Aug 19, 2008

[Comics] The Avengers: Kree-Skrull War

The Avengers: Kree-Skrull WarIn the course of my cruising the internet, I stumbled across an almost 14Gb torrent for most of the major Marvel cross-overs in the past 30 or so years. Although at the time I had only been looking for a copy of The Infinity Gauntlet, this seemed too tempting not to attempt to download. Thus in the coming weeks, expect to see me review a large number of marvel comic books, if only to keep pace with all the stories I now have access to.

Yes, even the hokey ones.

As a kid, I got into the Marvel trading cards mania that hit the country in general at the time. One of the events they would often document was the original Kree-Skrull war, as documented in The Avengers Vol. 1, issues 89-97 back in the 70's. It seemed like this epic conflict that really made a mark on the Marvel universe and so it seemed extremely fulfilling to the Marvel fanboy in my to finally get to read the story.

The story starts abruptly enough with the Avengers, mainly Vision, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, are trying to capture Captain Marvel (who happened to be a Kree exile) since his very presence and the amount of radiation that he emits from his time in the Negative Zone threatens the Earth. Eventually this led to coming to blows with Ronan the Accuser (also of the Kree) who had somehow usurped the powers of their super-computer of sorts, The Supreme Intelligence and saw the Earth as a potential outpost in their war against the Skrulls.

At the same time, a band of rogue Skrulls left stranded on Earth were also trying to further their plans as led by their leader, Super Skrull. The shape-shifters were also trying to gain control of Earth by taking over the US government. Thus the conflict was joined with the Earth heroes pretty much just caught in the middle of a larger conflict.

You can't imagine how hard it was to write that synopsis.

You have to understand that this story was written in 1971-1972, and thus the tone of the comic book reflects the times. It may seem campy in many ways but when you think about the complexity of the storyline presented here and what they were trying to accomplish, it was a pretty epic story indeed. The war eventually calls into play pretty much a dozen of the various members of the Avengers and of course the two alien races of the Kree and the Skrulls all battling over Earth.

Cover of The Avengers: The Kree-Skrull War tra...Image via Wikipedia What was great about the tale was how many plot twists they brought the readers through. I mean seriously, even for a veteran comic book reader like myself, the story was hard to predict until the very end and even then I had no idea things were going to wrap up the way they did. Sure, some bits were just stupid like how the Skrull exiles on Earth had been, well, stuck in the form of cows. Still, it was a pretty good story for the most part.

The were also a number of personal conflicts involved like the complex love between Vision and Scarlet Witch or Goliath 2 deciding to quit taking Henry Pym's growing formula in order to stop being a hero. The mania that would later be seen as the fear of Communism presented itself in a different way in the book as the fear of aliens living among humans and in their own way the writers were trying to explore many social concepts through their story.

Given how the current Secret Invasion storyline has become pretty epic in terms of the Marvel Universe, this book becomes all the more important in terms of essential marvel comic book reading in order to better understand some of the origins of the conflict in its more final form as seen in Secret Invasion.

In many ways I've always considered Marvel books to have pretty solid characters but sometimes hokey stories with DC Comics usually having hokey characters but great stories. Early works like this though give me pause and have me questioning whether or not that theory holds true anymore. This was a pretty interesting story, albeit sometimes told in an unconventional way, and worth your time to revisit regardless of your character preferences.

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