Avengers Classics

Avengers Classics: The Korvac Saga

Earth's Mightiest Heroes take on an enigmatic man-god with the power of life—and death!

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By Jim Beard

"And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born-to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand!"

As the Heroic Age dawns on the Marvel Universe and we prepare for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, each Friday Marvel.com will present a different column focusing on the one and only Avengers. From line-ups to costumes to villains to classic stories and beyond, we've got you covered on the history of Marvel's most prolific team of heroes!

So let the call go out: Avengers Assemble!

 

Michael Korvac: both man and god, he presented Earth's Mightiest Heroes

MARVEL LEGENDS: AVENGERS - THE KORVAC SAGA
with a challenge almost beyond their capacity to understand, let alone conquer. The Korvac Saga marks one of the team's greatest epics, remembered today as a high-water mark in their history.

Introduced in 1975's GIANT-SIZE DEFENDERS #3, Korvac met Doctor Strange on the field of battle as a cyborg pawn in a game between the enigmatic Grandmaster and the so-called Prime Mover. His defeat came somewhat easily to Strange but by the time he encountered the Avengers he'd become so much more than just a grafting of machine to man.

It began almost quietly, in AVENGERS #167, as the Avengers met the Guardians of the Galaxy, a team of futuristic fighters in search of "the mad machine man," Korvac. They believed he'd fled their era to the Avengers' time and sought Earth's Mightiest Heroes' aid in halting the cyborg's plan to create an alternate future, one in which Korvac ruled unopposed by the Guardians.

As the Guardians talked, Korvac whisked a beautiful young model named Carina away from a Park Avenue fashion show. Little did the Avengers know that he'd gained the Power Cosmic from Galactus' space station and refashioned himself into a god-like being of immense power. Their attentions focused on the problem of NSC agent Henry Gyrich and their own internal squabbles.

AVENGERS #167
But trouble brewed on another plane of existence as Guardians member Starhawk fought Korvac on his own, both as himself and his female half, Aleta. The man-god killed Starhawk after an arduous otherworldly battle, then remade him sans memory of the fight-and Korvac's presence-and sent him on his way.

Meanwhile, as the Avengers took on many other challenges, including the return of Hawkeye, heroes began mysteriously disappearing as another powerful player entered the saga: The Collector. In AVENGERS #174, the team confronted the Elder entity in his lair and after defeating him watched helplessly as Korvac sent a beam of nigh-powerful energy to disintegrate The Collector where he stood. Why? The Collector had sent his own daughter, Carina, to infiltrate Korvac's defenses but, unable to betray him after falling in love with her would-be victim, she paid the price and became an orphan.

For his own part, Korvac wanted only peace on Earth, or so he claimed. A peace under his "proprietorship," of course.

AVENGERS #175
After a long hunt, the Avengers, with Iron Man leading the squad, tracked Korvac down in a quiet little residential section of Queens, New York. There, the nigh-omnipotent one and his lover Carina had made a sort-of home for themselves while Korvac brooded and planned his path to a utopian Earth. After being uncovered and realizing his presence had become known to all the myriad cosmic entities with ties to the planet, Michael Korvac went to war against the collection of heroes on his doorstep.

AVENGERS #177 revealed the grisly nature of the battle as Korvac literally slew all who dared confront him. In the end, Captain America and Wonder Man proved instrumental in weakening their enemy's defenses and the combined might of the remaining Avnegers, Guardians of the Galaxy as well as the failing love of Carina drove a beaten Korvac to suicide. His last act stood as a testament to his supposed desire for peace, though: the resurrection of all whom he slew.

Questions remained at the end of the Korvac Saga. Was there truly no real malice in the man-god's heart? Could mankind benefited from his attentions had the entire scenario gone along a different path? Perhaps the Avengers-and Earth itself-may never know.

For a new take on this classic tale, check out CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE KORVAC SAGA, coming soon!

 

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