Comic Book / The Korvac Saga
The Korvac Saga
It was not within our power to slay such a being! Accept the word of one who knows!
was a 1978 storyline of The Avengers
, written by Jim Shooter
. It is the tragic story of Michael Korvac and Carina.
Michael Korvac was an evil cyborg of the 30th century, who wanted vengeance against the alien race the Badoon who were responsible for making him what he is. He found the ship of the legendary Galactus and began to take power from it. He became a god and restored his human body, and then abandoned his vengeance. With his new power, he made an even greater plan: conceal himself from the cosmic powers and make subtle changes to reality, to end the control of Eternity.
First, some former Avengers and other people close to them began to disappear, vanishing into thin air, such as Quicksilver (who was living in Attilan) and the time-displaced Two-Gun Kid. Then, a giant ship appeared in the space: the Guardians of the Galaxy came to the 20th century to capture Korvac, as they believed he would attempt to erase the Guardians from existence by killing Vance Astro in his infancy. And to complicate things even further, Henry Peter Gyrich revoked the special government permits of the Avengers because of their defective security.
Starhawk, with his cosmic senses, located Korvac immediately, and fought him alone. Korvac destroyed him, and recreated him again, with his memory of the meeting erased and incapable of ever sensing Korvac again. Korvac had also met a woman named Carina at a fashion show, and makes her his girlfriend.
The Avengers began to investigate the disappearances, as well as keep fighting against common villains as Tyrak, and called for all the former Avengers to return to the team. With the help of the Guardians they located the one responsible for everything: the Collector, who was defeated by four remaining Avengers: Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye and the Wasp. The Collector explained that there was a great menace to the Cosmos, and that he sought to capture the Avengers to preserve them from it. He had also sent his daugther to spy for him. As the Collector explained this, Carina confessed to Korvac that she was a spy, but had fallen in love with him. Korvac killed the Collector from the distance, before he could tell the Avengers who was "The Enemy".
Everyone who had ever been an Avenger began to search for this "Enemy". All the clues pointed to a same place: a luxury house in Forest Hills Gardens. Once there, they only found a common couple, Michael and Carina, with nothing seeming to be out of the ordinary. Michael is revealed when Starhawk asked why the Avengers were talking to the air, indicating he could not see Michael, and is therefore the enemy they were searching for.
Michael Korvac was worried because he had worked hard to hide himself, but the fight with the Avengers would be noticed by the cosmic powers. He easily bested them, but lost the will to live when Carina doubted him and died. Then the Avengers turned against Carina, who had cosmic power as well. Although she could also defeat them with ease, she commited suicide by forcing Thor's hammer to fire against herself. Moondragon began to cry: she had read their minds, and realized that they were not evil, that the Avengers spoiled a good-intentioned plan, and that he brought the deceased back to life before dying.
The Korvac Saga contains examples of:
- Apologetic Attacker: During the final battle, Korvac tells the Avengers that he respects them and wishes he could allow them to live, as he considers them Worthy Opponents.
- Anti-Villain: This story brought back The Collector and gave him a belated backstory. It seems he went crazy with collecting so he could find worthy and strong people to help protect the universe.
- Big Damn Heroes: Engineered by the Collector. The Avengers had been in problems several times before, and Thor (who had left in a search for Odin) made a dramatic entrance, helped the Avengers, and left again. It happened that the Collector was taking him from other times, placing him in the fights, and then returning him to his own timeline.
- Big Fancy House: With nigh-omnipotent powers, capable to live anywhere he wishes, Korvac chooses to live... in a luxury house in Forest Hills Gardens, 20th century. Nobody can accuse him of not having good taste.
- Bigger on the Inside: The base of the Collector, just 3 cubic meter floating in space.
Vance Astro: Teleport the four of you to an area the size of a telephone booth? All right, metal man, but if you ask me, I think you've just added a new dimension to the word "crazy".
- Big "NO!": When the Avengers discussed how did Michael died, as they couldn't have killed him.
Carina: NO! You killed him! You! You, with your wretched interference! You, with your dogged persistence! You - you slew his dream - slew my love!
- Bishonen Line: Disfigured cyborg Korvac's first act upon gaining the power of Galactus is to become a handsome, perfectly physiqued blond man.
- Bolt of Divine Retribution: If Michael is a God, what better way to kill the Collector?
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: The outcome of the fight. Note that Korvac died when he lost the will to live, and Carina commited suicide... on their own, it was never within the power of the Avengers and the Guardians to slay such beings. Accept the word of one who knows!
- The Cavalry: Averted. When they realized that Michael was "the Enemy", Moondragon summoned the Guardians of the Galaxy. It was useless, Korvac defeated both groups as he would have defeated the Avengers alone.
