- I've been used! That isn't my baby! I don't even know who the father is!
Appearing in "The Child is Father To...?"
- Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) (Main story and flashback) (Leaves team)
- Wonder Man (Simon Williams)
- Captain America (Steve Rogers)
- Iron Man (Tony Stark)
- Thor / Donald Blake (Joins team)
- Beast (Hank McCoy)
- Hawkeye (Clint Barton)
- Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) (Joins team)
- Wasp (Janet Van Dyne)
- Yellowjacket (Henry Pym)
- Edwin Jarvis
- Marcus Immortus (Danvers) (First appearance) (Main story and flashback) (Origin revealed)
- Raoul Kramer
- Marjorie Hansley
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Mentioned)
- Native Americans
- Nathaniel Richards (Immortus) (Only in flashback)
- Ludwig van Beethoven (Only in flashback)
- Marie Antoinette (Only in flashback)
- William Shakespeare (Only in flashback)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and recap)
- Robots (Main story and recap)
- Human-Kree Hybrids
- Saurians (Mentioned)
- Kree (Referenced)
- Limbo (Only in flashback)
- Iron Man Armor MK IV
- Captain America's Shield
- Hawkeye's Bow and Trick Arrows
- Ms. Marvel's Suit (Main story and flashback)
- Bio-Synthetic Wings
Synopsis for "The Child is Father To...?"
After experiencing an impossibly short two-day pregnancy, Ms. Marvel delivers a baby boy in the Avengers infirmary, attended by Dr. Donald Blake (a.k.a. Thor) and Jocasta. The Avengers treat the event like a happy normal occasion and coo over the infant. Ms. Marvel, however, is decidedly upset by the experience.
Overnight, Ms. Marvel’s child grows into a toddler and begins speaking. In just a few more hours, he is an adolescent boy but demonstrates an even more advanced intellect. He calls himself Marcus and gives evasive answers to questions about where he came from. He promises to explain everything just as soon as he can complete a secret project. Given technical gear to work with, he sets to work creating a sophisticated device.
Meanwhile, all around the NYC area, people are experiencing shifts in time, either being transported to different eras themselves or encountering historical or futuristic beings.
Initially, Ms. Marvel refuses to even see her child, but Wonder Man persuades her to confront her problem, difficult as it might be. Thus, she goes to the lab and meets a now fully grown Marcus, who instantly recognizes her but alternately calls her “mother” and “Carol.” Ms. Marvel seems to recognize his face but can’t recall how.
Just then, the mansion comes under attack… by a T-Rex! Spaceships and WWI era fighter planes buzz the mansion as well. While Iron-Man and the Vision tackle them, the rest of the team inside the mansion encounter various other time-displaced, aggressive intruders. Hawkeye, who has been especially suspicious of Marcus all along, ducks out of the melee, intent on confronting him in the lab.
Down in the lab, all the other Avengers (aside from Ms. Marvel) depart to join the fighting. Carol shoves Dr. Blake into a secure room for his protection and he uses the opportunity to transform into Thor and join the battle. Marcus assures Carol that everything will be alright just as soon as he activates his device, a time flux generator. Carol demands answers from him but he knocks her out. Seeing this, Hawkeye assumes Marcus is a straight-out villain and destroys the machine with an explosive arrow.
Thor and Iron-Man burst into the lab. Marcus is ready to take them all on, but Ms. Marvel (who has recovered) intervenes, stating that she will defend them from him. Marcus then admits he merely wanted to goad them into killing him!
He goes on to explain that he is actually the son of the Avengers' old foe Immortus. Ages ago, the master of limbo had rescued a doomed survivor of a shipwreck, an unnamed woman, and brought her to limbo to be his consort. Together, they produced Marcus. The woman eventually had to return to her point in time and Immortus himself was killed (actually, his predecessor Kang was killed, thus negating Immortus's existence). Marcus was left alone and as a child born in limbo, he could not exist on Earth without disrupting the timeline. He devised a plan to be re-born on Earth: he plucked Carol out of time, brought her to limbo and wooed her. (Marcus specifically mentions “...admittedly with a subtle boost from Immortus’ machines…”, baldly stating that she was mentally manipulated.) Once he implanted his seed in her, he restored her to her own point in time so that she could give birth to him. Marcus intended his machine to stabilize his presence on Earth, but since it has now been destroyed, his only options are either to return to a lonely existence in limbo or die.
Carol takes pity on him. She tells her male compatriots that she realizes she has feelings for him and wants to be with him. Thus, Thor transports the pair of them to limbo. The time disruptions immediately vanish and Ms. Marvel is gone.
- This is a double-sized issue to commemorate the special occasion (the 200th issue).
- Writer David Michelenie had another ending intended for the conclusion of this storyline. Originally, it would have been revealed that the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree would have been responsible for impregnating Ms. Marvel in order to create a Kree-Human hybrid child. This would have made more sense as: 1) The Supreme Intelligence had long been established as wanting to jump-start the Kree's stalled evolution by creating a hybrid with humans, 2) Ms. Marvel has close ties to the Kree race given that her powers were granted by Kree technology and she had already been targetted by the Intelligence for this specific reason in her own series, and 3) the Supreme Intelligence was a clearly established, out-and-out villain who could not be expected to engender any sympathy for his actions. (This story treats Marcus as a kind of pitiable anti-hero.) But then Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics Jim Shooter vetoed Michelenie's intended story because it was too similar to a plotline in the already published in the series "What If...?" (#20 - "What If the Avengers Fought the Kree-Skrull War without Rick Jones?").
- This issue generated considerable controversy concerning the circumstances of Ms. Marvel's unwilling pregnancy. Ms. Marvel would be gone from the Marvel Universe for a year, returning in Avengers Annual #10. Due to the Avengers allowing her to be taken by Marcus, she would leave the group and become a regular supporting character in Uncanny X-Men.
- In addition to the misogynist content and twisted Freudian backstory, this story doesn't even make sense given the previously established history of Immortus. During the Celestial Madonna storyline, it was established that the villain Kang the Conqueror would become Immortus in his later in his life. When Kang was killed in battle (#143), the timeline was altered and Immortus therefore ceased to exist, since Kang never became him. [A footnote late in this issue states that Immortus "died" in #143, which is not quite the truth.] If Immortus never existed, his sire Marcus should therefore have never existed either. Adding to the confusion, in Thor Vol 1 #282, which came out a year prior to this issue, Immortus was revealed to be alive and in still control of limbo, which flies directly in the face of Marcus's claim that he was alone there. (Thor is one of the Avengers who listens to Marcus recount his history but does not comment at all on his relatively recent interaction with Immortus.)
- Writer Carol Strickland wrote a deservedly scathing takedown of this issue in the fan magazine LoC #1 entitled "The Rape of Ms. Marvel". It discusses the exceptionally inappropriate content of this story as well as the generally dismissive treatment of female characters by the Marvel Comics creative staff in the 1970s.
- The humorous pool game between Hawkeye and the Beast should be considered apocryphal on the sliding timescale of the Marvel Universe, given that the Beast refers to his calculator - a TI-59 by Texas Instruments - as "top of the line" computing device. In the 21st century, that's not nearly true anymore.
- The Wasp has yet another new costume this issue.
- The title of this story - "The Child is Father to...?" comes from the William Wordsworth poem "My Heart Leaps Up", specifically the line "And the child is father of the man".
Links and References
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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