The Avengers #97
Marvel Comics (March, 1972; final issue in the comiXology version of the Kree/Skrull War trade collection)
WRITER: Roy Thomas
ARTIST: John Buscema
INKER: Tom Palmer
LETTERER: Sam Rosen
EDITOR: Stan Lee
A beam of energy comes out of Rick’s head, blasting Annihilus away while Rick is dragged to a somehow more dangerous area of the Negative Zone. Guided by the Supreme Intelligence, Rick returns to the regular world and the Kree prison, where he is instructed how to create duplicates of the World War II superheroes (including Captain American and Namor but also the original Human Torch, Angel, and Vision plus the Fin, Patriot, and Blazing Skull) to hold off Rowan’s forces while Rick focuses his mental energies. Believing he was responsible for Rick’s disappearance Mar-Vell destroys the Omni-Wave projector. Using Mar-Vell as a conduit, Rick manages to send energy that freezes the Kree and Skrulls in place. Then the Avengers are brought to to the Kree planet, learning that Craddock was one of the Skrulls who escaped (the real Craddock later found by Nick Fury and the Avengers cleared of charges) and seeing an unconscious Rick. The Intelligence believes that the Kree and Skrull races have reached their final rung of evolution’s ladder while Rick had untapped powers because humanity still has further to grow. To save his life, Mar-Vell merges with Rick and everyone is sent back to Earth…except for Clint.
What they got right: The art is good.
What they got wrong: I’ll get more into it tonight, where I plan to go over my full thoughts of the arc, but it seems like they just wanted to wrap everything up. Rick suddenly gets powers that reset everything. Oh, Craddock was a Skrull with vocal hypnosis and then he’s killed but the real Craddock clears the Avengers off-panel. You’d think it was the final issue and they had to wrap everything else up, but this title went for decades until Marvel got anti-large numbers and started resetting the numbers every few years.
What I think overall: The issue itself isn’t a very satisfying ending, but I’ll go over my thoughts of the arc as a whole as tonight’s feature article.