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Avengers #124: Review

Jun 1974
Steve Englehart, John Buscema

Story Name:

Beware the Star-Stalker

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #124 Review by (December 11, 2013)
John Buscema was the penciller for #121. Now he's back for 2 issues with Dave Cockrum as inker. Then Bob Brown will return for a final issue #126 (keeping Dave Cockrum). This issue suggests that the Kree pacifists took the name Priests of Pama on Earth. But later we will find that all the Kree pacifists are called this, and Pama is a planet - maybe the prison planet. Star-Stalker is a mutant of a race called the Vorm. Another will appear in Power Pack. But this Star-Stalker claims to be the 1 the Kree pacifists defeated, so they must live a long time. Star-Stalker must have reacted very quickly to get to Earth and the temple of Pama between Khruul's men killing the Priests and the Avengers arriving there! There's a contradiction here. The Star-Stalker claims that the Priests of Pama kept him from eating inhabited worlds. But part of Mantis' deduction is that the Stalker targeted lifeless ones, because it didn't like heat.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #124 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Avengers (Black Panther, Iron Man, Thor and Vision) along with Mantis and Libra have come to Viet Nam to look into Libra's claim to be Mantis' father. They found the Priests of Pama (who Libra claims brought Mantis up from a baby and trained her in martial arts) murdered by Monsieur Khruul (who Libra claims is her uncle). Mantis denies all this. But Khruul himself was killed by something he called the Star-Stalker.

The team search the temple and Mantis somehow knows a hidden door which leads them to a room containing a large talking dragon. The dragon easily fends off their attacks, even feeding on Iron Man's repulsor rays. Then in true triumphant villain fashion the Star-Stalker tells them its life-story and explains its plan.

The Priests of Pama are actually members of a pacifist sect of the Kree. Millennia ago the warlike Kree exiled their pacifists to a sunless prison planet. Then the Star-Stalker came and told them he was going to consume their planet. He wove himself a cocoon and was reborn in a new fiery form which could gradually absorb the planet. But the pacifists found a way to defeat him.

Afterwards the Kree pacifists managed to report what they had done to the Kree Supreme Intelligence, but weren't believed. So they split up and went to every known inhabited world, where they founded sects who could protect the worlds from Star-Stalkers. The Stalker daren't attack any of these worlds, and had to content itself with lifeless ones. But now that the Priests of Pama were dead the Stalker was free to consume Earth.

As the Stalker spins his cocoon Thor likens him to Galactus, whom the alien strangely has never heard of. Libra begs Mantis to try to remember if the Priests taught her the secret of stopping the dragon. Mantis still doesn't believe what he says about her early life, but the situation is desperate so she concentrates, to no avail. Vision wonders if Zodiac's Star-Blaster would affect the dragon. Panther uses the radio in the quinjet to contact Cornelius Van Lunt in prison to find out how it works.

Back in Saigon the injured Swordsman refuses to let Scarlet Witch take him to hospital. Instead he bemoans the fact that under torture he told Khruul about the Priests. The greatest in the line of failures in the eyes of his love Mantis.

Meanwhile Mantis is talking to Vision, who Swordsman sees as a rival for her affections. She claims to have grown up as a street orphan in Saigon, and picked up her martial arts skills there. But she is beginning to accept that Libra seems to know what he's talking about.

SHIELD bring the Star-Blaster/starship, and Iron Man and Black Panther fix the damage the Avengers did to it in #120. Just in time as the reborn Star-Stalker emerges from its cocoon and the temple. But the Blaster just feeds the monster more energy.

The Avengers and Libra attack the dragon, and the males are quickly rendered unconscious. Mantis appears to have more success, and the Stalker remarks that her fighting style is that of the Kree. But then suddenly she works out the secret! Mantis tells Vision to use his solar eye-beams, and the alien falls dead!

Mantis explains that the Star-Stalker had attacked the Kree pacifists on a sunless planet, and here it only attacked at night (which I don't actually see evidence of). Also it had never heard of the universally-famous Galactus, so presumably didn't frequent populated worlds (ie it stuck to cold lifeless ones). So Vision's solar heat rays would be deadly to it.

Mantis claims to have deduced this, but Vision wonders if she actually remembered it. Mantis admits she knew where the hidden door in the temple was, and sensed the Star-Stalker behind it. And the dragon didn't seem to be able to harm her. So she's beginning to fear there's something wrong with her memory.


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John Buscema
Dave Cockrum
George Roussos
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.
Editor: Roy Thomas.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Libra, Star-Stalker, Taurus (Cornelius Van Lunt).