TheBitterGuy (thebitterguy) wrote,

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The Bitter Guide to the Kree/Skrull War

They sure did stuff differently back in the Silver Age, didn't they?

I picked up a trade paperback edition of the Kree/Skrull War story from Avengers 89-97. The story has been referenced frequently in the past, but I've never had the change to read it.

One of the highlights of this story arc has got to be the art. It's done by the Buscema brothers and Neal Adams, and if you need more Silver Age than that, you're not gonna find it. The Buscemas produce some classic Silver Age visuals to their parts of the story, while Adams' tight lines provide a nice contrast.

The storyline is also an interesting reflection of the era. It's a loose story, with various threads tying it together. Ronan the Accuser, of frequent appearances these days in Annihilation and the War of Kings, makes a few appearances, as does a Kree Sentry and the Inhumans and the Skrull Cows.

The Avengers in much of the series are an interesting mid-period iteration, composed of Vision, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Goliath II (Hawkeye on Pym Particles). During the course of the adventure, Captain America, Thor & Iron Man all make appearances, and in the end they get to take all the credit for saving humanity.

I'm tempted to check out the Skrullburgers FF issue (or the Skrull Kill Krew trade) to see if the fact that the Skrull Kow Kwartet were disposed of in this series garners a mention.

What's odd is that this story doesn't take place in the midst of the Kree/Skrull war. In fact, it takes place entirely on Earth, with Ronan trying to pull off a few strange plans that involve devolving humans and recruiting Inhumans, and the Skrulls breaking up the Avengers. Admittedly, the Skrull plot seems to consist purely of some Skrulls pretending to be Captain America, Thor & Iron Man and saying “we’re disbanding the Avengers! Right now! So get out!”

Of course, the finale of the story seems to be that the Avengers don't have anything to do with it. Sure, they beat up on Ronan, although Kree technology tends to explode at random, so who knows if he had a chance of doing anything other than turning some Alaskans into Neanderthals. What was amusing was that he seemed to flip from blue to pink Kree almost at random.

The Kree/Skrull War’s greatest quirk seems to be that the whole point of the thing was to get a human (any human, really) to the Supreme Intelligence so he could supercharge their brain and disable the Skrull and Kree armadas. Rick Jones just gets used because he's convenient.

What he planned to do AFTER that is a question the story never really answered, since freezing them won’t really interfere with their ability to make war, unless he freezes them permanently, and then it’s a case of Hey, Kids, Genocide!

There are oodles of great bits in the stories. Ant Man spends ten pages exploring the Vision’s innards after the android is attacked by Skrull Kows, accompanied by a trio of ants named Crosby, Stills & Nash (gaaaaah, the hipness, it burns).

Pym’s mental instability is readily obvious in these pages, as he wanders around the android’s body performing a steady monologue.

Goliath gets served with a summons after he goes to rescue an Avengers supporter who’s being harassed by one of the random mobs that tend to show up at Avengers Mansion to chastise them for whatever current ill they’re being blamed for (usually harbouring aliens or mutants or mutant aliens or alien mutants).

And, for some reason, SHIELD has a satellite with rockets that’ll get you to Pluto in half an hour or so. That, kids, was new and exciting for me. When did that go away? Carter era budget cuts? Nick Fury name checks the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (burning hipness… continues).

We also get a couple cameos by Annihilus (who is made a bitch in short order, twice, once by the Junior Avengers and once by Rick Jones’ Brain, which would be a bitchin’ band name).

Aside from the flaming hipness and the fact that the action of the story seems to be located somewhere far off of Earth, the story is an enjoyable one. There’s glimmerings of the future Vision/Scarlet Witch romance (is it still off? Back on? Are both of them dead? Isn’t the Vision just a giant iPod for the Young Avengers are this point?), and the war arc winds its way through a series of shiny adventures in a variety of neat locales (the defrosting north, Attilan, and the SHIELD satellicarrier).

The characters, in classic Silver Age form, are mostly reactive. Ronan does something in the far north, Jr. Avengers react. Skrulls perpetrate shenanigans in upstate NY, the Avengers react. It isn’t until the end, when half their members (including mascot Rick Jones, and why do they take him everywhere again?) have been kidnapped by various factions that the Avengers decide to get out there and kick some ass.

And, thanks to the Supreme Intelligence putting Rick Jones’ brain into overdrive, that trip was un-necessary. The Kree Skrull War is kind of flat as an iconic comics ‘happening’, but I did pick it up instead of a copy of Secret Invasion, so that’s got to count for something.
Tags: bitter guide, comics

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