OPERATION GALACTIC STORM (1992): Avengers #345-347, Avengers West Coast #80-82, Captain America #398-400, Iron Man #278-279, Quasar # 32-36, Thor #446, Wonder Man #7-9

Operation: Galactic Storm was a not-so-subtle reference to the real world’s Operation: Desert Storm, which was ongoing when these comics were created, as well as yet-another Kree war.  This time, it’s Kree vs. Shi’Ar.

There’s a TON of issues involved here.  It starts in Captain America #398, where Rick Jones, who has been dreaming about the Kree Supreme Intelligence, gets kidnapped by the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard.

Because of his connections to Captain Marvel, Rick’s “dreams” are actually connections Kree military operators, so the Shi’Ar need to probe his brain.

Yes, Rick gets probed by aliens.

Cap assembles the West Coast Avengers to save him.

There’s a big battle, but they’re successful.  WCA #80 is one long fight.  But it’s fun, done well.  The Shi’Ar do get the info that they wanted before Rick is rescued, and we learn that they’re trying to find Kree military hardware that can be used to create a powerful weapon.

After freeing Rick, Quasar and Starfox team-up to try to stop Kree soldiers Captain Atlas and Doctor Minerva from robbing Captain Mar-Vell’s tomb, but they fail–and the Kree get Mar-Vell’s Nega Bands.  Really?  He was buried with those bands?  That’ seems a little ridiculous.  Also, a few spaceships are racing towards Earth.

Just a few.

But we’re still not ready for a real Avengers issue yet.  We have to stop by Wonder Man’s solo book first.  Where first he tries nonviolence…

…but then ends up punching Kree in the face.

That’s Captain Atlas, who has put on the stolen Nega-Bands and immediately swapped locations with Rick Jones, in the way Rick and Mar-Vell used to flip places all the time.  So, he ended up on Earth and got punched in the face by Simon Williams.

Right before the switcheroo, Rick promised to stay on Earth.

It’s nice that the humorous tone of Wonder Man’s book doesn’t have to shift during an event tie-in.

And now, finally, The Avengers join the fray.

Just like in the fun “giant team” books of the ’70s and ’80s, the Avengers break up into separate groups to cover three missions: Protect Earth from invasion, go the Shi’Ar empire to broker a peace, and go save Rick Jones from the Kree.

Hawkeye becomes Goliath again because, you know, shooting arrows in space is lame.

It’s a clear and direct call-back to Clint Barton’s performance during the original Kree-Skrull War.

The Earth team has Black Knight.

Cap leads the Kree team.

And, in the pages of his own solo title, we meet the new Kree warrior team…

“Star Force.”  Not the most imaginative name, but OK.

Thor is on the Shi’Ar team.

They try to negotiate peace but Lilandra’s having none of that.

And a Thor/Gladiator throw-down is cool enough to warrant Thor’s solo book focusing on it.

Of course, this is the “new” Thor–Eric Masterson.

So they play a bit with his unfamiliarity will all these goings on.

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Thor and his teammates discover that the Shi’Ar have gotten the Nega Bands and are using them to build a bomb big enough to blow up the entire Kree empire.

And that bomb is eventually stolen by skrulls.

You can see why there are so many books needed to tell this story.

In Wonder Man #9, the bomb goes off–killing billions of Kree.

We then learn that the Kree Supreme Intelligence was actually behind the whole thing–as a way to motivate the surviving Kree into “evolving” into a stronger race.

Iron Man wants to kill Supremor.

IMG_1698Cap, as always, is the voice of reason and morality.  There’s debate.

During which (in Wonder Man’s book) Vision looks kinda fat and Wonder Man gets pissed at him.

The Avengers vote and Cap’s side wins, but Iron Man goes rogue–leading a small group bent on vengeance who then appear to kill the Kree Supreme Intelligence.  (We learn at the very end that the Kree Supreme Intelligence survived and is seeking refuge with skrulls.)

Meanwhile, the Shi’ar capitalize on the annihilation of so many Kree by taking over their parts of space, and putting Deathbird in charge of the new kingdom.

The Avengers, upon returning to Earth, are now divided into Cap and Iron Man camps.  Not an unfamiliar pattern, to be sure.  There will be a lot of fall-out from these issues, and additional tie-ins.

Creators and Grades:

Avengers:Bob Harras and Steve Epting. Grade: C+
Avengers West Coast: Roy and Dann Thomas, David Ross. Grade: C
Captain America: Mark Gruenwald and Rik Levins.  Grade: C. Note: There are back-ups that I’m not covering.
Iron Man: Len Kaminski and Paul Ryan. Grade: C
Quasar: Mark Gruenwald and Greg Capullo.  Grade: C.
Thor: Tom DeFalco and Patrick Oliffe. Grade: C.
Wonder Man: Creators: Gerard Jones and Jeff Johnson.  Grade: B-.

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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