Is this R. Crumb? The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers? Or some other weird underground comic from the 1960s or 70s?
Nope. It’s Marvel Comics‘ double-sized anniversary issue number 200 of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – The Avengers. This issue is dated October, 1980 and… it’s bonkers!
At this point, I’m going to warn you that I will be spoiling the heck out of this 38 year old comic book.
In the lead up (issues #197-199) to a very special issue of The Avengers, readers learn that Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel, is pregnant. We also learn that this is no ordinary pregnancy. Not only is it progressing at a highly accelerated rate, according to Ms. Marvel, who would surely know, there is no father. In fact, she stops just short of admitting to The Scarlet Witch that she’s a virgin.
“When I shouldn’t even be pregnant at all! I never even… I-I mean, there couldn’t be…
Blast it, Wanda, there isn’t a father!“
In a matter of days, with the assistance of Dr. Donald Blake, aka The Mighty Thor, and Jocasta, a robot created by the evil Ultron to be his mate (it didn’t work out – long story), Ms. Marvel delivers a healthy baby boy. The big-brained science members of The Avengers whisk the baby away for a battery of tests, while the new mom is wheeled off to her room for some rest. This does not upset Carol, as it might most any other new mother, in fact, she doesn’t want anything to do with the boy. She doesn’t consider him to be her son.
That’s actually probably a good thing considering what happens later. And what happened before.
Much the same as with the pregnancy, the boy grows at an incredible rate. Within hours he is talking and building a special machine for a purpose he refuses to reveal. He’s incredibly intelligent and resourceful; and he’s named himself Marcus.
As Marcus was growing, Captain America thought he’d ask the miracle boy some questions to determine just what is going on.
Captain America asks, “For starters, where did you come from?”
Marcus answers, “My mother.”
“Yes, we know that, but… that is, how were you conceived?”
“Uhhhm… By my father?”
“Well, of course, blast it! But who is your father?”
Hold the flip phone! Virgin birth? The kid is his own father? Well, what do you know? I guess this can be considered my Christmas blog.
Somehow Marcus is causing all manner of space/time continuity errors to occur. Ordinary people from modern times are being shifted to earlier time periods. Spacecraft from the future have been brought to 1980. A medieval knight attempts to skewer The Scarlet Witch in a hallway of the Avengers Mansion, while an impossibly large T-Rex attacks it from the outside.
Ms. Marvel finally gives in and goes to meet her “son”, who is now a young man, very nearly her own age. When she sees him she feels immediate stirrings. And not the maternal kind.
Eventually, Marcus tells his tale.
He’s the son of an evil time lord named Immortus, who ruled over the timeless realm of Limbo, but he was originally from earth. (It really is a long and convoluted story. Just go with me, OK?) Immortus was lonely in Limbo, so he plucked a woman from earth to be his mate, and along came Marcus 1.0. However, Marcus is not like his father. He is not evil.
When Immortus disappeared, due to a battle with the Avengers, Marcus was abandoned in Limbo. He wandered lonely for what might have been an eternity, when he thought since he was born into Limbo, perhaps he could be born out.
Taking a page out of his father’s book, Marcus scanned earth for a suitable woman. He found Ms. Marvel, zapped her into Limbo, showed her a good time with the assistance of Shakespeare and Beethoven, and she responded favorably. They… er… gained carnal knowledge of each other, during which Marcus implanted his “essence” into her. (This was approved by the Comics Code Authority?!) She was then sent back to earth a “mere second” after he had abducted her, with no memories of what had happened.
Then came the fast track pregnancy and – voila – Marcus 2.0!
Sadly, his presence was causing the time shift problems and would soon doom the earth if he couldn’t stop it. That’s what the machine he built was supposed to do, but hot-headed, shoot-first-ask-questions-later Hawkeye barged in and destroyed it. That meant Marcus couldn’t stay on earth. His plan had failed. He now had to return to the loneliness of Limbo.
However, he wasn’t going to be alone. Ms. Marvel, feeling an intense attraction and love for Marcus, decided to go with him.
Technically, Marcus isn’t her son. They don’t share DNA. And he existed before she gave birth to him…
She gave birth to him! She doesn’t want to be his mother, she wants to be his lover! That’s bonkers! Right?!
This tale was conceived by Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, David Michelinie, and George Perez. Michelinie wrote the final script and the incomparable Perez drew it with inks by Dan Green. Not a woman in the bunch. No mothers around to say, “Boys! This plot line is bonkers!”
Years later, Star Trek: The Next Generation would use the fast track pregnancy and quickly growing alien offspring plot (The Child – Episode 1, Season 2) involving Counselor Troi. However, she didn’t develop the hots for her kid.
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