the ROAD to TITAN...
"The players gather on the
board, Master Order."
"Yes. But have we acted too
late, Lord Chaos? Is there still time to correct the
error, to restore the balance?"
"We can only hope that there
is, Master Order. For is it not our own error we seek to
"As you say, Lord Chaos. We
indeed acted in haste in selecting our champion of chaos,
and in empowering him to such a degree."
"Still, Master Order, never
could we have suspected that he would find so much
success, so quickly."
"So true, Lord Chaos. And thus
the Golden Age of the Universe, which we sought to delay,
to temper, to restrict, now threatens never to be born at
all. And once the Earth lies a dead and burned-out husk,
the forces which opposed it will surely turn upon one
another, in a great paroxysm of violence and death such
as the universe has never witnessed."
Silence, for a time. Then, finally, the giant, bloated
form of Lord Chaos spoke again:
"Yet still there is hope,
Master Order. We have our new champion. And great Chronos
has become aware of the situation, as well. Would the one
known as Drax have entered play without Chronos's
knowledge? And even now, Chronos acts, bringing yet
another piece onto the board."
"Yes. We shall see, Lord
Chaos. We shall see."
"Before we go any farther," Genis was saying,
"Let's just get one thing out of the way up
They sat around a fire Genis had started amidst a pile of
wood. Ms. Marvel had felt it best that they remain hidden
in the woods while they discussed the situation. The huge
flying saucer lay, half-buried from its crash, nearby.
"What would that be?" the
"Dad's records show that you once tried to kill him.
Something to do with Thanos, I think."
"Ah, yes. I do recall that
replied. "I mistakenly
believed that he, rather than Warlock, had killed Thanos.
And killing Thanos was the only reason for my
"I'm just making sure you don't still hold a
grudge," Genis continued.
Drax smiled wryly. "Fear
not," he replied. "I settled my differences
with Mar-Vell equitably, and bear no grudge against his
"Ummm.... Okay, then." Genis nodded.
Drax and Genis both turned to Carol. "What was that?" Drax
"You said killing Thanos 'was' the only reason for
your existence. Not 'is.' 'Was.'"
Drax seemed to consider the question, as if for the first
time. Finally, he replied, "That
"But--and I hesitate to tell you this-- Thanos is
"I'm quite well aware of that.
Just because it occurred during my brain-damaged,
Alf-loving phase, doesn't mean that it escapes my
Carol's eyes bored in on him. "And... you don't feel
the urge to rampage across the galaxy in search of
"... No. I do not." Drax
frowned, as if pondering his own answer. "How
Carol glanced at Genis; Genis shrugged. She refocused on
the Destroyer. "So-- back to our original question.
What were you doing on that ship? How did you become
restored to your previous condition?"
Drax pursed his lips. "I'm
afraid there are some things I cannot remember, after
all. The last I recall, I was with...
Moondragon...?" He shrugged. "Still, I'm glad
to be rid of that bulky form I briefly occupied." He
directed an index finger towards a nearby oak tree. Red
energies surged around the finger, and a beam lanced out,
annihilating part of the tree with a massive blast and
scattering the rest. "And I see my powers are back
to normal, as well."
"But you don't remember being taken prisoner?"
"...No, I'm afraid not,"
Drax replied absently. He gazed upward, at the
star-filled sky, as if contemplating something...
Hercules stumbled into the men's room of the bar. He'd
spent most of the evening regailing the ladies of the
establishment with his heroic tales, while they fawned
over his muscles and took advantage of his seemingly
limitless Avengers-backed credit line. Now he found his
way to the sink and peered into the mirror, splashing
water into his bleary eyes and moaning.
"Uhhhrrrr.... How weak this mortal frame, compared
with mine previous godly form. Such a tiny capacity for
the fruits of the cask and the keg! Bah! Verily, I grow
somewhat-- disoriented-- simply from the quaffing of only
a tiny-- uh?"
Hercules peered into the mirror again, saw the colors
swimming about, and blinked. "What manner of vision
comes to me now? Bah--tis nothing but mine
slightly-inebriated mind, playing tricks on me."
Ignoring the image forming in the mirror, Hercules
shambled over to the urinal. The image in the mirror
"Ahh. Mine immortal constitution would never have
allowed such base indignity as to compell me to excuse
myself to the men's room with such galling...
frequency." Hercules glanced up, saw the sports page
tacked to the wall above the urinal, and let his eyes
play over the color photos of football players.
