Marvel Comics (September, 1971; featured in the comiXology digital trade collection “The Kree/Skrull War”)
“All Things Must End!”
WRITER: Roy Thomas
ARTIST: Sal Bucema
INKER: George Roussos
LETTERER: Sam Rosen
EDITOR: Stan Lee
The technicians rescued decide to tell the press what they experienced. That gives H. Warren Craddock, of the Alien Activities Commission, the opening he needs to start a witch hunt, including on Mar-Vell. Carol arrives to take him someplace safe but that just makes things worse for the remaining quartet. At the trial Craddock manipulates events to his cause, though the Vision’s remarks do offer a sense of reason to the emotionally-heated proceedings. Not that The Thing, who is part of the hearing along with Mister Fantastic, makes things easier and nearly gets into a fight with Goliath. Suddenly, Rick has a vision (no, not him) of Mar-Vell being led into a trap and races out to help, disrupting the proceedings. The Avengers return to the mansion to find it the victim of rioters, before Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America show up, blaming them for allowing Mar-Vell to flee rather than have a trial, and temporarily disbands the Avengers.
What they got right: From a critic’s perspective, this is done pretty well. Using the McCarthy trials as a guide, Craddock is a decent foil and it’s not unlikely that events would proceed as seen here. This is how you use politics in a story correctly, not to preach but to get people thinking about not only the current climate but shadows of the past. (Nick Fury lets Mar-Vell going, comparing what Craddock is doing to locking up those of Japanese ancestry during World War II, even if they were born in the US or part of a multi-generational American family.) “Realism” here is used to serve the story, not just for cynical propaganda where the definition of “real” is based on your worldview, not actual people.
What they got wrong: From a personal perspective this is why I became a DC guy until DiDio ruined everything, and Jim Lee doesn’t seem to be fixing those problems. Rick talks about how the comics he grew up with, some of which turned out to be true while using public domain heroes as examples of actual superhero comic fiction (the Fighting Yank being the only one I recognize–a nice touch mind you), were simpler stories of good versus evil. That what I look for in my fiction and sadly this is not what we get here. So far the “Kree/Skrull War” has had a lot of Kree, not much Skrull, and hardly any war between the two evil factions.
What I think overall: It’s a good story but not what I really look for in my superhero adventures. Yes, taste does not equal quality. It’s well done, but this part of the story is not going to be for me.