Secret Avengers (1st series) #28

Issue Date: 
August 2012
Story Title: 

Rick Remender (writer), Renato Guedes (artist), Matthew Wilson with Jeremy Mohler (color artists), Chris Eliopoulous (letterer), Alan Davis, Mark Farmer and Laura Martin (cover art), John Denning & Jake Thomas (assistant editors), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

With Beast, Thor and Vision defeated, the mind-controlled Captain Mar-Vell heads back to Hala with Ms. Marvel and the Protector. On Hala, Captain Britain, Valkyrie and War Machine prepare to meet deaths at the hands of a Kree accuser. Fortunately, the Vision was feigning unconsciousness all along and he uses his counter signal to prove to Mar-Vell and the others that they have been fooled. They arrive back on Hala just in time to stop the execution. The Minister Marvel who is behind both the mind-control and bringing the Phoenix to Hala, kills his son and then himself, misguidedly believing that he will live on in Kree history as some kind of savior. The problem of the Phoenix Force is still pressing, however. Whilst Kree soldiers are killed trying to stop it, Hank and Carol decide that there is one last chance. She heads into space with Thor to confront the Phoenix. Once within range, she uses her Binary powers to try and siphon the Phoenix’s energy, which Thor can then send to the dark matter fields on the outskirts of existence. Unfortunately, she fails because the Phoenix has no intentions of going anywhere. Mar-Vell catches her as she falls, and Captain Britain then tries to force the creature back himself. He now believes in his own abilities and manages to hold his own. However, Mar-Vell, knowing that all that the creature wants is the energy within him, sacrifices his life to save not only the Avengers, but the entire planet. Carol later writes a communiqué to Tony Stark, hoping that their experience will be of some help to him as the Phoenix heads towards Earth.

Full Summary: 

(sometime soon)
Ms. Marvel sends a communiqué to Tony Stark back on Earth. She logs the report while the details are still clear in her head. She hopes it will reach Tony in time to do him some good. He needs to know what they experienced on Hala and how they failed. She explains that the mind control they experienced was an organic Kree omniwave. It subliminally influenced the entire population and anyone fuelled by Kree energies, namely herself, the Protector and Captain Mar-Vell. All of this was attributable to a relative of Mar-Vell’s known as Minister Marvel.

The minister believed that the Phoenix would spark a grand ascension in his people, but of course that is all nonsense. He suffered the same delusions as Scott Summers and, like Summers, the Minister Marvel was willing to place the lives of billions in harm’s way to test his blind faith. He overlooked one inescapable truth… the Phoenix has consumed every world in its path.

Captain Britain, War Machine and Valkyrie are shackled and kneeling in front of a Kree accuser holding a huge axe. He wishes to deal with these ‘thieves’ as their ancestors did in ancient days. James asks the other two if they’re sure neither of them can break their shackles. Now would be a good time if possible… not that he hasn’t enjoyed their time together. Valkyrie replies that the shackles negate their strength, but she reminds Brian that his power is based upon the depth of his courage. It is limitless. Brian replies that he’s trying but the axe above him isn’t helping. As the accuser raises the weapon, Brian struggles to break the chains.

Meanwhile, Noh-Varr, the Protector and Ms. Marvel are returning to Hala with the fallen heroes. However, the Vision, who had been feigning unconsciousness all along, activates the counter-signal and all three of their captors immediately see the truth.” What have we done?” asks Noh-Varr. Looking out at the approaching Phoenix Force, Mar-Vell gasps that they have brought death to Hala. They arrive back just in time to prevent the accuser from swinging his axe. He tells everyone gathered to witness the execution to stop as they are in terrible danger. The Vision’s counter-signal releases the watching Kree from their illusion and they see the danger approaching. Vision asks the accuser who actually gave the order for this execution. He snarls, “He is in the Grand Palace. The Minister Marvel is the one you seek.”

Over at the palace, the minister is with his son watching events unfold on a series of monitors. He tells his son that his influence has been undone. They are coming for them. Perhaps he was hasty in offering his son the sobriquet marvel mind. His son replies with a hint of sarcasm that he’s sure his father could have manipulated all of Hala with his great powers of… He pauses before asking, “Remind me. What gifts do you possess?”

His father gives him a withering look and replies that he has no superhuman ability. Unlike him, he was born with very little. No money. No stature. He was the relative of a disgraced warrior who chose humans over his Kree family. The name Mar-Vell was a curse to him, but his gift was faith; faith that there was something more awaiting his people. Faith that there is a hand guiding the universe. Regardless of the prejudice their name inspired, he always maintained a sense of his own worth.

He says that understanding one’s value is often the difference between success and failure. He walks around the room, positioning himself behind his son. As the boy tucks into a hot meal, his father tells him that the Phoenix is upon them. He has kept their people on Hala as it approached, but now he has no worth. Without mercy, he thrusts a dagger into the back of his son’s neck and it emerges through his throat. He quickly chokes to death as his father adds that, once the Phoenix bestows her great gift on their people, he will reclaim his family honor. Mar-Vell will no longer be a name associated with shame and betrayal. It will be that of an iconoclast who saw a grand future and ushered it in. He will bask in the adoration that he has earned and his son’s name will be entirely omitted.

Meanwhile, Vision, Mar-Vell and Thor approach the palace. Time is short and they know little of the minister’s abilities. As they walk towards the giant entrance doors, Mar-Vell tells them that, if what the accuser said about the minister’s son is true, they may have few pleasant options. Thor replies that they have the one option they need to defeat this foe; the might of Mjolnir! He smashes the door through and they see the minister standing before them with a gun to his temple. His son is slouched before him, bleeding from the throat. “Honor me in your memories uncle,” says the minister. “They will never again mock the name Mar-Vell.” Those are his final words before he kills himself.

