Friday, July 19, 2019

Let It Be War!

The trivia question coming your way today is short on introduction but long on explanation. Of course, if you can successfully answer it before getting to the explanation, you'll rate a first-class No-Prize that will be delivered right to your doorstep via an Amazon drone! (Which was, ah, intercepted and modified for PPC use by the Fixer, though I won't tell if you won't.) But be warned--it might take the collective brain power of the populations of three galaxies to answer this

Marvel Trivia Question

What can you remember about a little event called

If you've never heard of the War of the Three Galaxies, you shouldn't berate yourself--after all, it was a war that never really went beyond having its match lit, though that wasn't for lack of trying. As for who was responsible for instigating it, you might say that both parties were in favor of it. For when it comes to galactic conflict between two space-faring empires, you can probably make a fair guess as to which long-feuding species will be at the heart of it:

That accounts for two galaxies--but where does the third lie? While normally we'd suspect the Shi'ar Galaxy, the Shi'ar had only just been introduced at the time of this story. No, the third galaxy that plays a part in this conflict is unfortunately our own--the galaxy which is usually in contention when the Skrulls and the Kree mix it up, and which we're told will serve as a "strategic battleground" for this war.

As for the timeline of the story, we'd have to look back to the first Inhumans series from 1975, where we first encounter the metal behemoths known as Kaptroids which burst forth from the depths of the Great Refuge and began ingesting Inhumans (who end up in the chest area which effectively jails them all behind bars). When the Kaptroids are defeated before completing their task, they're followed by Shatterstar, a powerful Kree operative who also wishes to capture large portions of the Inhuman race. For the details, let's eavesdrop at a Kree Supreme Science Council meeting where we learn not only of its culpability in these attacks, but why its members have shown interest in the Inhumans again after so long a time.

With the majority of Kree at this table practically salivating at the prospect of going to war against the Skrulls, our dissenter here, Falzon, receives the response you might expect from the man in charge, Phae-dor.

Yet Shatterstar also fails in his mission--and from there, writer Doug Moench continues the story off and on (mostly off), even as the Inhuman Royal Family relocates to New York for awhile following the Refuge's inadvertent destruction by Black Bolt. But whatever Moench had planned for the War is nipped in the bud--not by anything the Kree bring to bear, but by the series itself being shelved due to Marvel expanding its line of titles and needing all hands on deck, as it were. You'd have every right to take that claim with a grain of salt; it doesn't really make sense to cancel a series only a year out of the gate just to shift your resources to other new titles, unless it happens to be selling poorly. (Adding credence to that theory is that Inhumans remained a bi-monthly title for the entirety of its run.)

Yet plans had already been made for the story of the War of the Three Galaxies to play out three months later, in a single issue of Captain Marvel. It's a whirlwind of a wrap-up for both the concept's execution and finale, but writer Scott Edelman takes the handoff and carries it off believably as far as the root of the conflict that not even the Kree saw coming. The book begins to ease readers into the story in the prior issue, when it becomes apparent that the Kree are now moving on to conscripting Mar-vell and his tactical knowledge, with the Dr. Minerva storyline elbowed aside as Phae-dor interrupts Minerva's plans for Mar-vell and informs her that the Science Council's intentions for him override her own. When she refuses to comply, she is harshly dealt with--and Phae-dor himself, by way of an energy projection, takes control of the situation to ensure Mar-vell's captivity.

Against an energy manifestation, Mar-vell at first fights an uphill battle. But after deducing that Phae-dor's projection is drawing its power from Minerva's science-cruiser, he concludes that the way to halt Phae-dor's attack is to damage the ship itself and, eventually, its generator array--leaving Phae-dor no option but to implore Mar-vell to cease and desist, to no avail.

Once the dust has settled from the cruiser crashing in Times Square, and smoothing things over with the military and police forces, Mar-vell and Minerva are soon found by familiar faces who also have refused to cooperate with the Kree--and when Mar-vell, Minerva, Falzon, and the Inhumans have compared notes, a plan of action is put in place by Mar-vell, with Black Bolt offering to accompany him to where he must go.

Having wreaked such havoc already, one can only imagine how much would be inflicted should the War of the Three Galaxies break out in earnest--with it being almost a certainty that the galaxy which has been "drafted" into it, i.e. the Milky Way, wouldn't fare well at all. How matter-of-fact it all looks in print--even though we're talking about whole galaxies at war with each other, which would normally be beyond our comprehension.

On the Kree homeworld, the natives are getting restless--specifically, the hawks on the Science Council, who apparently have a lot of clout with the Kree military if they can engage their empire in a galaxy-spanning war with the press of a button. But there are two who arrive (courtesy of the Watcher's matter transmitter*) who make a last-ditch attempt to stop the march to war before it's too late.

*It's astonishing how easy it seems to be to waltz right into the Watcher's citadel when he's not in residence and make use of whatever device(s) one needs at the moment. There's a post in there somewhere.

