A Brief History of Kang, Part 17: Vision Quests
By Michael Proteau
OK, time to resume our Kangtastic Journey. I haven't gotten to the comic shop yet so haven't gotten AF#1 and I'm going through Kang withdrawal (a nasty condition where you start raving uncontrollably for no apparent reason until some big blonde guy smacks you around and you regain your senses ;) )
Avengers #133 An Englehart/S.Buscema/Staton/Wein production
"Yesterday and Beyond...."
Wanda and Agatha Harkness are practicing and honing Wanda's burgeoning powers of witchcraft in Agatha's room in Avengers Mansion. Wanda animates a chair, but lets her guard down and loses control of it. The chair moves to attack her but is dispelled by Agatha. Wanda wonders about the Avengers and Agatha informs her that the Avengers are no longer on Earth.
The Avengers gather around Immortus in his throne room in Limbo. Immortus tells them that since he has used them in his plot to teach Kang the dominance of destiny, he offers to use his powers to help them learn of Vision and Mantis' hidden pasts. Vision is sent off alone with a synchro-staff (a talking stick which will narrate the journey), since his tale is too recent to be learned by anyone else who could use the knowledge to manipulate contemporary events. Thor is given another synchro-staff to use, as the remaining 4 Avengers (Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Mantis) will travel through time to learn of Mantis' origin and the role of the Celestial Madonna. Immortus muses over the lives that he has led as they leave, and hints that Mantis too shall soon begin a new life.
Vision travels through the timestream, musing on what he has already learned of himself and all that he will learn. He recalls that the Sentinels (circa Av. V.1 #102) identified him as being of three decades vintage (note: see commentary below for time references). Vision's journey takes him to 1939 where he sees the construction of the original Human Torch by Professor Phineas Horton, the attempts to contain the Torch and his eventual entrapment by a mob boss. This gives Vizh an explanation for his recent freeze ups when confronted by water and tight places. Vizh then continues on into the timestream.
In an alley in Saigon, the ghostly green Swordsman and our mysterious hooded figure discuss the way their plan is going. Swordsman reassures the figure that nothing can go wrong, as the figure removes his hood revealing him to be....................Libra, Mantis' father.
The Avengers travel the time stream to the Kree Year Zero, to Hala, the Kree homeworld. The Kree have emerged as a warlike barbarian culture, hunter-gatherers who worship strength & prowess. They share the planet with the Cotati, a race of evolved plants with limited mobility, who can communicate telepathically. The Kree consider the Cotati beneath their notice. Hala is visited by a starcraft carrying the...........Skrulls?! The Skrulls were a peaceful, technologically advanced race who had recently perfected interstellar travel. They come to Hala to offer knowledge and technology in exchange for loyalty and resources, but not to conquer, for no Skrull would sully their hands with combat. However, only one race on Hala will be chosen as a representative of that world, and to settle the matter peacefully, the Skrulls propose a test. A small group of each race will be taken to isolated worlds, given rudimentary resources, and told to construct what they will. Whoever accomplishes more in 1 year will become the representative race. The Kree are taken to Earth's moon, which the Skrulls create an atmosphere for a part of (now the Blue area of the moon), and the Kree set about to construct a massive city (which later becomes the Watcher's home). The Cotati, on another world, have created a marvelous garden. After a year, both groups return to Hala. When the Kree discover that the Skrulls plan to choose the Cotati, they attack the plant people and wipe them out. When the Skrulls learn of this, they condemn the Kree, who react by attacking the Skrulls and wiping those on the planet out. The Skrull technology is theirs for the taking, from which they develop a Kree armada and attack the Skrull homeworld. This ignites the conflict, which has become known as the Kree-Skrull War.
Mantis and the Avengers view all this as Mantis wonders what this has to do with her, and the synchro-staff tells her to be patient and prepare to journey onward, to ....Avengers 134
Note on real time vs. Marvel time: many of the references to years and the passage of time are based on the then status quo that year for year, Marvel time and real time were one and the same. It was 3 decades between Marvel present in 1974 and the Human Torch circa 1939. Later compression of Marvel time into a roughly 10 year period would significantly alter these references and we would assume that the Vision was then created in the early 90's and thus 4-5 decades vintage...ugh....pass the aspirin please..Marvel time induced headache coming on!!!
