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Avengers Annual #7: Review

Nov 1977
Jim Starlin, Jim Starlin

Story Name:

The final threat

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Avengers Annual #7 Review by (October 8, 2014)
The last Avengers issue before this was #166, but the last time the whole team was assembled was Super-Villain Team-Up #14, with Beast continuing that story into Champions #16. The only other appearances of Avengers since then have been Iron Man's own #95-109, with Yellowjacket guesting in the last 2. Yellowjacket's not here, and neither are Wasp and Wonder Man. Starcore is a space station built to study the Sun. It as launched in Hulk #148 and appeared in this title in #102-103. Chris Claremont was involved in all these issues, and took his invention with him to Uncanny X-Men. The man speaking from the satellite is probably Dr Peter Corbeau. The assembled heroes mull over the situation en route to the spacefleet, including:- Moondragon remembers being orphaned by Thanos and adopted by his father Mentor on Titan, and then being a candidate with Mantis for Celestial Madonna in this series. Iron Man remembers clashing with Thanos thrice before (IM#55, CM#27-30 then the Cosmic Cube story starting, for him, in Av#125). Thor hopes to face Thanos personally this time - in the Cosmic Cube tale the Avengers only fought another of his spacefleets. For Thanos' earlier mercenaries Starlin used lots of already-known alien races. But this time he seems to have made them all up from scratch. The Avengers (and friends) assembled here will continue on into MTIO An#2, and they will be rejoined by their missing teammates in #167. But in between Iron Man and Yellowjacket will guest in CM#56, and Thor in the following issue.

After some irrelevant stuff in #12-14 Starlin brought Thanos and Gamora back in Warlock #15. The reader learnt of Thanos' planned stellar genocide. Thanos sent Gamora to find Warlock, partly to keep her out of the way but also because he needed Warlock for his plans. Gamora's spaceship was then totalled by Destroyer, who was looking for Thanos as usual. But this was not what left Gamora in the state we find her here. Then the series was cancelled. Warlock was then seen in Marvel Team-Up #55 (not by Starlin but obviously with his connivance). There the Stranger revealed that Warlock's Gem was 1 of 6 Soul Gems. Stranger had 1 and sought the others. He clashed with Warlock and a new character the Gardener (not yet revealed to be an Elder of the Universe), who had a 3rd Gem. This brings us up to date. It is claimed here that Thanos had already got the power he needed from Warlock's Soul Gem during the Magus affair, so he didn't really need Gamora to find Adam in W#15. Presumably Starlin had a slightly different plan for events if the Warlock series had continued.

W#10 explained that after he lost his godhood in CM#33 Thanos returned to his corporeal state drifting in space (and here we learn that his spaceship picked him up). W#10 also told us that Thanos needed to keep Warlock alive because he had plans for the Soul Gem (plans which are now seeing fruition). Also that Thanos had taken Gamora (last survivor of the Zen-Whoberis, a race destroyed by Magus' religious zealots) and transformed her into a warrior capable of killing Magus. But in #11 Warlock ended the threat of Magus by going forward in time (to now) and absorbing himself into the Soul Gem (as he does here), thus preventing the future Magus from existing. #11 also involved the In-Betweener who claimed to work for Order and Chaos, who are also mentioned in this issue and will appear in MTIO An#2. After reality is changed no-one remembers the Magus and his fanatical Church except those who were at the centre of the change. Paradoxical aspects of this are ignored, especially if there was no Church then there was no Zen-Whoberi genocide and Thanos didn't train Gamora to be the deadliest woman in the galaxy. A different Universal Church of Truth will feature in the future-set 1990 GotG. Another version will resurrect Thanos and Magus in the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy. Before that Magus will be recreated as Warlock's evil half in the Infinity War mini-series, and later crop up as a foe of Captain Marvel's son Genis-Vell.

