Friday, April 15, 2016

Flashback Review! The Avengers: Celestial Madonna

 Did he just tell her to marry a tree....?

  From time to time, as I deem it necessary, and for reasons that ordinary men may never fathom, I shall reach back into the vaults and publish a "Classic" (Old.) review. Since I'm about to publish a new review that is related to this oldie, I present, for your enjoyment, from November 17th, 2003 (Back when I was single and childless, and had all the time in the world to read....) THE AVENGERS: CELESTIAL MADONNA......Read on.

Ever since I was a kid in the late '70's, I've heard comic fans speak in hushed, reverential whispers about the classic "Celestial Madonna" storyline in The Avengers. So of course, I couldn't buy this book fast enough. In the agonizingly long three days it took me to read the book, I learned a very valuable lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life: You really CAN'T go home again. Or, more precisely, just because something was good almost thirty years ago, that doesn't mean it'll stand the test of time.....
Celestial Madonna is awful. Just awful. I can't say enough bad things about it. The book is tremendously overwritten, in typical '70's Marvel style, by Steve Englehart & Roy Thomas, with art by some true Marvel greats, that is unfortunately marred by Marvel's tendency of the time to match pencillers with inkers that didn't compliment their style. The Don Heck art in the last chapter is particularly atrocious looking. The story, such as it is, revolves around the character who, to me, is the kiss of death to any Avengers story: Kang the Conqueror. Where Kang goes, convoluted storytelling follows. He attempts to abduct the female Avenger who will become the fabled "Celestial Madonna" so he can mate with her and conquer the universe. Too bad for him he doesn't know which lady Avenger the Madonna IS, so he abducts Mantis, The Scarlet Witch, and the 80-something-year-old Agatha Harkness(!)........Ewwww[...] From there, the writers throw in everything but the kitchen sink, as the waters are made more and more muddy by the inclusion of The Frankenstein Monster, The Kree, The Skrulls, living plant-people, The Flying Dutchman, Rama-Tut, Immortus, Ultron, The Original Human Torch, Dormammu, Quasimodo The Living Computer, I could go on and on. I consider myself pretty well-versed in Marvel Universe history, and not only did I find myself reeling under all the references to past stories, but after a while, I just stopped caring. As I said, the book is waaaaayy too text-heavy, and it's just a chore to read. The end is a big anti-climax, as we learn nothing about the true role of the Celestial Madonna......But I give the book 1 star anyway, since I've never seen anyone tell a woman she had to marry a tree before.........