For much of this cycle of the Celestial Madonna saga, the Avengers stand around and watch. There is little in the way of action, but a lot of exposition as the Stainless one reveals his interpretation of Marvel Earth and Kree/Skrull history. This seems to be what Englehart was working towards since he first introduced Mantis, and he is beginning to tie together threads that ran through his entire stint on the book up to this point. It also ties in some pieces that Roy Thomas had laid down (esp. the bit with the Sentinels' observation) causing one to wonder how much of a hand the Rascally One had in all this. It's also a testament to Englehart's storytelling ability that he can make a story of the Avengers observing a cosmic history lesson from a talking stick so engrossing. Sal Buscema's professionalism in his layout style was also a major contribution to this, as an Image style pin up style of layout's would have forced this story to span out over a dozen issues. Englehart and Buscema cram a lot into 17 pages.
Immortus seems to come across as a personage of honor, more a philosopher than a man of action. He plots, manipulates, and puts people in a position where they can learn for themselves what they (and Immortus) need them to know, so that they may do what they must. Still, Immortus is not omniscient by any means. Immortus also seems to be more of a plot trigger here than an indispensable character to this story.
Hang on, here we go again into the timestream with.....
Avengers #134 An Englehart/S.Buscema/Staton/Wein production
"The Times That Bind!"
The Avengers continue to travel the time stream and discuss/recap what they have learned. They land in the year 476 of the Kree calendar to find the Kree have carved out an empire, tolerating no one who does not share their goals and values. This includes a group among the Kree, known as the Pacifist Kree, who abhor violence. They are driven underground by the dominant, warlike Kree, where these Pacifists develop defensive skills (i.e. forms of the martial arts). Iron Man notes that Star Stalker (see Av. v.1 #124) told of these Kree Pacifists. These Pacifists spend decades underground developing their mind and body skills, when one day their meditations are shattered by a telepathic contact, which leads them to an abandoned building. In the basement of this building they find............the Cotati. It seems that the dying Cotati had dropped seed pods before they died, and these seedlings had slipped away into hiding while the Kree had cannibalized the Skrull ships to build their armada. The Cotati had decided that emphasis on movement was not in the best interest of a species, as exemplified by the Kree's warlike nature. So, the Cotati took root, abandoning movement to further develop the mind. They believed that eventually some Kree would abandon the militaristic path though, and waited for a time when they could reveal themselves to these Kree. That time was at hand. The Pacifists cared for the Cotati's needs in exchange for knowledge of the mind.
Vision lands in 1949 to see Torch and Toro take on some underworld thugs, who bathe the Torch in solution X-R which not only douses the Torch's flame, but paralyzes him as well. Torch is buried in a Nevada desert, conscious but helpless for 4 years, until a nuclear device is detonated in a test in that desert. The blast frees the Torch and restores his flame. He finds Toro and resumes his career for 2 years, but then says farewell to Toro and goes off alone because he knows that the radiation from the nuclear detonation is speeding up his metabolism. He is starting to lose control of his flames and goes back to the Nevada desert to go nova.
The Avengers continue to view Kree history. The Pacifists had developed their ideas into a coherent philosophy, but were still despised by their society as a whole. They have become priests and have built a temple, but are still relegated to the poorer quarter of the city. The temple has a hidden second cellar which houses the Cotati.
A group of disguised Kree soldiers attack the temple and when the priests defend themselves, they are declared criminally responsible for the violence. The priests are exiled from Hala by the Supreme Intelligence, but before they leave, construct an irrigation system to care for the Cotati. They are soon shipped off to a lifeless planet. The Cotati cause the Star Stalker to come to that planet, and this causes the priests to respond by rallying together and working as a single entity to overcome this threat, driving the Stalker away. Hawk questions why the Cotati didn't just tell the priests what they needed to do and strive for, instead of siccing the Star Stalker on them, to which the synchro-staff responds that Hawk should have already learned from recent events with Immortus, Kang and Rama that no man wishes to be (or to feel like) a puppet. It is better that they find their own way, for men may worship gods, but they also fear them. (a comment which causes Thor some consternation).
Moondragon lands at Avengers Mansion and notices the Dawnstar that is still burning brightly overhead. She is greeted by Jarvis, who tells her the Avengers are in Viet Nam and tries unsuccessfully to contact them. They are surprised by Wanda and Agatha Harkness. Wanda is behaving oddly. Moonie asks Wanda to accompany her to Viet Nam to try to locate the Avengers, but is rebuked by Wanda. Moonie tries to use her power to determine what is wrong with Wanda, but Witchie detects this and responds with force, stunning Moonie and departing with Agatha back to her room.