"Verily, this is a sport for man and god alike!
Would that Olympus's architecture could have better
survived the last game I organized there-- eh?"
The photo swam, blurred, and changed. Steve Young's face
darkened, swelled, grew to encompass the entire newspaper
page. A look of anger clouded over it. "HEAR ME!" it cried.
"AHHH!!" Hercules stumbled back, then quickly
regained his wits and zipped his trousers. "What
manner of demon--?"
"I am Chronos, Olympian.
Father to Zeus himself! And you are my... grandson."
"Chronos?" Hercules squeezed his eyes closed,
mentally running over the list of beverages he had
consumed earlier. "What--?"
"Listen well, son of Zeus. For
I have a task for you."
At that moment another customer stumbled into the men's
room. He glanced at Hercules, glanced away; glanced back
at Herc, then at the stormcloud-shrouded face of Steve
Young protruding from the sports page. He blinked, put a
hand to his mouth, and dashed back out through the
"A task? But in truth, at present, I have little
power. I am merely mortal now, upon the wishes of my
"Still you possess power,
Hercules. And spirit-- though perhaps at times such as
this, it lies hidden beneath an alcoholic haze."
Hercules bristled. "What task, Chronos?" he
"One of truly heroic
proportions, Olympian." Steve Young's face
grew less angry, less godlike, and spoke again.
Two minutes later, Hercules was on his way to Avengers'
Mansion, and twenty minutes after his arrival there,
aboard a spaceworthy quinjet, outward bound.
"And that's pretty much it, Drax," Ms. Marvel
concluded. "We're searching for this 'Enemy,' but we
don't have much to go on."
Drax nodded. "Many could fit
the profile you describe. Thanos, for example. Or a dozen
"We both feel strongly that Thanos is not behind
this," Carol interjected.
"Yeah," Genis agreed. "He's been involved
in a number of schemes since Dad first began
investigating this. Besides, my cosmic awareness-- yeah,
I'm still getting used to it, but I'm already picking up
on when something's true and when it's way off base -- it
just says, 'No Thanos.'"
Drax looked back at Genis a moment, then nodded and
"In any case, our next stop is pretty clear,
now," Genis stated. "Titan."
"Titan?" Carol frowned.
is logical," Drax muttered.
Genis shrugged. "This ship is our only clue so far.
But the Zyrgor sure sounded like he was talking about our
guy. And those two races-- no way they should be
cooperating with one another. Something's up. Now that we
have a tiny shred of evidence to work with, maybe
Mentor-- or Isaac, the computer-- can come up with
Carol nodded. "Okay. Good." She smiled
wistfully. "I wouldn't mind a trip to Titan, anyway.
It only seems fitting, after all the time Mar-Vell spent
there, that I should at least drop in."
"What about you, Drax?" Genis asked. "Any
"I have a subliminal,
subconscious rapport with Chronos, the vast entity who
exists throughout this universe all at once. Chronos,
that enigmatic being who first caused me to become the
Destroyer, and gave me my only purpose, my only reason
for existence." Drax's cold, lonely eyes met
Genis's, and bored in with lethal intensity. "Now I
sense, with every fiber of my being, that Chronos has a
new task for me. And it lies parallel with your
Genis's eyes widened. "So-- you mean you're going
with us, then?"
Genis glanced at Ms. Marvel; Carol frowned, but shrugged.
"Okay," the young hero replied firmly. "We
welcome the help." He held out a hand, and,
hesitantly at first, but then with determination, Drax
clasped it. Carol added hers as well.
"Things are looking brighter," Genis stated
firmly. "I think we're finally on the right
"But how will we get there?" Carol asked.
Genis frowned. "First," he said, "we need
the sun to come up."
Genis-Vell, Ms. Marvel, and Drax the Destroyer rocketed
through interplanetary space.
"I hope S.H.I.E.L.D. has fun with that flying
saucer," Ms. Marvel was saying. "I'd rather
have turned it over to the Avengers, but they were busy,
and I don't think it needed to sit there in the middle of
New Jersey any longer than it did."