With the sky turning orange due to the Phoenix Force’s approach, James asks what the plan is. Beast says he is open to suggestions. Valkyrie doesn’t feel there is enough time to evacuate the population. “If we had the Phoenix cage…” remarks Noh-Varr. Captain Britain says they don’t. He saw to that much. Hank points out that it’s only a matter of minutes before it reaches them. Valkyrie knows that there is a purpose behind Hank’s words so she asks him to speak quickly. Hank turns to Carol and tells her that there is one option. However, it could cost her. Carol replies that she has already considered this. If he thinks it has a chance in hell of working then they should get to it.

Out in space, the Kree’s own warriors are trying out some ideas. They head towards the Phoenix Force in their ships with their deflector shields up. Two ships draw the monster from the rest of the fleet and, once the Phoenix is within striking distance, they prepare to unleash the omnipulse. However, they do not realize how insignificant they are against such a creature. Before they can fire, the ships are swallowed up by the flaming bird. On one of the other ships, the captain receives word to return the fleet back to Hala, but she doesn’t feel they can give up now. One of her officers then informs her that there is something she should see. He doesn’t think they are giving up. He thinks they’re getting help.

Outside the ship. Thor and Ms. Marvel fly towards the Phoenix. Thor feels that he should have asked this before they departed, but is she certain this is even possible? Carol replies that is certain of nothing. She hasn’t done this in a lo-ng time.

(sometime soon)
In Carol’s communiqué to Earth, she tells Tony Stark that the plan was pure desperation. She would reconnect with a local white hole the way she used to, allowing its flat energies to infect and replace her own. Hank surmised that the dangers to the fabric of reality were normal. The real risk was the potential of extinguishing the life of a newly-formed universe on the other side. But… there were no other options. If any of them were to survive, it was up to her.

Carol reaches out, opening up a hole in space to siphon the energies from within. Thor watches nervously as her body rocks with fresh power, but soon it becomes clear that Carol knows what she is doing. Carol sizzles with power. Now, as Binary, she begins to negate the mass of the Phoenix and draw it into her body against its will. As she sucks in the Phoenix’s energy, Thor opens a portal to the dark matter fields on the outskirts of existence.

(sometime soon)
Carol writes to Tony that there was no more time or space. She could see things from all sides at once. Her own life receded to such a small part of her consciousness that fear was gone, as was the idea of human mortality. All of what she was shrunk down to a pinpoint. But, what she found rejected her. It made a choice.

Watching, the Avengers realize that something is wrong. Carol is enveloped by searing white hot flame from the Phoenix’s mouth and falls, cast aside like she was nothing to the Phoenix’s power. Mar-Vell collects her and tells her that she did her utmost, but there was never a question of the outcome. Captain Britain, however, disagrees. He flies toward the Phoenix, remembering Thor’s words as he flies. ‘Remember. Your challenge is to listen to your heart, Braddock. To see yourself for what you are. A noble man. Once you do, once you see that, there is nothing in the heavens that can match your strength.’

Captain Britain comes face to face with the Phoenix Force. He extends his shields and begins to push the giant bird back, finally believing in his own abilities. Meanwhile, Mar-Vell tells Carol that the Phoenix will never stop until it has claimed its true objective; it energies within him. Carol understands what he’s saying. She says he can’t do this. His return has been a miracle. They’ve only just got him back and she can’t lose him again or replace him. Mar-Vell replies that she’s no one’s replacement. He then flies over to Captain Britain and tells him he’s done enough. He grabs him by the arm but Brian orders him to release it. He asks Mar-Vell to trust him. He will not bend. Mar-Vell replies that this is the thing that Cap’s never understood. The difference between confidence and arrogance is knowing when you need help. He throws Cap away from him and faces the Phoenix himself.

Carol writes in her communiqué to Tony Stark that Mar-Vell was everything she remembered and more. He didn’t offer up a moment’s hesitation He gave his life willingly, allowing the Phoenix to take back its energies from him. His unrivalled nobility and courage? How they need that. How they need that pure valor. How much different things would be if he were still there with them. How much she misses her dear friend.

She explains that she woke up uninjured, physically at least. They’ve spent the time since his death rebuilding the Quincarrier and the Kree have been helpful. Thor is injured but at least he is alive. Hank McCoy and Brian Braddock are hopeful that they can rebuild the Phoenix Cage, but nothing is certain. Noh-Varr has not been able to fully recover from the ordeal. He’s is haunted by some ghost. She concludes her message by saying that, in the face of the horror still awaiting them, the team’s morale is surprisingly high. It has been infused by the nobility of a long-dead friend’s selflessness and strength and with the image of a lone man willing to sacrifice his opportunity for life for a world and people that forsook him. They are inspired by the very notion of such nobility. Captain Marvel. The name will always define the best of them. Perhaps the name should live on.

On a distant planet, Mar-Vell’s body lands and, over time, life begins to grow around it.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Captain Britain, Ms. Marvel/Binary, Protector, Thor, Valkyrie, Vision, War Machine (all Avengers)

The Phoenix Force
Captain Mar-Vell

Kree Minister Mar-Vell and his son
Kree accuser and citizens
Kree soldiers

Story Notes: 

This is a part of the AvX crossover and take place before events in Avengers (4th series) #26 - 27.

The issue is untitled but is presumably Operation Phoenix part 3.

The marvel mind, judging by the minister’s son, enhances the mind of the possessor and also makes minor changes to their physical appearance.

Written By: