March 27, 2010

Ye Olde School Cafe’: The Avengers: Celestial Madonna pt 3

Welcome to the third and final installment of The Avengers: Celestial 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 part three of this story, you will find some answers to questions about where The Vision actually came from, and what does it mean to be The Celestial Madonna for Mantis? All will be revealed plus a double-wedding to end it all with none other than _______ himself as the minister! Get ready for some time traveling, robot smashing, and Kree- Skrull origin telling good time right here, right now!!!

Alright, so at this point we have Earth’s Mightiest Heroes trapped in the depths of some creepy castle and being hunted down by Kang the Conqueror. He has used one of Immortus’s machines to conjure up some of the craziest villains of all time. We’ve seen Frankenstein fighting Thor, and that ended in a stalemate. The original Human Torch broil Iron Man, and The Ghost dispatch The Vision. Mantis, who has beaten her opponent, Midnight, is left holding The Vision in her arms as his “life” is about to be extinguished.

After The Vision convinces a sobbing Mantis to go and warn the other Avengers, we see her attacked once again by Midnight. She listens to him talk about how great a martial artist he is, and then proceeds to smack him around and even deals out a groin shot for good measure (page 111 of the graphic novel). When she turns around, she sees that The Vision is gone. This is due to the fact that Frankenstein came along and picked him up out of compassion. Meanwhile, Hawkeye is watching from a nearby corridor and devises his own plan of action. One quick side-note here; Throughout this issue, Zemo keeps questioning Kang about everything and how he wants to find Captain America, that star-spangled schwein-hund (pig-dog). Every time Zemo mutters something you can literally see Kang’s patience running thinner. Finally he tells him, “Something a creature even he can understand, shut up or else”! Just as Kang is laying a verbal beat down on Zemo though, Thor comes barreling around the corner and starts to give Kang a beating. Thor has just seen the dead body of Iron Man you see, and he is infuriated to the point of madness. Wonder Man tries to stop Thor but he doesn’t last very long either.

As all this wild action is going on elsewhere, we see Hawkeye enter the control center where Rama-Tut and Immortus are being held captive. Before Hawkeye can set them free though, Zemo reaches the room and stops him. Zemo uses his families secret, Adhesive X, to stop him in his tracks. Immortus sees this and uses his wit to distract Zemo and Hawkeye uses this chance to hit the switch with a well placed arrow. Thor starts to once again close in on Kang and Wonder Man after they ran off. Kang tells Wonder Man to slow Thor down so he can escape and formulate a new plan. Just as a new brawl is about to begin, Torch and Frankenstein show up and Thor is ready to throw down with all of them. Torch explains that he and “Franky” are done fighting and reveal that they have saved The Vision’s life. Kang quickly exits while Wonder Man takes a beating from Thor and Vision. Once Hawkeye sets Immortus and Rama-Tut free they reduce Zemo to a pile of goo on the floor. The whole team is distraught about Iron Man though but Immortus tells them that because Limbo exists outside of time, that he can restore his life. After Immortus restores Iron Man, he also sends the undead back to their graves as well. The team seems to be happy but Mantis is still left wondering about her place in the Universe and Rama-Tut tells her, “To thine own self be true”, then vanishes back to his own time. Vision is also left to ponder how in the world The Original Human Torch knew how to fix his lifeless body.

In the next issue, we see The Scarlet Witch and Agatha Harkness trying to sharpen Wanda’s newly acquired powers of witchcraft. Wanda wishes the Avengers were back from Vietnam but Agatha tells her they are no longer on this Earth! This is true and her teammates are about to embark on an even wilder journey in this segment. The team is left to ask Immortus of The Vision’s origins and he explains to them that Vision is going to see his beginnings alone. Immortus then gives Vision a “Synchro-Staff”, that will enable him to transcend time and space to learn his true beginnings. Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Mantis, then receive a staff of their own that will show their shrouded ancestral roots. The two expeditions go their separate ways, and we also see Moondragon rocketing through space. As she receives a message intended for Mar-Vell (Captain Marvel), she decides to go to Avengers Mansion to see what’s going on.