This story (here and in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2) is written and pencilled by Jim Starlin, and is a continuation and culmination of his work on Thanos and Warlock most of which he also pencilled as well as wrote. On this site we have already seen Thanos' appearances in Iron Man, Avengers and selected issues of Captain Marvel, ending the Cosmic Cube saga in CM#33. Meanwhile Warlock was born as Him, the perfect human created by the Enclave in Fantastic Four #66-67. After a bout with Thor in Thor #165-166 he teamed up with the High Evolutionary who dubbed him (Adam) Warlock and gave him the Soul Gem in Marvel Premiere #1. This began his adventures on Counter-Earth which spread to his own 8-issue series and some Hulk issues. Then Starlin took over Warlock's life and pitted him against an evil future version of himself called Magus, head of the militant Universal Church of Truth. This happened in #178-181 of a revived Strange Tales, continuing in #9-11 of his own revived series. He picked up allies Pip the Troll in ST#179 and Gamora the deadliest woman in the galaxy in ST#180, and then her employer/adoptive father Thanos in W#9.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers Annual #7 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Adam Warlock discovers Gamora dying on a planetoid. She tells him that Thanos left her to die because she discovered he was planning stellar genocide - to destroy all the stars and hence all the people in the universe. Then she dies, and Warlock takes her into his Soul Gem.

We learn that Chaos and Order have told Warlock that his erstwhile ally Thanos is dangerously evil and he was born to oppose him.

Warlock heads for Earth and Avengers Mansion. Inside we find Beast, Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor and Vision. Iron Man (of all people) has a presentiment of danger, confirmed by the arrival of Captain Marvel and Moondragon. Moondragon senses the death of a distant star. And Warlock pops up, whom only Thor recognises (as Him).

Warlock tells them the star was killed by Thanos. He reminds them and the reader of the villain's history. Born on Titan he allied himself with his love Death and raised an army to destroy his birthplace. Then he led this army on an orgy of destruction until he acquired the Cosmic Cube and made himself a god. But he was defeated by the Avengers, Captain Marvel and Moondragon.

We learn now that Thanos' inert body was retrieved by his spaceship. But Death abandoned him because of his failure. So he set out to find a way to win her back, and he learned of the 6 Soul Gems which combined would give him the power he needed.

He stole 1 Gem from the Stranger, and found another abandoned by the Gardener on the Moon. The other 3 also came into his grasp. But he feared Warlock's Soul Gem because it had the ability to steal souls. So he allied himself with Warlock against the Magus and meanwhile slowly siphoned off enough of that Gem's power for his needs.

Now he has combined this power with the other 5 Gems to create a super-Gem. But Gamora, who had escaped a clash with Drax the Destroyer, returned to Thanos' ship Sanctuary and discovered what he was up to. Thanos killed her, which brings us to the beginning of this issue.

Warlock tells the Avengers that Thanos intends to blow up every star in the universe as an offering to his love Death. (He learned most of the above when he absorbed Gamora's soul.)

Meanwhile on Sanctuary Warlock's pal Pip the Troll pops in for a visit. And Thanos wipes his mind clean.

Back on Earth the Avengers get a call from the Starcore satellite to warn them that a huge space armada is approaching Earth. Warlock flies off, and the others follow in Moondragon's spaceship.

Iron Man and Thor leave the ship to smash a way through to Thanos' flagship where the following team hope to destroy his star-killer. Once on that ship Captain Marvel blasts a way in, and the Avengers are soon up to their necks in aliens. But Marvel has the nagging feeling their progress is too easy.

Eventually CM breaks through a door which he thinks will lead to the centre of the ship. Inside he finds Warlock, and the vacant-eyed Pip. Adam takes his friend's soul into his Gem. And learns that Thanos and his star-killer are actually in a duplicate Sanctuary spaceship on the other side of the Sun.

Marvel and Warlock quickly fly there, and CM smashes Thanos' ray-projector, knocking himself out in the process. Warlock is left alone to face the master villain. But Thanos easily bests him.

Thanos leaves the beaten body on the floor, and takes his giant Gem to find another ray-projector. But on the way he is confronted by Iron Man and Thor. As Thor and Thanos face off, the Golden Avenger destroys the Gem. His plan foiled, Thanos warps himself away.

As Mar-Vell regains consciousness he sees a strange scene - a scene we have seen before in Warlock #11. Warlock comes from the past and absorbs his dying self into the Soul Gem, to prevent him becoming the evil Magus.

As the 3 survivors head back to help mop up the rest of the alien fleet, we see Adam greeted by Gamora and Pip in the paradise inside the Soul Gem. And all the other folk absorbed by the Gem are there too, no longer his enemies.

This story is continued in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #2.


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> Avengers Annual: Book info and issue index

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Jim Starlin
Joe Rubinstein
Petra Goldberg
Jim Starlin (Cover Penciler)
Jim Starlin (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski.
Editor: Archie Goodwin.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Moondragon, Pip the Troll.