Monday, November 23, 2020

Marvel Immersion Project: Captain Marvel #26-29

The Captain Marvel arc stretching from #25-34 is commonly referred to as The Life and Death of Captain Marvel.  It is one of the most important stories in setting the stage for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly Infinity War/Endgame.
Mike Friedrich, the primary writer at the beginning of the arc, was born March 27, 1949.  He got into comics through the letters to the editor pages.  His own persistent writing eventually led to an ongoing correspondence with editor Julius Schwartz at DC Comics.  Schwartz first bought one of Friedrich's scripts, a Robin story, in 1967.  He has written extensively for both DC and Marvel, most notably as lead writer for Justice League of America and Iron Man.  He also published one of the first independent comics: Star*Reach.

My Recent Reads

Captain Marvel #26
Originally Published: May 1, 1973
Writers: Mike Friedrich and Jim Starlin
Artist: Starlin
  • As it turns out, Thanos was the one directing Super-Skrull and Skragg in the previous issue.
  • Thanos has recruited The Controller to enslave Earth on his behalf.
  • Captain Marvel and Thing (he of the Fantastic Four) are tricked into fighting each other.
  • Death makes his first appearance in the Marvel Universe.

Captain Marvel #27
July 1, 1973
  • Captain Marvel goes to Titan to do battle with Thanos and his minions. 
  • Featured:
Mentor and Eros via Marvel Database

    • Eros (Thanos's brother) and Mentor (Thanos's father).  They're on Mar-Vell/Rick's side.
    • Drax the Destroyer, defender of the Cosmic Cube which Thanos seeks.
  • The Avengers join in the fun.

Captain Marvel #28
September 1, 1973
  • The Controller invades the Avengers Mansion and defeats them all, rather easily.
  • Thanos battles Drax for the Cube.  Thanos wins.
  • The Controller defeats Captain Marvel who reverts back to Rick Jones who then appears to have lost the ability to switch back and forth.
  • Apparently Mar-Vell is still around, though.  The issue ends with a one-page prologue for the next.  The space entity Eon tells Mar-Vell that in order to defeat Thanos, Mar-Vell must die.
  • Featured:
    • Blood Brothers
    • Kronos
  • Page 14 of #28 is extraordinary, depicting a "sync-warp" in the very trippy, Ditko-esque battle between Drax and Thanos.  I want a poster:
Captain Marvel #29
November 1, 1973
Writer and Artist: Starlin
  • This is a major transitional issue for the character.  Not coincidentally, it's also the first on which Jim Starlin takes over as both lead artist and lead writer.
  • Eon has summoned Mar-Vell while the latter's alter ego Rick Jones is trapped under the rubble of Avengers Mansion.
  • Eon leads Mar-Vell through a series of visions to convince him of the evils of war.  To face the threat of Thanos, Eon encourages Mar-Vell to take on the role of protector rather than warrior.
  • Mar-Vell accepts, getting a new costume and a new hairstyle as part of the bargain.


  1. It's funny because, for decades, these stories were completely forgotten. Of no consequence at all.

  2. I don't know enough to say these are the ultimate Thanos stories - they're more important for Captain Marvel's development - but the basic themes are awfully familiar to those who know the films.

  3. The Death of Captain Marvel left a huge impression on me. My oldest sibling happened to get her hands on a copy, and I had a look. It was one of the first comics I ever read, and as great a initial experience as you can possibly get.

    1. I wish I could remember my first! Pretty sure I bought a Batman and a Star Wars at the local grocery store. I think I might recognize the Batman if I saw it...