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Captain Marvel #31: Review

Mar 1974
Jim Starlin, Jim Starlin

Story Name:

The beginning of the end

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Captain Marvel #31 Review by (December 17, 2013)
The Avengers are fighting Drax because they say he broke in to the mansion. But at the end of last issue he just asked Jarvis to let him in to talk to Captain Marvel or Iron Man. Thanos claims that he has had to spend some time cleansing the Cosmic Cube of contamination (in its last appearance in Sub-Mariner #49) which made it only a weapon of destruction not also of creation. The 1-panel shot of members of Thanos' spaceforce shows single examples of many of the races seen in #27:- Aakon, Alpha Centaurian, Badoon, Rigellian, Sagittarian, Skrull, Xeronian and the not-really-aliens from Amazing Spider-Man #2. But no Haab or Stonian. Instead there are also a Queega from Daredevil #28, a Tribbitite from Hulk #2, possibly an Astran like metal Master from Hulk #6, an Archeopian Wmnderer from Thor #160, a Gramosian like Mercurio the 4-D Man from Thor #208, and an armoured servant of the Overlord from an alternate timeline in Silver Surfer #6. Plus 2 more I can't place. What can I say about the science behind a moon held in orbit by a cosmic gyro, which goes wandering around erratically when the gyro is stopped? So I won't say anything.

Captain Marvel has been in Marvel Team-Up #16-17 and Daredevil #107 since #30. In DD#107 he encountered Moondragon. Moondragon appeared in DD#103,105-108 since her debut in Iron Man #54 as Madame MacEvil. DD#105 includes her origin drawn by Jim Starlin. As a young Earth girl she was orphaned by a car crash. (In this telling Mentor claims she was an accidental casualty of a Titanian mission to Earth, and a Titanian called Emlot brought her to Titan.) She was initially brought up with Eros and Thanos, but then sent to a Shao-Lom monastery to save her from Thanos' bad influence. There she learned mental and physical skills. Grown-up Thanos recently conquered Titan, as relayed in #26. Moondragon escaped to Earth, where she discovered that Thanos had Thralls (presumably those subjected to Controller's control-discs). She attempted to find heroes who could oppose Thanos. To this end she tested Iron Man and Sub-Mariner by pitting them against each other in IM#54. Since then she allied herself with someone who persuaded her that Daredevil and most of San Francisco were Thralls. (This was DD's outwardly-philanthropic enemy Kerwin Broderick.) She used her genetic skills to create certain superhumans who oppose DD. But now she scanned DD's mind and discovered he was 1 of the good guys. In DD#106-107 Moondragon helped DD against her creations, including a Titanian monster Terrex, which CM joined them against in DD#107, after MTU#16-17. Then CM left them, and MD stayed with DD for #108 before heading back into space. Which is where CM has fetched her from here.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain Marvel #31 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Captain Marvel enters Avengers Mansion with Moondragon to find Drax the Destroyer holding his own against Black Panther, Mantis, Swordsman and Vision. He stops the fray and lets Drax explain that the Titan computer ISAAC says Thanos has the Cosmic Cube. Vision calls in Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch and Thor to hear Drax's tale. CM also summarises the events of #25-30 (some of which involved the Avengers anyway).

On Titan Thanos overhears this via the Cube, as he gloats over his captive brother Eros and father Mentor. He decides that Drax, Iron Man, Mar-Vell and Moondragon, who know stuff about him, must die, leaving the Avengers impotent to stop him. He then reveals that his campaign of conquest and destruction is all for love of his constant companion, whom others can't see. We get the clearest hints yet that she is Death.

Thanos now teleports his 4 targets away from the Avengers to Titan, and traps them in bio-electric fields such as hold Eros and Mentor. Now he shows his captives how he will send his spacefleet against Earth, and then use that as a base to conquer the universe. And caps it by showing them Kronos, the incorporeal Titan creator/god, in chains.

Back on Earth Scarlet Witch breaks the news to Rick Jones' girlfriend Lou-Ann that his alter-ego Captain Marvel has been kidnapped by Thanos. Lou-Ann is still recovering at the Mansion after being a slave of the Controller. And on Titan CM strains to bring his wristbands together inside the containment field, and succeeds in swapping places with Rick in the Negative Zone. And the resulting surge of energy disrupts the field, freeing all the heroes.

Rick quickly reverts to Mar-Vell, and all but Mentor attack Thanos, trying unsuccessfully to prevent him from using the Cosmic Cube. Mentor instead mentally contacts ISAAC and gets the computer to switch off the 'cosmic gyro' which keeps the ruined moon in orbit around Saturn. And the small planet lurches off into space.

Mar-Vell's new Cosmic Awareness alerted him to what would happen, and he uses the moment of instability to kick the Cube out of Thanos' hand. Eros, Iron Man and Drax fail to stop the villain trying to reach the cosmic bauble. CM lasts longer, but even he is felled by the mad Titan. Thanos grabs the Cube as Moondragon wages Mind War against him. Until she collapses in defeat.

Thanos uses the Cube to bind his foes with chains of astral energy, and return Titan to its orbit. Then he uses it for the real purpose he wanted it. Sheathed in coruscating energy he disappears. The heroes are freed and the Cube falls at their feet.

But Thanos has not been destroyed. Instead his visage appears in space outside the planetoid. And he tells them he asked the Cube to transform him into a god, omniscient and omnipresent.


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Jim Starlin
Al Milgrom
Jim Starlin
Jim Starlin (Cover Penciler)
Jim Starlin (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski.
Editor: Roy Thomas.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Drax
Drax

(Drax the Destroyer)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Death, Eros, Kronos, Lou-Ann Savannah, Mentor of Titan, Moondragon.