March 13, 2010

Ye Olde School Cafe’: The Avengers: Celestial Madonna pt 1

Welcome back to another exciting edition of Ye Olde School Cafe’. This week I’m going to be showcasing one of my all-time favorites with, The Avengers: Celestial Madonna. This story has a few different players and angles so if you haven’t read this trade or the single issues, get ready for some action, adventure and even the death of a hero! The credits for this book read like a who’s who in comic book heaven. Steve Englehart and Roy Thomas with the writing duties, and Sal Buscema, Dave Cockrum, George Tuska, and Don Heck with the artwork. The original date of publication is 1974-75.

I’ll be breaking this story up into three different parts because it’s so all over the place. That’s not a bad thing either by the way. The first part of this tale is all about one of my favorite villains: Kang the Conqueror. We get to see his latest plot to get rid of the Avengers and attempt to sow his futuristics oats all at once. The second and third parts go into different directions but tie up all the loose ends by the time this epic story concludes. Well, that’s enough intro, time to get down to business.

Our story begins with a bright star shining above Avengers mansion and the arrival of Kang. He tells the Avengers that this star is a sign for him to return and “subjugate” their back water world. The Avengers don’t take this threat lightly and start to attack Kang. His personal force-field stops the attacks easily (even Thor’s hammer Mjolnir). After defeating the Avengers, Kang transports the three females, Scarlet Witch, Mantis, and Agatha Harkness, to his stronghold. He also brings Thor, Iron Man, and Vision there, and with a device he completely saps them of their will. Kang then puts the heroes inside of robotic shells that he made to control them and make use of their powers for his evil purposes. One side note: Kang leaves Swordsman behind because he doesn’t feel he’s worth the trouble.

Next, Agatha Harkness mentally contacts Swordsman and tells him where they are being held. Swordsman arrives at a pyramid in Egypt and upon entering, he is attacked by some ancient demon. After getting by that trap, he has Kang dead in his sights and is about to deliver a crippling blow! Just as he is ready to zap Kang, he is grabbed from behind by Rama-Tut (another version of Kang). Jarvis then seeks out Hawkeye to aid in stopping Kang and freeing the captured Avengers. The pair are back at Avengers mansion when Swordsman and Rama-Tut show up. After some convincing, Hawkeye agrees to help the unlikely duo in their plan. At this point, Kang enacts his plan to kill all the worlds leaders and ignite a world war that will ravage the Earth and leave him to rule what’s left; he sends the helpless Avengers to do his bidding and then even has some time for a little pillow talk for his ladies.

Meanwhile, the mindless Avengers under Kang’s thrall are trying to kill their intended target, when all of a sudden Hawkeye, Swordsman, and Rama-Tut arrive and stop them. Tut tells his partners that covering the eyes of this robot will stop it by shutting off the power supply. Kang is beside himself because he doesn’t know who the masked figure is that’s helping them. Tut knew it was Vision on the inside of that robot. Then Kang sends his next slave, Iron Man, after them but with the help of Vision, they allow for Iron Man to escape from his robotic prison. In furious anger, Kang then travels with his last “robot” Thor, to kill the head of Russia. The Avengers and Rama-Tut are there to stop him though and gain access to his ship and free Scarlett Witch, Mantis, and Agatha Harkness from Kang’s captivity. Kang is livid and points his weapon at the masked figure who is unknown to him. The blast reveals Rama-Tut and Kang can’t belive his eyes.

At this junction, we see Tut and Kang fighting against each other…or themselves I guess. We see how the two have been called different names throughout their lives but are still one in the same. We also see at this point that Kang’s predictions do come true and Mantis reveals herself to be the Celestial Madonna (the person who is allegedly destined to give birth to a universal savior). Kang cannot grasp why his other-self would try to stop this from happening. He goes berserk and aims his weapon at Mantis even though Tut and Mantis tell him it would be futile to kill her because nature would just select the next “worthy” person. Kang doesn’t really give a crap though and fires his weapon…but the man who is in love with her, Swordsman, jumps directly in the firing line and takes a kill-shot for his woman. Kang is then attacked by Tut and the two accidentally push a button that activates his time-travel device. It sends the two of them into an unknown time in a split second. The team is left to see the last words of their dying friend, a man who considered himself too lowly to belong on the team but in the end saved the day.

When next we see our heroes, they are convening about what to do next. Mantis interrupts though and asks if she may take the Swordsman’s body to Vietnam to be buried because that’s where he was most happy. The team agrees to not only do that but also to help her figure out what she is in for being this bearer of a savior. The Scarlet Witch stays behind though to train her powers better with her mentor Agatha Harkness. The team arrives to bury their friend but soon sees a group of villains killing innocent people; Radioactive Man, Crimson Dynamo, and The Titanium Man are confronted by the Avengers, but tell them that they are the law in this country now and to get out. After a brief scuffle, the Avengers leave and try to contact Captain Marvel or Rick Jones because of Mantis’ Kree origins, and Vision gives Hawkeye a quick rundown on her origin. Another B-list villain attacks Mantis for pretty much no reason, all the while the Avengers run into the group of villains that confronted them earlier. The villains, who are now basically law enforcement in this country, are there to apprehend the Slasher (the B-lister who attacked Mantis). After they fight, the Avengers decide to leave and let the “authorities” handle the perpetrator. The Avengers are left wondering where their next course of action should be.

And that is where we will leave off for this time but don’t dare miss next week as we will find out what Baron Zemo, Frankenstein, and Wonderman have in common, and we’ll also meet the man named Immortus!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. The Slasher! Isn’t he due for a return appearance by now? I mean, look at the cover; it takes both Iron Man AND Hawkeye to take him on! He’s one mean hombre….

  2. billy

    @Bill-Any guy that duct tapes razor blades to himself for a costume scares the crap outta me. lol

  3. Nice write-up Billy! I’m not a huge Avengers guy and know jack-crap about Kang. He looks like a doof.

  4. billy

    @Andy-thanks man. Kang is really cool, well, except for his clothing but who knows, maybe in the 30th century that will be the standard. You’d like Kang Andy, he has ties to Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom and all sorts of futuristic gadgets to! 🙂

  5. […] In this weeks edition, we’ll be digging even further into Celestial Madonna then we did in part 1. This Avenger’s tale is my favorite of all their epic adventures for many reasons. Kang, […]

  6. […] Madonna, in Ye Olde School Cafe’! As you’ve now found out from reading both parts 1 and 2, Mantis is one of the main focuses of this tale along with Kang, Immortus, and The Vision! In […]

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