Thursday, November 12, 2015

...With The Skrulls By Our Side!

Following up on Part 1 of the Avengers story where the team reunited with Captain Marvel in the Andromeda galaxy, only to find themselves in the position of having to aid the Skrulls against the mercenary Nebula and her armies, the Avengers now come to terms with the fact that the coming battle will not be an easy one to win, due to a literally massive complication: Nebula has taken control of "Sanctuary II," the weapon-ship formerly belonging to the deadly Thanos. With its formidable defenses, the Avengers and their allies will not only have their hands full trying to breach the ship, but also in dealing with Nebula's forces, whose vessels number in the hundreds.

However, without spoiling things too much, the situation isn't quite as dire as writer Roger Stern makes it seem, since we later find out that Sanctuary II can't make use of its offensive armament as long as its defense shields are raised, nor can it risk lowering those shields without the ship being immediately boarded by Captain Marvel--which means that Sanctuary II is effectively inert for the duration, and it basically comes down to the Avengers and the Skrull armada against Nebula's individual attack ships. That doesn't mean, however, that the Avengers and the Skrull commander, General Zedrao, don't consider Thanos's ship a prime target, since they don't dare let it remain in Nebula's hands.

Yet, with Nebula appearing to hold the advantage, the opening gambit of Zedrao and the Avengers, while ambitious and bold, perhaps isn't very realistic at this stage.

With hostilities now erupting, the Avengers add their forces to the Skrull armada and attack, while Captain Marvel engages the defense shields of Nebula's ship. Both sides know how crucial Sanctuary II's capture would be to the outcome of the battle, so the ship remains a focus for the Avenger most capable of penetrating it.

But, what of Firelord, who accompanied the Avengers to Andromeda and stood ready to help them in their mission? That was before the Avengers decided to ally themselves with the Skrulls, deadly enemies to Firelord's home world of Xandar and thus to Firelord. Once the team made its decision to join forces with the Skrulls, Firelord departed their ranks and decided to head in the direction of Xandar--but what he finds upon arrival would change both his perspective and his course of action.

With Sanctuary II's shields in imminent danger of failure, the crew sends a surge of power to repel Firelord, sending him hurtling away from the site--and, unknowingly, toward a fateful meeting, where the words exchanged will determine the outcome of this battle as well as the fate of Nebula.

Meanwhile, Hercules and the Black Knight bear witness to Captain Marvel's decisive strike against the defense shields of Sanctuary II--and with the path to Nebula now cleared, Zedrao's forces as well as the Avengers are quick to board. They're also joined by an apparent new and unexpected ally, who does more to impact morale among Nebula's men than the Avengers and the Skrulls combined.

With Cap's words, the deception drops, and "Thanos" as well as the other "Avengers" reveal themselves to be Zedrao and his forces--who are only too happy to return to their normal forms.

On the distant moon where Firelord attempts to rise, we see that he's been joined by none other than the Beyonder, who has recently made his way to Earth and taken on human form in order to better understand those he once conscripted into fighting a "secret war." But though the Beyonder stands ready to assist the Avengers, Firelord's words inadvertently guarantee that Nebula will not be captured this day.

Though try telling the Avengers that their target will elude capture, as they plow through the resistance they encounter on Sanctuary II and have already (thanks to Starfox) taken measures to ensure that Nebula won't escape. Yet Nebula makes a dramatic announcement that gives her an edge over her captor that might let her slip away, after all--that is, until the Beyonder arrives to "stop her."

At this point, the story ends rather abruptly, as the Secret Wars II crossover event is given precedence and practically hijacks the closing panels with teasers to the reader to learn more about what's going on with the Beyonder--who, by the way, might have been coaxed to return Nebula to the Avengers' custody had Starfox and Captain Marvel not decided it was more important to berate him. At the tail-end of a battle so hard-fought, their frustration is understandable--though it would be difficult to impossible to imagine Captain America (as written by Stern) reacting in the same manner. (Steve Englehart's Cap, perhaps.)

Nebula would go on to become involved in the Infinity Gauntlet saga, as well as being instrumental in the disbanding of the Avengers.  Nebula's plots may not have always met with success, but she became pretty adept at having the last laugh.

The Avengers #260

Script: Roger Stern
Breakdowns: John Buscema
Finisher: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Jim Novak

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is a shitty ending to a brilliant comic. Read it in german as a boy, i still like all the ingredients, the contributors... and the secret wars two happened. Thankfully we didn't get this in Germany.
Mirko, www.

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