I warn you now, this will be one of the shortest posts on this blog—even for Avengers issues in this period, there is much less Captain America than usual. Perhaps that’s because of the outer space setting, which also continues into the Avengers and Fantastic Four annuals that follow it (as well as issue #261), but these issues need to be covered first… and quickly. (I will forego most of my usual story synopsis, because it has very little to do with Cap anyway.)
In issue #259, before the rest of the heroes join Captain Marvel in space, Cap traverses Manhattan without the benefit of crosswalks, and runs into the It Couple of the day, She-Hulk and Wyatt Wingfoot (a close friend of Johnny Storm going back to Fantastic Four #50).
Remember that airplane Cap boarded abruptly in London in Captain America #307? Well, the bill has come due, in no small part because the government is still mad about the Vision’s super-hacking, as we saw in Avengers #255.
Here begins the search for Captain Marvel, at which point Captain America starts to collect the team, finding the Wasp and Black Knight playing with an overgrown mechanized horsie-ride like the ones that were the highlight of many a grocery store trip when we were kids.
Once in space but before they reconnect with Captain Marvel, the team is surrounded by a Skrull armada, the leader of which demands surrender—a demand the more experienced tactician Captain America takes in stride, as opposed to his hotheaded colleague.
At Captain Marvel’s urging, the Avengers meet with the Skrulls and are called to help them fight the threat of Nebula, who claims to be the granddaughter of Thanos. Even though Cap isn’t involved, the ensuing discussion over jurisdiction is interesting, with the Black Knight starting off with an appeal to the team’s limited resources and the need for them to protect the Earth, not interests in space, Skrull or otherwise.
Captain Marvel doesn’t dispute this, but argues that this fight is in Earth’s interest, given Nebula’s goals of conquest throughout the entire galaxy. (Hmm, if only the galaxy had guardians…)
Cap finally steps in to support his fellow Cap, but ultimately defers to the Avengers leader for a final decision.
Issue #260 is mostly star wars—lowercase, don’t sue me Mr. Lucas please—with Cap in command (presumably at the pleasure of the Wasp).
When Thanos appears, Starfox is excited to see his brother, thought to be dead…
…but Cap nonetheless stands up to the Mad Titan when he wants to execute war prisoners, and when a principled appeal doesn’t work, he tries a more pragmatic one, although it is hardly logic that Cap would accept himself.
If you’re surprised that the argument would even work on Thanos, congratulations: That’s your first clue (well, after the fact that he’s alive) that it’s not Thanos at all, and neither were the Avengers who followed him. (Gee, I sure hope the Skrulls never think to take the forms of Earth heroes again…)
At least the Skrulls are smart enough acknowledge Cap’s authority.
In the end, the Beyonder shows up—this issue is a Secret Wars II tie-in, after all—and disposes of Nebula and her lackeys, leaving the Avengers to have another adventure with the Skrulls in Avengers Annual #14, covered in the next post.
Collected in: Avengers: The Legacy of Thanos.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #255-258 (May-August 1985)