Vision enters the year 1966 to see the Mad Thinker find and abscond with the Torch's body in the Nevada desert. In an underground lab, the Thinker works for months and resurrects the Torch, removes all of his memories from the point of his creation onwards. Thinker then uses the Torch to attack Johnny Storm, but the FF arrive via Lockjaw to break up the fight. The Thinker again kills the Torch and escapes. The FF mourn the Torch, and Reed Richards decides that it is fitting to let him lie to rest in the lab, and the FF depart. Later, Ultron 5 breaks into the lab to find the Torch's body.
The Avengers are still observing Kree history. The Pacifists seek and get an audience with the Supreme Intelligence, to warn him of the threat posed by the Star Stalker's presence. The SI thinks that this is a lie and part of a plot to convince him to allow the Pacifist Priests to return to Hala. The Priests respond by saying that they made no such request, but now do make one request, to be allowed to travel and protect the inhabited galaxy in the SI's stead. They make their case citing that this would put them far from Hala and remove the expense of their upkeep from the SI's accounts. The SI agrees, but decides that 4 of the Priests should stay in Hala just in case the Stalker does exist. The Priests scatter throughout the galaxy, and bring the Cotati with them. None save the Priests though, know of the Cotati's existence.
Some come to earth and land in Viet Nam. Hawkeye wonders if the Priests could be responsible for the introduction of the martial arts to earth. The Priests select a site and build a temple with a garden for the Cotati. Mantis recognizes this as the place where they buried the Swordsman. Unexpectedly and instantly, the Avengers are transported to that garden in the present (1975), where they are faced with Libra and the green glowing Swordsman who says, "You have learned the history of the Kree, now you shall learn the final explanation, for today marks The Coming of the Celestial Madonna!"
continued in Avengers #135
There is no Kang/Immortus appearance in this ish, but it is crucial in the development of the Celestial Madonna saga. Immortus at least has a behind the scenes role having sent the Vision and the Avengers on their journeys.
The Torch/FF/thinker sequence was taken from FF Annual/Special #4.
Again there is little action outside of the flashbacks, except for the 6 panels of Wanda vs. Moondragon.
When I first read these issues back when I was a junior in high school (circa 1985-86), it was the Vision sequences, which engrossed me. The whole Kree/Cotati/Priests sequence was kind of out there for me, but later when I reread the thing in college, I kind of dug it as I was more familiar with more esoteric philosophies that Englehart was tapping into. Reading it now, I see all kinds of social commentary and historical nods by the Stainless one. from the choice of the year 476 of the Kree calendar to establish the Kree Empire (476 AD/CE is the traditional dating of the fall of the western Roman Empire with the sack of Rome by [Goths or Vandals I can't recall which off hand] Germanic barbarian tribes. The underground development of the priests from shunned minority outcasts to coherent religious group both parallels development of such groups in Asia as well as the development of many such groups under the rule of the Romans, most notably the Christians, but many other mystery cults as well. And I thought it was only the Rascally one who slipped in historical references on the sly.
The Cotati vs. the Kree seems a social commentary on the emphasis of the development of society as an entity vs. the development of the individual. Movement and warlike behavior further the state at the expense of the individual. Even the SI is a collective intelligence for the state's benefit, sacrificing the individual identities of each of the intellects that comprise it. The Priests, on the other hand, develop the individual and this results in a collective consciousness, achieved by choice not submission to another's will. Each still retains an individual identity, but work together for the good of all, not just a personless state.
The Avengers again appear to be guest stars in their own book. I wonder how these issues affected sales at the time. Ownership statements can only tell us yearly trends, not specific issue impact, but I wonder if sales remained level, rose or fell?
Avengers #135 An Englehart/Tuska/Chiarmonte/Wein production
"The Torch is Passed"
Vision witnesses Ultron crash into the lab and discover Torch's body. Ultron also discovers Quasimodo trapped within a computer there. Ultron relates the tale of his creation by Hank Pym, his defeat of Pym and the erasure of Pym's memories of the incident. Ultron then relates how he improved upon himself, becoming Ultron 5, how he sought out the Mad Thinker to try to obtain an android, and how the Thinker, in order to avoid battle, told him of the lab where the Torch lay. Quasimodo asks Ultron why he seeks an android, to which Ultron answers that he wants a son. Ultron leaves with the Torch just as the Silver Surfer arrives to encounter Quasimodo. The synchro-staff tells Vision that one year from that point he will be born.
