Friday, May 29, 2009

Retro-View: Captain Marvel #43 (Marvel Comics)

Captain Marvel #43 (March 1976) is written by Steve Englehart and illustrated by Al Milgrom, who also drew the front cover, which features a pretty neat battle between Mar-Vell and Drax, but one other terrific creator contributed something to this issue.

The great Bernie Wrightson inked Milgrom's pencils on the cover, and his work really makes that cover image "pop". Coming shortly after Jim Starlin left the series, this pairing of Milgrom & Wrightson sorta evokes the Starlin issues - at least for me.

"Destroy! Destroy" begins with the Captain and his sidekick Rick Jones, taking a ride through space on a robot horse, dont' ask, but needless to say, a situation that continues from the previous issue. Suddenly we are treated to the thought processes of the Kree Supreme Intelligence, who has detected the destruction of both a planet and it's sun, by the android called Drax the Destroyer. It seems that Drax is acting out his rage over Mar-vell's recent defeat of Thanos, the Titanian born Eternal who caused the death of Drax's human body and his rebirth in his new form. Drax was all about revenging himself on the Titan, and now he has a good mad on for Mar-Vell to fill the void.

Well, the Supreme Intelligence takes matters into this own hand and stretches his mental influence across the galaxy cluing the Destroyer into where he can locate Mar-Vell and then his brain waves cause the Captain's metallic steed to buck poor Rick off and forces Marvel to land his "ride" on a nearby alien planetoid.

While there, Mar-Vell and Rick have a few words over the direction their lives have taken and Rick strikes off on his own for some quiet time. Meanwhile, the Destroyer plummets through the atmosphere and is just on the verge of laying a wallop on Mar-Vell, when the Kree Warriors "cosmic awareness" kicks in long enough for him to roll out of the way. After the two heroes engage in the requisite scrape, the Captain thinks that he has knocked Drax out, but then the Destroyer informs Mar-Vell that it is both his blessing and his curse to be virtually invincible.

Before we get to the end of their fight, we are shown how Rick has encountered a mysterious beauty, appearing again from events of the previous issue, and this saucy siren plays coy games in order to coax Rick into doffing his space helmet, and while initially reluctant to do so, Rick gets "teased" just enough to give it a go, when what do you know, off comes the helmet and down goes Rick.

The action skips back to the conclusion of the Mar-Vell and Drax bout, with the Captain getting bodily smashed into several asteroids, and then he is physically tossed back into the planets atmosphere showing the effects of heating up from re-entry. Drax is the winner, by a knockout!

Boy, you would be hard pressed to find something this fun on the stands these days. If you have any interest in this title, issues can easily be found at affordable prices. I bought this one for $3 in a back issue bin. It's condition would grade at fine+, and I would much rather pay three dollars for a cool back issue over anything off the stands today, but that's just me.

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