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Captain Marvel #33: Review

Jul 1974
Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin

Story Name:

The god himself

Review & Comments

5 stars

Captain Marvel #33 Review by (December 24, 2013)
You can't keep a good villain down, so Starlin will bring Thanos back in Warlock #9. W#10 will explain that at the end of this issue he actually dwindled to his original body floating in the centre of the universe. (I won't comment that such a concept is meaningless.) These appearances will lead into his 1st involvement with the Infinity Gems. The Cosmic Cube also isn't destroyed, and will return in the hands of Project Pegasus im Marvel Two-In-One #42. Eventually we will learn that there are multiple such Cubes in the universe, and that they evolve into sentient beings. Thanos himself won't get involved with a Cosmic Cube again until the 1st Avengers Assembled arc. After all they've been through Lou-Ann and Rick will split up next issue. And Captain Marvel will be hit by the gas dose that will eventually kill him.

Jim Starlin plots this issue, written by Steve Englehart. I believe the recap here is the 1st place to say that Thanos killed his mother Sui-San. Here she died when he destroyed most of Titanian civilisation. Much later in Thanos Rising it will say that he killed her as a medical experiment. The visuals show the Avengers arriving on the Mansion roof and then vanishing. This is somewhat misleading, as the team should have been out-of-phase before they landed. Maybe Thanos the god was spying on where they were (an empty copy of Earth?), and then left them there to return to the time-shifted Earth. Lack of worshippers doesn't seem to affect the Asgardians and the Olympians.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain Marvel #33 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This story happens alongside and after AVENGERS (1963) #125.

This issue begins with a recap of Thanos' history so far, culminating in him using the Cosmic Cube to turn into a god in #31. But at then end of last issue Rick Jones taunted Thanos into retaking a physical form in order to salve his ego by defeating Captain Marvel in man-to-man combat.

Now Rick swaps bodies with Mar-Vell in the Negative Zone, and the fight is on. But even with the enhanced senses and reflexes given him by Eon in #29, CM is no match for Thanos' god-like powers.

After beating our hero unconscious Thanos looks outside to see the evidence of an ongoing space-battle, including a spaceship crashing into New York as seen in Av#125. In that issue the Avengers went to face Thanos' spacefleet. The master-villain now muses that he despatched the fleet just to lure the Avengers off-Earth. He doesn't really care who wins because the Cube has given him the power to conquer the universe.

Thanos leaves, and CM awakes to be confronted by the holographic form of the Titanian computer ISAAC. ISAAC indicates the drained Cube where Rick Jones dropped it. He suggests that Mar-Vell should use his new cosmic awareness.

We now see the final scene of Av#125. The victorious Avengers (Black Panther, Captain America, Iron Man, Mantis, Scarlet Witch, Swordsman, Thor and Vision) have returned to Avengers Mansion in their quinjet, watched by a hidden Thanos. But while they were away Thanos shifted the Earth a second ahead in time. So the team are now out-of-phase with the rest of the planet.

Another interlude on Titan shows us Mentor and Moondragon freeing the surviving (17 out of 114) Titanians.

Back on Earth Captain Marvel gets a visit from a ghostly Mantis. She has figured out what Thanos did and used her perfect control of mind and body to attune herself to Mar-Vell's cosmic awareness. CM now knows he's on his own.

But not quite! A mere time-shift can't keep Drax the Destroyer from his appointed target! As he attacks Thanos' still-corporeal form, CM spots the conflict and joins in. But the villain switches back to his insubstantial god-form, but still firing physical eye-blasts. And then he launches a skyscraper at them.

Mar-Vell realises that Thanos could destroy them in an eye-blink if he wanted. He must be playing with them to feed his ego. Leaving Drax to keep him amused, CM flies back to ISAAC, Mantis and the Cube.

They have all reached the conclusion that Thanos the god should need worshippers to feed his power. But he has none except possibly his mysterious companion (who still hasn't been named as Death). So they reason that his power must still be coming from the Cosmic Cube. And discarding it in #31 was a way of hiding that fact.

They're proved right, as angry Thanos attacks them. Captain Marvel drops the Cube. Thanos twists reality to stop him regaining it, but cosmic awareness leads CM through the maze. The mad god rapidly ages him, but the dying hero destroys the Cube with a karate chop. And Thanos dwindles to non-existence.

Then we see the face of Thanos' hooded paramour turn into a laughing skull, with a screaming Thanos in her eye-socket. And in the text that follows it is said that Thanos worshipped Death, so not even Death could worship him.

Reality returns to normal and the Avengers, Drax and Mar-Vell meet. But Drax now has no purpose in life, because he was created to hunt Thanos.

Jim Starlin
Klaus Janson
Jim Starlin
Jim Starlin (Cover Penciler)
Jim Starlin (Cover Inker)
Plot: . Letterer: Tom Orzechowski.
Editor: Roy Thomas.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel


(Drax the Destroyer)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


Plus: Mentor of Titan.

> Captain Marvel: Book info and issue index

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