Forced to respond to the Council's aggression, Mar-vell and Black Bolt make quick work of the warriors assembled in the chamber; but to buy Mar-vell time to pursue his discussion with Phae-dor further, Black Bolt heads to the next corridor to intercept the much greater odds of those reinforcements heading toward them. In that time, Mar-vell's cosmic awareness begins to discern the truth of what is happening here--but will he have either the time or the opportunity to act on it?

Yet while Mar-vell's exclamations would have any observer to this chaos thinking that all hope is now lost for avoiding the Kree's rush to war, what he is accomplishing is something else entirely--uncovering the truth, and thereby exposing the incredible deception that has taken place even at this level of Kree authority.

It likely hasn't escaped your notice that the so-called War of the Three Galaxies would only be another manifestation of the Kree-Skrull War, as that, too, had ramifications for Earth (and by extension, our galaxy). The former war, a more formal declaration of hostilities, clearly progressed to the point of open hostilities, though not so far that it couldn't be halted sometime after fleets were deployed (albeit lasting much longer in the cinematic version). Whether Phae-dor and his cohorts (minus Por-bat, obviously) eventually made good on his threat to mobilize against the Skrulls anew is something someone will have to educate me on--though I suspect that events such as the Skrull forces being scattered due to the attack of Galactus on their throneworld, the detonation of the Skrull genetics bomb, Operation: Galactic Storm devastating the Kree empire, and the fact that the Skrulls launched a second war against the Kree (just as they initiated the first, though this time with the Silver Surfer on their side) were enough to sidetrack his agenda indefinitely.


Anonymous said...

Did Marvel's writers know the difference between a galaxy and a solar-system because I suspect they didn't. Galaxies are billions of light-years apart so the idea of the Kree and Skrull "galaxies" being at war with each other is totally absurd. It would make more sense if the Kree and Skrull solar-systems, both existing within our own Milky Way galaxy, were at war with each other.

Big Murr said...

"Galaxies" might be too grandiose, but "solar systems"?? The mighty Kree Empire fills a solar system? It's like saying the Roman Empire extended to the city limits of Rome and no further. That ain't impressing nobody, no how.

And it is not "did the writers know", past tense, but "do the writers know", present tense. Earth characters still visit Hala and other throne worlds without much fuss or effort. The Annihilation Wave kicked the stuffing out of all the Marvel stellar powers, which meant it spanned a stupidly large invasion front.

Even if we use white-out to remove "galaxies" and substitute "Star Trek" style areas similar to the the Klingon or Romulan Empires within the Milky Way, the distances are a lot further than the writers seem to comprehend.

Anonymous said...

Fwiw the past interrogative - "did the writers know" - seems to me more appropriate here as the discussion is about old comics.
The current Marvel writers are bound by precedent (continuity) so it doesn't matter what they know about astronomy.


Comicsfan said...

I quite agree that the notion of wars encompassing entire galaxies borders (if not tramples) on the absurd. Frankly, I'm surprised that Marvel doesn't simply refer to these star powers as they refer to themselves--"empires," which would still register sufficiently impressive to the reader since we know the empires of the Kree, the Shi'ar, and the Skrulls at the time encompassed hundreds or even thousands of worlds. Of course, in this case, the "War of the Three Galaxies" would have had to have been recaptioned to "the War of the Two Empires and One Backwater Planet in the Sol System"; on the bright side, however, we'd hardly seem worth fighting over, eh? :)

Anonymous said...

Not worth fighting over Comicsfan? But size doesn't matter, as my girlfriend tells me (ha, no, not really - that was a joke) - aren't you forgetting the destiny force?
We're cosmically important, donchyaknow.


Anonymous said...

The problem with fighting between galaxies is the same as would be between solar systems. Distance. Even if you were going the speed of light, the fastest you can go, it'd take a four and a half years to get to Alpha Centauri, the closest star. And there might not be anybody there anyway!
Other solar systems, forget it. We're talking thousands of years. Obviously they're folding space, or "warping", so maybe sheer distance wouldn't come into it. Another solar system or galaxy, what's the difference.
But why the heck would anybody invade another galaxy anyway? Isn't your own galaxy big enough to terrorize?
I dunno.


Anonymous said...

Galaxies are "only" millions of light-years apart, not billions as I claimed in my previous comment...D'OH!!

Justin said...

Though I realize it was not the main point of you post, thanks for informing me about this earlier Shatterstar. I thought the name was brand new with the X-Force character of the 90s. Knowing Marvel had previously used the name, I'm a little disappointed no one tried to write in some sort of connection between the two. (If Jim Shooter had still been in charge, I wonder if they would have.)

lordjim6 said...

Well, the original was a dead Kree with a kind of vague (though eye catching in my opinion) power suit. Heck, I remember thinking his death was kind of adrupt and really kind of undercut the previous scenes of peril in hindsight. I can totally sympathize with no one wanting to link X-force with that kind of counter productive and pointless baggage. Also, I would be shocked if Rob Liefeld has heard of this story now or then. Doug Moench has done so much better.