Page 45 Review by Stephen
"I've seen and done many strange things!
"I've understood some of what's transpired, not all!
"But it's started me thinking!
"And perhaps that was all I needed!"
Or perhaps some lysergic acid diethylamide-25 would come in handy.
Writer Jim Starlin was particularly partial.
Otherwise this was brave back then but now pretty impenetrable, buried under a mountain of hand-wringing prose so deeply purple that it tinted the skin of the Titan within. The Titan in question being Thanos, son of Mentor and brother of Eros, who's set his sights on conquering Saturn's moon and thence the universe itself. Via planet Earth, obviously, or why would we even know?
Meanwhile, Thanos conducts an admirably platonic love affair with Death. That woman always gets the last laugh with us mere mortals, but here she doesn't even try to get a word in edgeways. Very wise: if she had eyebrows, they would probably arch.
Artistically, it is fascinating to witness a young Jim Starlin develop on the page, at first hindered by the ham-fisted inking of weakling Chic Stone (who never did anyone a visual favour) then embellished by the increasingly competent hands of Dave Cockrum, Pablo Marcos and finally the criminally underrated Dan Green.
Historically, it is interesting to note that this is where the good Captain's hair does the reverse of turning grey and goes blonde instead, just as he achieves Cosmic Awareness. So there's half your repertoire of jokes null and void.
Increasingly angry about the Titan's transgressions, our Kree warrior Mar-Vell is taken aside by higher, universal entities like Kronos and Eon and possibly even Eternity to be taught "enlightenment through discipline and training". Only then can he take on an enemy who, using the Cosmic Cube which makes all dreams come true, has turned himself into a God. Thanos doesn't make particularly good use of it, though. Scratch that: after searching so long for the Cosmic Cube, Thanos appears to manifest no plans for it whatsoever. If I got my paws on the Cosmic Cube I would, at the very least, clear my credit card debt and make sure Aqua's 'Barbie Girl' never, ever existed.
Meanwhile teenager Rick Jones, bonded to Mar-Vell via Nega-Bands, cries like a Brony whose MY LITTLE PONY has sacrificed its unicorn virginity to Satan's engorged and wart-ridden cock.
Don't get me wrong: I have all the individual issues and lapped them up as a drunken early teenager, but this is basically Starlin's earliest Captain Marvel stories rudely interjected by an awful lot of offal (the inverse of editing) or you could look at it as all the earliest Thanos appearances outside of Starlin's perfectly coherent CAPTAIN MARVEL and WARLOCK collections which are available separately and highly recommended because they eschew all this stringy, jaw-straining junk.
However, just so you know, this collects IRON MAN (1968) #55, CAPTAIN MARVEL (1968) #25-33, MARVEL FEATURE (1971) #12, DAREDEVIL (1964) #105-107, AVENGERS (1963) #125, WARLOCK (1972) #9-11 and #15, AVENGERS ANNUAL (1967) #7, MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #2, and material from LOGAN'S RUN #6.