Avengers #346 and Iron Man #279 (April 1992)

“Operation: Galactic Storm” marches on with two more installments featuring Captain America, both featuring the subset of the team (including Cap and Iron Man) that is trying to talk to the Kree leadership in hopes of defusing the conflict between them and the Shi’ar that threatens Earth’s sun.

In Avengers #346, Cap strikes a very dramatic pose, no doubt in the spirit of “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” to point out the Kree citadel identified by Iron Man in our last installment. (The speaker in the dialogue boxes is the Kree’s former leader the Supreme Intelligence, who is using the conflict with the Shi’ar to regain control of his government.)

But the more important question is: Where in the world did Crystal and Sersi get those awesome jackets that will be a staple of Avengers fashion for years to come?

Thanks to the Black Knight, we learn their origin, which he apparently thinks makes up for the near-dissolution of the team itself. Meanwhile, Crystal suspects they’re being manipulated, and Hercules makes Cap’s speech for him.

At least Hercules gets the brunt of Sersi’s Eternal sarcasm, which is unrelenting even after Cap calls her into action.

(I think I’ve said it before, but imagine if Sersi in the Eternals film had been written with just a fraction of the attitude she has in the comics.)

Because the Avengers are going to face them soon, let’s introduce the newest Marvel sensations, Star Force—sorry, I meant STAR FORCE!!!—made up of many Kree warriors that have appeared in this storyline already.

Gee, I’m amazed this concept didn’t take off big (although a later version did show up in a Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel team-up book a few years ago).

It doesn’t take long for the two teams to meet, but not before Sersi turns her sarcasm to snark and skepticism, both of which Cap shrugs off before executing a oddly-timed flip in response to the arrival of Star Force.

The Avengers engage the Kree-vengers, with the Captains facing off…

…before our Cap turns to Ultimus, and Dr. Minerva finds his back turned.

As the fight continues, things do not look great for our heroes, but when the Black Knight suggests an escalation of tactics, Cap puts his foot down (to no one’s surprise).

Crystal seems more moderate than Dane, urging a more assertive approach (at the least), which Cap seems open to… until the topic is rendered moot.

It’s not the Supreme Intelligence, but the current rulers of the Kree, Ael-Dann and Dar-Benn—whom you didn’t need to get to know, seeing as they are killed by the Shi’ar warrior Deathbird after she traps the Avengers and Star Force in a forcefield. This conveniently leaves the Supreme Intelligence to assume power again while turning Kree sentiment even more against the Shi’ar—and the Avengers, whom he manages to blame as well and plans to execute post haste.

The action continues in Iron Man #279, where we see the opening of Captain America #399 shown on the Kree version of the Times Square Mega Screen…

…while the news report catches up the residents (and the cloaked Iron Man and Hawkeye) with the team’s current status as accused co-conspirators with the Shi’ar.

Tony sends Clint to look for Deathbird while he searches for their teammates, who are currently facing arraignment, with Cap being defiant as ever (obviously aware that they will face nothing like “true justice” here) and his fellow Avengers duly impressed.

In the citadel, Iron Man fights Ronan the Accuser while showing heroic resilience and willingness to sacrifice…

…as well as admirable self-awareness of his poor judgment call earlier.

With the (coerced) help of Deathbird, Clint manages to free the Avengers (who also reunite with a victorious Iron Man) before he grows and demolishes the Kree citadel. After they seek shelter underground, they realize Cap is missing, and they discuss whether to deal with the latest threat from the Shi’ar or stay to search for their colleague, with most of them echoing what Cap would say himself…

…except Clint, whom Tony quickly and coldly silences, again in service of the mission.

So what did happen to Captain America? Might he have been in that citadel that Clint knocked down like a Jenga tower? We’ll see in the landmark Captain America #400, which cleverly works a tribute to the Sentinel of Liberty into this sprawling storyline.


Avengers (vol. 1) #346, April 1992: Bob Harras (writer), Steve Epting (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks and colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Collected in: Avengers Epic Collection: Operation Galactic Storm.

Iron Man (vol. 1) #279, April 1992: Len Kaminski (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Bob Wiacek and Keith Williams (inks), Mike Rockwitz (colors), Michael Heisler (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Collected in: Iron Man Epic Collection: War Machine and Avengers Epic Collection: Operation Galactic Storm.

PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #345 and Iron Man #278 (March 1992)

ALSO THIS MONTH: Captain America #399 (April 1992)

NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #347 and Thor #447 (May 1992)

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