In the Garden of the Temple of the Priests of Pama (sounds like a 60's psychedelic album title or song ;) ), the Avengers are welcomed by the green glowing Swordsman and Libra. Mantis recognizes a tree as the Cotati from her memory trip, as the Swordsman tells her that today is the day that she will become the Celestial Madonna. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of a spacecraft; Moondragon has arrived. Swordsman asks her to tell her tale, and Moonie tells of the coming of Thanos, the death of her family and how Mentor of Titan took her under his wing and back to Titan. She tells of her time in the Shao-Lom Monastery, where she trained body and soul, and took the name Moondragon. Mantis notes that Moonie's tale is virtually the same as hers, at least as Libra told her it. Swordsman notes that this is true and that there is a purpose behind it.
Vision watches as Ultron tries and fails to revive the Torch, until he lights upon the idea of contacting the Torch's creator. Ultron tracks down Horton and abducts him, taking him back to Ultron's lab. Horton refuses to help, but Ultron forces him to do so. Ultron uses Horton to change Torch's powers and appearance (the red skin tone a mocking reminder of Torch's previous ability with fire), and orders Horton to erase the Torch's memories as well. In September of 1968 (see previous notes about specific time references) Ultron animates his "creation" .....
In the Temple Garden, a strange light fills the air, and Immortus appears carrying a strange object. He says to the Avengers, "I see that I am on time as it were."
In Avengers Mansion, Jarvis tries to bring food to Wanda, but hears a malevolent male voice laughing through the door. Jarvis drops his tray and shoulders the door open (go Jarv!!!!!) revealing a dark, drafty, and deserted room.
Vision watches as the android (formerly known as Torch) comes to life looking like the Vision, but complete with the Torch's restored memories. Horton reveals that he could not just destroy the Torch's soul because he loves his creation like a son. Ultron curses Horton and strikes him down. Horton dies in the Torch/Vision's arms.
Torch/Vision tracks down Ultron and the two clash, but Ultron emerges victorious. He wipes out Torch's memory, and replaces it, using the computer tape of Simon Williams as a model for the new brain pattern. Later that evening, Ultron reawakens the android, and sends him to attack the Avengers, and thus was the Vision born. With that story now complete, the synchro-staff starts to take the Vision back to Immortus, but suddenly the Vision suffers a wrenching jolt while within the timestream. The synchro-staff vanishes from his hand, and the Vision is left adrift in a darkened void, with no idea which direction lies home.
Continued in Giant-size Avengers #4.....
Gorgeous Starlin cover with vignettes by Romita.
While George Tuska is a solid, professional artist, who did some Iron Man stuff I like, his layouts here just seemed to make this story's pace drag. (And his Thanos is just horrible (imo) in a full splash page flashback, what a wasted page. Whereas in the issues laid out by our pal Sal, the story seemed to flow at a breakneck pace, switching from Mantis to Vision tale and back again, throwing in elements of Wanda and Moondragon for good measure, this issue seemed to crawl at a snail's pace even though on one page we have three scene switches and all the plot threads were rapidly coming together and to a head. Of the entire Celestial Madonna saga, I feel that this is the weakest part. I found it tedious, whether because it focused more on the Vision's story than Mantis', or if it was the art, or if it was just one of Englehart's weaker efforts, I am uncertain. I think the art played a large role in my displeasure though. However, having just reread Avengers 57 & 58, and Rob's Ultron retrospective, I wasn't as enthralled by the revelations concerning the Vision this issue as I was the first time I read it in high school. Then, this issue was one of my favorites, but it has not stood up to the test of time. I think a lot of this feeling may also be because the revelations of this issue were made a moot point by later retcons by Byrne et. al. Still and all, this was a lot better than many comics I have read, my criticisms notwithstanding.
Hmm, something old (back issue), something new (the rebooted WCAML), and something blue (Kang) Yep, all set for a couple of weddings so cue the bridal march and help me with my cummerbund and bowtie 'cause it's time for......
Giant Size Avengers #4 An Englehart/Heck/Tartaglione/Wein production
"...Let All Men Bring Together"
Vision wonders where he is as s faint light fills the darkened void, and someplace starts to take shape. He recalls all that he has learned concerning his origins, but his musings are interrupted as he hears a woman scream in pain. He realizes he is in some kind of subterranean tunnel and follows the scream to its source. As he emerges from the tunnel he finds The Dread Dormammu and Umar the Unspeakable, who hold Wanda prisoner, as well as Agatha Harkness and the Earth Mother (see commentary below). Vision defies Dormammu and challenges him.
Immortus, Libra, the green glowing Swordsman, Moondragon and the Avengers are gathered within the Temple of the Priests of Pama. Swordsman asks if there should be another Avenger present, and Immortus answers that he has sent the Vision on a journey through his own history, and asks Swordsman what has prompted the question. Swordsman replies that he feels pain and sorrow, and that the Avengers are somehow involved. Immortus states that he will go and search out the Vision, and tells Swordsman to continue the explanation of Mantis and the Madonna while he is gone. Swordsman picks up the tale of the Madonna explaining that the Celestial Madonna is, to be put precisely....the perfect human. Mantis gasps in disbelief and doubt and Swordsman reveals that this is the perfect example of Mantis' greatest asset, and that Moonie, who knew that she approached perfection, had failed to find the humanity necessary to be the Madonna, a humanity Mantis possesses in abundance. Swordsman tells how their lives paralleled each other because they were designed to produce similar women. Libra picks up the tale, relating how each underwent further training to perceive the telepathy of the Cotati, and that they were the only non-Kree ever to communicate with the Cotati. That was the basis for Mantis' empathic nature and Moonie's comprehension of the human mind. All memories of this training were removed from their minds. Moondragon remained ion the temple to continue the life of a priestess, while Mantis was implanted with false memories of a childhood in Saigon. Mantis is hostile towards Libra and his tale, asking why she should believe him, to which Libra responds that even though he was a member of the Zodiac criminal cartel, he was still her father and a servant of the priests where matters concerning Mantis were concerned. Moondragon interrupts to ask why 2 girls were chosen, to which Swordsman replies that both showed promise, but no one knew what the future would bring. After training was completed, Mantis showed an earthier nature and was chosen to mix with humans, and seek perfect humanity. Moondragon's cloistered life caused difficulty in her completely understanding the society of humans. Moonie's ego cannot believe that she is inferior to Mantis, but Swordsman replies simply that she was not chosen and that Moondragon's destiny lies ahead, but today Mantis is the subject.
During all this conversation, Hawk got bored and wandered outside. He returns to get Goldilocks and Shellhead, and brings them outside to show them the Titanic Three (remember them?) laid out cold. The Crimson Dynamo is barely conscious and reveals their attacker as......KANG!!!
Vision challenges Dormammu as the Dreaded One taunts him and offers to let him go peacefully if he will leave Wanda behind. Vizh mocks Dormammu, saying that he is all bluff to which the Dreaded One sics a bunch of gargoyles/demons on Vizh. Vision uses his solar jewel to absorb the heat from the demons, their source of power, and renders them helpless. Umar chastises and mocks Dormammu, who then uses his powers to control Wanda and have her destroy the Vision.
Swordsman tells how Mantis was led from the temple on her 18th birthday and abandoned in Saigon, how she wound up working for the Vicelord Monsieur Khruul (actually her uncle, unknown to both of them)and working at bars entertaining soldiers. He tells how Mantis met and became involved with the Swordsman, and how this led her to the Avengers.
Hawk, Iron Man, and Thor are upset about Kang's presence, and Hawk suggests they stop jawin' and start searching for ole Blue Nose, and that they can do it best by splitting up. Iron Man comments that Thor had best be careful or Hawk will usurp him as chairman, a thought which makes Hawk go hmmmm!
Thor comes upon Kang and goes into a berserk rage, smiting him mercilessly until Kang is rendered unconscious.
Hawkeye is searching and finds Kang (huh?!?!)
Vision faces Wanda reluctantly, and is amazed at the extent of Wanda's powers. She holds nothing back, but Vizh uses his intangibility to avoid her blows. Wanda then changes tactics and casts a spell to siphon off Vizh's energy from his solar jewel. A collapsing Vision begs Wanda to stop and professes his love for her. This breaks Dormammu's hold on Wanda. Vision falls to the ground and Wanda screams over what she has done.
Swordsman and Libra tell Mantis of how she learned to broaden her emotions and how to deal with them, especially her attractions, while with the Avengers, and the purpose of this was to teach her balance, as only Libra could. Libra used his position with the Zodiac to ensure that he could encounter Mantis whenever necessary, revealing enough to make her question her life. Mantis reacted by trying to win/woo the Vision, a pillar of stability to her mind, a sign that she had emerged from a life of frivolity.