After The Vision travels through time, he sees a past instance when a Sentinel scanned him and said he was over three decades old.  Not understanding it at the time, he now knows something isn’t right with his memory and presses forward to 1939. He sees a brilliant scientist and inventor, Professor Phineas T. Horton (Marvel Comics #1), showing off his newest invention. The Professor reveals his “synthetic man” to the press but it quickly bursts into flames upon making contact with oxygen. The press calls for him to destroy it but he tells them that will solve nothing, so he seals his invention in steel then in quick drying cement. We see how some time later, the compartment develops a small leak and The Torch escapes and goes out of control wreaking havoc all over the city. The robot has enough programming though to try and stop himself by diving into a pool.

Next we see the ghost of the Swordsman talking to Libra (one time member of The Zodiac and trained by the Priests of Pama). They talk of everything going according to plan but then Libra reveals that the reason he’s so concerned is because Mantis is his daughter. Meanwhile, we see Mantis and her group arrive at the Kree homeworld of Hala. We learn of how they are and always have been a race of warriors and conquerors. The Synchro-Staff tells of another race though that inhabits Hala called The Cotati. They’re a race of plant-like beings that are peaceful and have highly developed brains that enables them to communicate telepathically. At one point in their history, both races see a ship drop out of the sky. This is the beginning of a millennium spanning war between the Kree and the ship’s inhabitants, The Skrulls! At this time, the Skrulls tell the two races that they are not war-like but rather technology is their driving force, so they propose a test to see which race is better. They take 17 Kree and 17 Cotati to the moon and whichever race succeeds the most in bettering themselves will be considered the winners and receive an allotment of technology from the Skrull empire. One year passes and the Skrulls return to find that the Kree have built a giant structure (now known as the city on the Blue Area of the Moon where The Watcher once lived). The Skrulls seem impressed so they take the Kree home but the Kree think that the Cotati have left a better impression so under the cover of night, they attack and kill the Cotati. The next morning when the Skrulls return to grant one of the races the power they are told by the Kree that the problem is settled because they killed their opponents. The Skrulls are shocked at the barbaric act of the Kree and tell them they will not be giving them any technology. The Kree then respond by murdering the Skrulls and taking their technology to advance their own sinister needs. This is how the Kree-Skrull War started millenia ago.

In the next segment, the group sees how the two races, The Kree and The Skrulls, wage war on every front and across many galaxies. We also see the beginnings of a group of Kree that are pacifists but are driven underground by their more brutal brothers. While underground, they train themselves in all types of martial arts to defend themselves against their oppressors. One day while training, they make a startling discovery: There was a group of Cotati that had survived the Kree’s brutal attack that fateful night many years ago! At this time, the Cotati and the pacifists form an alliance. We then peek in on The Vision while he is now watching in 1949 how the Torch and his partner Toro are fighting crime, but eventually the Torch goes nova and is seemingly destroyed. We then see the Kree pacifists attacked by the violent group but this time they defend themselves. They survive the battle but are eventually exiled to a barren planet that is to be their prison forever. Some time later the Star-Stalker makes his way to the planet and starts to wreak havoc. The pacifists use their wits to drive him away and also learn a valuable lesson of self preservation.

In the next scene, Moondragon finally reaches Avengers Mansion and then along with Jarvis, tries to contact the other Avengers. While trying to reach their friends, Jarvis and Moondragon are attacked by the Scarlet Witch, who seems to be under a hypnotic spell. After that interlude, we see The Vision watching as The Mad Thinker (a Fantastic Four Villain) finds the body of the long buried android Human Torch. He wants to use him for his own evil endeavors but the Fantastic Four stop him. The Vision next sees the android body abducted by none other than Ultron. The next panel shows the pacifist Kree talking with The Supreme Intelligence and warning him of the Star-Stalker. He tells them he will let them leave the prison planet but they have to agree to go around the universe and grant other cultures protection in his name. We then see the Kree pacifists and the Cotati make their way to Earth, specifically Vietnam. The spot where the Avengers buried the Swordsman is where they arrived and planted the Cotati. At that very moment, the team is transported to that very spot and are greeted by Libra and the ghost of the Swordsman!

