel Comics, but personally I think he was responsible for Marvel’s most creatively abundant period: The late 1970s and early 1980s. Then he left, and a slow slog and slide began–I’m not a fan of the Rob Liefeld era–and the company was literally and creatively bankrupt until Joe Quesada arrived to save them all.
Henry Peter Gyrich–the plaid-wearing special agent of the NSC–first appearend in Avengers #165, but all he does there is show his ID and walk around for three panels looking important. This is the first time he meets The Avengers. Fans of this era remember him well as the first pain-in-the-ass superhero cop to grace the cover of an issue (#211, one of the best issues of all time). He got them to change their lineups, hire black folks (you’ll see that soon), and generally provided a great Colonel Flag to the Avengers’ A-Team.
But we can’t just include ol’ Henry. #168 is chapter two in the great Korvac Saga, and the action begins to kick into high gear…Including the seeds of the Marvel Civil War:
Think about it: The arguments are the same. Iron Man is rich and does what he’s told, toes the line, and expects the same. Cap is a selfless hero who believes that duty and honor should be its own reward.
I don’t usually fall for cover teasers, but this one got me.
I love, love, love the cover to #170.
I had to know why Cap and Iron Man were fighting to save the Bride of Ultron. I should say, this was one of my first bagged-and-boarded issues I every purchased and at the time (probably around 1980) I knew who Jacosta was, but I hadn’t read the Bride of Ultron yet.
So this issue took me to school….
The great thing about the Korvac saga was all the subplots. As part of the build-up, Avengers members start disappearing all over the place and folks started talking about some big danger coming. Here’s Ms. Marvel arriving on the scene, not yet a full member, to do the Avengers a favor.
I’m not sure why Beast didn’t like her.
Interestingly enough, as I was paging through this issue I noticed this little inset on the Bullpen Bulletins page, of Ms. Marvel in her “new” costume.
Notice her “old” costume looks a lot like Captain Mar-Vell’s costume. And fans of 2012 #1 issues know that Carol Danvers recently dropped the “Ms.” moniker and took up the Captain mantle…Along with the Captain Marvel costume, but with a dash of sash…
Deconnick is doing some really good work on this book. I encourage all of you to support it. It’s rare, of course, to have a female-led Marvel comic on the stands.
Above is a panel from #172. It is technically part of the Korvac saga, but it doesn’t figure into the big story very much.
Another great subplot: Hercules and Black Widow coming to join up with the team again. And they’re dating. These are two of the biggest sluts in Marvel history. Natasha has banged Avengers like Hawkeye, Daredevil, Hercules, Bucky, and Iron Man.
And Hercules, of course, has traveled the universe screwing all kinds of ladies. He’s a bigger Lothario than Captain Kirk. But he’s also been with quite a few Avengers-types: Black Widow, She Hulk, and Tigra. And Northstar, so he’s a true Greek bisexual.
Who did I miss?
But I digress. Numbers 173 and 174 are the Korvac issues where the Avengers are, yet again, collected by The Collector. This may be a little bit of a retread storywise, but it’s the best Collector story of all time…And this was the first Collector story that I personally read.
Plus, it features more people in pods.
First, The Avengers return from being collected…And Wanda can’t fly.
Then, they figure out that the evil Korvac lurks….In the suburbs.
And finally, the original Guardians and The Avengers join shafts for the dramatic end to the Korvac series.