Wanda challenges Dormammu and swears vengeance on him. Dormammu scoffs, and lashes out at Wanda, only to find his blow negated by Agatha Harkness. Wanda then uses her power to cool the lava thus threatening the Dreaded One's rebirth. Dormammu calls upon Umar, but before she can aid him, she is stopped by a recovered Vision. With his rebirth in jeopardy, Dormammu sues for peace. Wanda sets terms, and Dormammu quickly agrees to them (allowing Wanda, Vizh and Agatha to return to earth's surface unharmed, to free the Earth Mother, and to abandon plans to conquer Earth's dimension). Dormammu muses that he will ignore this promise and only once agreed to a similar promise to Doctor Strange because he was indebted to the mage. Dormammu muses he will let them leave in peace to allay their suspicions, but he will honor no more of the agreement.
Hawk battles Kang and overcomes him with a gas arrow, just as Iron Man arrives carrying another defeated Kang (huh?!? again). Thor arrives with Kang, whom he has defeated, now there are 3 Kangs, none of them robots, all are human and Kang, so sayeth Thor.
Mantis says she accepts all that she has been told, but still does not understand why all this had to occur. Swordsman replies, "Woman, have you not seen that you are to marry that tree?" The Cotati is the perfect plant, and Mantis the perfect human. Mantis rants (it must be a contagious symptom that she caught from Kang!) that this is insane; she cannot marry a tree nor bear its child. Swordsman replies by revealing that he is the spirit of the Cotati, reanimating the Swordsman's body as a gift to Mantis. Mantis touches the tree to her forehead, and they communicate all without words.
Vision, Wanda, and Agatha return to Avengers Mansion. Vision wishes to speak to Wanda alone, and she looks to Agatha for permission. Agatha announces that Wanda's instruction is completed and that she is free to do what she wishes, and free to (and must) learn for herself from now on. Vision and Wanda walk off alone, as Vision relates to her what he has learned of himself. Vizh professes his love for her and proposes to Wanda. She accepts.
Mantis rises and states she sees it all now and that she will wed the Cotati. The Avengers arrive bearing three gifts (oops wrong story) that is three Kangs, surprising the Cotati/Swordsman, who states Kang was not part of the plan. Thor says he knows nothing of plans but stands ready for anything. A voice rings out-"Even this
Thunder God?" as Kang's time sphere materializes, encases Mantis in a forcefield before any can react, taking her at his leisure. He explains he traveled to this time and place three times earlier that day to distract the Avengers (hence the three Kangs) expecting them to be detained longer, but despite their presence and all Immortus' and Rama's claims to the contrary, Kang has captured the Madonna. He brings Mantis aboard his time sphere and shoots off to the ends of time and space. The Avengers move to follow but Immortus appears and tells them to let Kang go. The Avengers protest and Immortus tells them that he has found Wanda and Vision at Avengers Mansion and brought them hither. "But Mantis..." cries Moondragon, to which Immortus chastises them about being discourteous. He walks to the box he was carrying when he first arrived, opens it and reveals Mantis within. He tells them he is Master of Limbo as well as time, and Limbo has only one subject. Kang soon learns he has not captured Mantis, but the Space Phantom, his plans foiled yet again, just as Immortus had schemed.
Wedding preparations are made, Thor makes Mantis an Avenger, and Immortus presides over a double wedding Mantis & Swordsman/Cotati and Vision & Wanda. Mantis and the Cotati assume a new form and leave for the cosmos. Vision and Scarlet Witch head for their honeymoon. the Avengers return home and Immortus to Limbo. Thus ends the saga of the Celestial Madonna. But Kang's story is far from done.
The Dormammu plot is a crossover of sorts with Dr. Strange (circa V.2#8 iirc) which Englehart was writing at the time. Dormammu was attempting to be resurrected of the Earth, thus allowing him to enter Earth's dimension and not lose his powers as a result of his oath to Doc. Doc eventually overcomes him.
TTA#38's Ant-Man story and Amazing Adventures #1's Black Widow story are reprinted here as well.
Well the layout's here kept the pace up, but Don Heck's work here lacked some of its charm from his stint on the avengers when he was in his prime.
Englehart wrapped up a lot of loose ends, but he wasn't done with Kang yet. I don't have too much to say on this one. There was a lot of exposition at the expense of action throughout this saga. There were action scenes but for the most part they were abbreviated. This was really an extended character study and philosophical treatise by
Englehart, where he essentially grafted his world view onto the MU. Not that I'm complaining, such a personal style was what made Englehart's work so moving and appealing. And now little doggies let's saddle up, 'cause we're headin' west!