We have seen the beginnings of the Kree-Skrull War, now we’ll see the day The Vision was born. In the lab of Henry Pym, he has several automated machines doing work for him but one of them specifically is a learning robot and decides that it should work for itself rather than be Pym’s lackey. The machine wants to have a “son” so it obtains the android body of the original Human Torch, and then The Vision is born. Next we see the Avengers finding out from Libra and the Swordsman’s ghost about Mantis’ origin but Moondragon interrupts and they ask her why she has come to Earth. She explains the distress call for Mar-Vell but then that she doesn’t know why she came in his stead. She then tells everyone how she came to be who she is. She tells how Thanos destroyed her family but she was rescued by his father, Mentor, who then raised her on Titan. We next see Ultron creating The Vision with the reluctant help of Professor Horton. The Professor doesn’t tell Ultron though that he intentionally failed to remove the brain patterns of the Torch so he goes berserk and destroys the lab. Eventually, Ultron kills Professor Horton and subdues Vision as well. He then installs the brain patterns of Wonder Man into The Vision to make him more susceptible to his commands. After doing so though, Vision is confused and slips away to start his own life. At this time, Vision returns to Immortus because he remembers his life from this point on.

Jarvis is still at the Mansion with the Scarlett Witch and Agatha Harkness practicing their witchcraft. All of a sudden, he hears a scream, then laughter. He barrels into the room to find it empty though. Unbeknownst to him and the others, the Dread Dormammu has kidnapped them both. The Vision soon finds this out though as he is stopped short of Immortus’ lair and ends up in the Dark Dimension of Dormammu. The rest of the team knows Vision is overdue so Immortus leaves to go search for him while Mantis finds out that she, The Celestial Madonna, is basically the perfect human and that she was chosen over Moondragon because of her humanity. Swordsman tells the team how the two candidates were put on similar courses to see who would be worthy in the end. Mantis was given a false set of memories while Moondragon stayed in the temple on Titan, and that is why neither of them knew this charade was going on. Mantis was selected because she chose to leave her temple to go out in the world and be with other people and Moondragon didn’t. Everything seems to be cool until the team heads outside for some fresh air and discovers the three super villains that were policing this area of Vietnam earlier in our tale. They’ve been beaten to  a pulp by Kang!

We then see The Vision and The Scarlett Witch outwit Dormammu along with Agatha Harkness’ help. The Avengers then seek out Kang but only find some robot dupes of his. Swordsman then tells mantis that she is to be married to the Cotati that has been waiting for her to blossom and become the Madonna. He reanimated himself as the Swordsman because Mantis was in love with him when he was alive. After she agrees to marry him (yes she marries a tree who looks like Swordsman), Kang makes his move and abducts Mantis and then flees in his time machine. After a few minutes of scrambling, Immoruts tells everyone to calm down because he tricked Kang and had Mantis hidden and put a Space Phantom in her place. In the end, Vision and Scarlett Witch agree to make it a double wedding so the ceremony goes down with Immortus serving as the priest, and Kang is left going off the deep end because he’s left empty handed again.

This story is by far my favorite Avengers story for a multitude of reasons. Kang, Immortus, Ram-Tut, Thor vs. Frankenstein, Zemo’s constant whining even when he’s a zombie- I could go on all day but I won’t. This is a fantastic story so if you can pick up the Trade Paperback, then I suggest buying it immediately. That’s quite enough for now but I’ll be back here next week for another look inside a Silver Age treasure!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. Woah, now that’s a summary!!

  2. Billy

    @Andy-LoL, Yeah, I could go on all day about that story and also to be honest, I was in quite a hurry last week and cut it short. The first 2/3 paragraphs in this installment should really have been in last weeks. 🙂

  3. One thing I never understood: How is Immortus officiating at the wedding of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch a legally binding marriage in the United States? Or anywhere else for that matter?

    Cool storyline otherwise. I’ve always loved the Legion of the Unliving!

  4. Billy

    @Bill-Maybe the marriage is only recognized in Limbo. lol – Yeah, The Legion is way cool. I know the scene doesn’t last long but Thor vs. Frankenstein!?! Are you kdding me? When has any other comic book had such a battle between 2 heavyweights from different genres like that!?!

  5. Whew! Very good man lol Seeing some of these covers really took me back man

  6. Billy

    @Speech-I love these 70’s stories and covers! To me, comics in this era (Silver) were the best of times. Now, that’s not knocking any other period mind you, but I do think these stories stand the test of time best!

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