"Ahh-- S.H.I.E.L.D. is a government agency,"
Genis replied. "They'll just stick the ship in a
warehouse somewhere and deny the whole thing."
Ms. Marvel looked around, at the mammoth planet Jupiter
receeding behind them. "I have to admit, Genis, you
were right about this. I wasn't sure I was physically up
for a trip like this, but... Wow."
The golden sparkles of Genis's nega-bands surrounded both
him and Carol in a bright nimbus, keeping them safe from
the vacuum of space and providing the extra power to
boost their personal means of propulsion to such a high
velocity. Drax raced along nearby, under his own power.
"It was just a matter of borrowing enough energy
from the sun, and storing it in the nega-bands, to make
the trip," Genis replied. "I learned how to do
it from one of Dad's recordings. He used it for this same
trip we're making, at least once." *
*In the now-classic CAPTAIN MARVEL #58-59 -- Archivist
"Indeed," Drax added,
"for I accompanied him on one of those journeys. I
came to know him, and to respect him, during that
Genis started to reply, but suddenly his eyes widened,
and he jerked his head around.
"Genis-- what is it?" Ms. Marvel asked. Then
she jerked around as well. "Enemy! They're bearing
down on us!"
"Wha--?" Drax stopped
himself almost dead in space, crimson energies flaring
about his fists. "Where?"
Genis pointed in the direction of an asteroid floating
A seeming army of armor-clad beings was swarming out of
the asteroid, and rocketing towards the three warriors.
Energy beams crackled through the void.
"We have to spread out," Ms. Marvel cried.
"I have enough energy stored up, Genis--I'll be
Nodding, Genis flashed away from Carol's side and swooped
out to flank the attackers. A group split away from the
main body and came after him. Drax had executed the same
maneuver on the other side, moments earlier, and now the
enemy was divided into three clumps; but still, each
clump contained over a dozen attackers.
Ms. Marvel smashed the facemask of the first to approach
within swinging distance, then darted beneath the next.
"Any idea who they are?" she called, over the
photonic link which still connected the three. "My
seventh sense isn't giving me much clue."
"Degenerates from many
races," Drax replied, ringing blow upon blow across
the armor of the aliens closest to him. "The same
assortment of scum and riffraff that served Thanos during
his campaigns." As if fueled by a new hatred, Drax
unleashed a titanic bombardment of energy into his
adversaries. Reeling, the attackers on that flank fell
Genis continued to probe with his new cosmic awareness
even as he battled. "They're agents of the Enemy,
all right," he called out.
Carol glanced his way, even as she smashed the helmets of
two attackers together. "But can you sense
"--No, not yet-- AARRHHH!" Genis reeled under
the impact of twin bolts from his attackers.
"GENIS! Are you okay?" Ms. Marvel smashed
through a wall of foes and raced towards him.
"Unhhh-- yeah, I think so. Serves me right for not
paying enough attention..." He fired twin photon
blasts in the direction of his attacker and was rewarded
with a hit.
Having driven the attackers on his side back, Drax
blasted away at the central group, upon which Ms. Marvel
had already inflicted much damage. Genis handled the
other side, his efforts redoubled after his wounding.
Soon enough, the still-conscious portion of the attacking
horde was reduced to a manageable sum, and the three
warriors surrounded them.
Drax had one in an iron grip.
"Who is your master?" he demanded.
But the alien slumped forward, dead.
"They're killing themselves!" Genis cried.
"Not again! Stop th--" He sighed. "Too
late. They're all gone. All of them."
Ms. Marvel smacked her fist into her palm.
Drax hurled the corpse away, spinning into the night. "We must search the aster--"
The asteroid base exploded.
Genis yelled in anger. "What good is cosmic
awareness if it only tells me things when it's too late
to do anything about them?"
Carol patted him on the shoulder. "You'll get better
at it. I'm sure your dad struggled with it at first,
Genis nodded reluctantly. "Well, Eon did say I was
only granted a small portion of the awareness.* I guess he wasn't kidding."
* C.M. #63 -- Van
Drax pointed. "Titan lies
ahead. Perhaps we had better make haste."
Genis and Carol nodded. The three rocketed toward Saturn,
and its largest satellite just beyond.
And on a video monitor aboard a vast alien starship, a
set of dark, calculating eyes followed them...
Go to Chapter Four