Monday 26 September 2011

Avengers #129. The Celestial Madonna Saga: Part 4.

Avengers #129, Kang and the Celestial Madonna
Way back in the early-to-mid-1980s, Madonna Louise Ciccone might've been singing about her Lucky Star but, in The Avengers #129, her Celestial counterpart gets her very own star - right above the Avengers Mansion.

To some this might seem like a good thing, as all that light spilling from it into the mansion'll save the Avengers a fortune on electricity.

But it only brings trouble, as Kang the Conqueror takes its appearance as his cue to launch an attack on our derring-doers.

It seems that, whoever the Celestial Madonna's to be, her child's going to be the most powerful being in the Universe and, like the unassuming soul he is, Kang's decided that if anyone's going to be father to that child, it's going to be him.

So he defeats the Avengers with ridiculous ease, captures the Scarlet Witch, Mantis and Agatha Harkness - in case one of them's suitable material to be the next Mrs Kang - and whisks them all off to Egypt where he's set up base in the pyramid of his earlier incarnation Rama-Tut.

Avengers #129, Mantis, Scarlet Witch and Agatha Harkness are rendered helpless
Being the insensitive brute he is, Kang doesn't bother capturing the Swordsman, who he deems to not be worthy of his attention; leaving Swordy to make his own way to Egypt, under the captive Agatha Harkness' mystic guidance. Unfortunately, just as he's about zap Kang, he's stopped by someone who declares himself to be Rama-Tut.

I suppose the main thought this issue raises is what's going on in Kang's head? Not knowing who the Celestial Madonna's going to be, he captures all three women who're present at the Avengers Mansion - including the not exactly youthful Agatha Harkness. I don't like to be ageist but, really, what're the chances that a woman who looks like she'll never see 100 again is going to be one he's after? And what's he going to do if she is?

Avengers #129, Swordsman vs a vampire
From one thing that doesn't bear thinking about to one man who doesn't get thought about. And that's the Swordsman. The former villain continues his long decline into psychic collapse as he now has to battle on, knowing that both the woman he loves and the Avengers' deadliest foe view him as beneath consideration.

Not only that but, as the issue nears its climax, he has to overcome the knowledge that he's only still alive to see it because a vampire he's encountered in Rama-Tut's pyramid couldn't be bothered to kill him when it saw more appetising prey. I know from personal experience that it rarely does a man's self-esteem good to know he's not even viewed as a worthwhile meal.

Still, there is at least hope at the end of the tale that he can turn it round.

But just who is that man claiming to be Rama-Tut - and how can he be there if Kang is too?

Only Steve Englehart and the next instalment of our thrilling serial can tell us.

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