- Chekhov's Gunman: An old man in a ship, slowly approaching the United States. His purpose is not very clear, and do not add anything to the story. Several issues after the conclusion of the Korvac saga he would play a role in revealing the long ignored origin of Quicksilver & the Scarlet Witch.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The Collector. So far, he has always relied in "nerd" stuff, but when Hawkeye defeated him, he revealed his cosmic power, which he does not use directly very often because of his age.
- Downer Ending
- Evil All Along: When the saga received its first TPB release in 1991, it was with a new four-page scene in which the Avengers meet at Korvac's grave and muse about how he was really evil despite his good intentions. While there's merit to such a discussion, many readers have since interpreted it as a parting shot at the departing Jim Shooter, who had assumed the Editor-in-Chief position at Marvel subsequent to writing the story and upset many creators with his iron-handed control of the company.
- Fantastic Racism: Quicksilver and the Vision met each other once more. A good moment to remember that Pietro complains about racism of mutants because he's in the receiving end, but he engages in racism of robots.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Thor had a strange feeling of being somehow displaced, as if he shouldn't be where he was... and he was right: the Collector had time-displaced him, to save the Avengers.
- A God Am I: Korvac and Carina. The Collector as well.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: the Collector
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Starhawk found Korvac immediately, and fought him alone. Korvac killed him, and to secure his secrecy he recreated him, exactly as he was, but with no memory of their fight, and making him unable to see him again despite of his deep senses. The Avengers found Korvac's house anyway, but failed to find anything out of the ordinary in it. They were about to return home empty-handed, but then the all-seeing Starhawk started to protest: what the hell are they doing, talking and expecting answers in an empty house? As he said that right in front of Korvac, it became obvious: if he could not see him, it's because he has blinded him somehow, which means that he is "the enemy".
- Honor Before Reason: Averted. Iron Man told the Black Panther to attack Carina, but he did not consider it honourable. Yellowjacket screwed "honor" and took Carina hostage himself. Michael burnt him in the middle of his threat. At least the Black Panther got a compliment when Michael killed him...
- In Love with the Mark: Carina was sent to spy of Korvac, but she fell in love with him, and supported his plan.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Korvac destroyed Starhawk and then recreated him, exactly as he was, but without memories of their fight.
- Leader Wannabe: Averted. Captain America filled this role against the leader Iron Man (even trying to punch him during a scene). Some issues later, Iron Man accepted that Captain America's criticisms were right, and proposed to resign as leader and hand the command of team to him. But Captain America refused, apologized for the old discussions, and accepted Iron Man's leadership.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Although there have been previous stories featuring all the characters who had ever (up to that point) been members of the Avengers, this was the first time the full cast was a multitude and not just a large group. Add to them Jocasta, Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel and Two-Gun Kid (who were not Avengers yet), and villains unrelated to the main story as Ultron, Tyrak and Porcupine, and you get the idea.
- Messianic Archetype Korvac considers himself the savior of the universe. The What If? sequel to the Korvac Sequel reveals him to be a Dark Messiah however.
- Mundane Utility: Korvac uses his nigh-omnipotent powers, capable of reshaping the universe, to... summon a cup of tea.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: The adult Vance Astro had to stay in space and doesn't go to Earth with the others, to avoid getting near his younger self.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Henry Peter Gyrich revoked the government permits on the Avengers, and became a royal pain in the ass for a lot of time, beyond this specific storyline. Let's just say that, unable to use the Quinjets, the Avengers had to go to their great battle... on bus.
- Orcus on His Throne: Korvac does not take an active role during the story outside of killing the Collector; he mostly stays at his luxury house and uses his omnipotent powers to avoid detection.
- Pinball Projectile: Hawkeye defeated the Collector with one.
- Speak of the Devil: The collector only spoke of Korvac as "the enemy". He died just before revealing his identity, so the Avengers had to keep naming him that way.
- Spiritual Successor: It's considered that Secret Wars was an expanded version of the Korvac saga
- Suicide by Cop: Carina manipulated Thor's hammer to fire at her with full force. She committed suicide to reunite with the deceased Michael.
- Terminator Twosome: Averted. The Guardians of the Galaxy thought that Korvac returned to the XX century to kill the young Vance Astro, and erase them from existence. So, the followed him, to protect the young Vance. Korvac did time-travel to the XX century, but with much more ambitious plans in mind. He was quite happy to let the Guardians stay in the confussion about his intentions, so that they made a pointless watch and leave him alone.
- These Hands Have Killed: When Moondragon pointed the real motivations of Michael, Thor accepted that the Avengers' hand were stained with his innocent blood.
- Together in Death: Averted. After Michael's death, Carina fought the Avengers for a brief time, and then committed suicide to reunite with him in death. With her last breath, she jumped towards Michael's body... but her hand could not reach his, falling a few centimeters short.
- Tomboy: Wonder Man, a Human Popsicle from the 60s, sees Ms. Marvel as such, and does not understand "what has happened to women". Unlike the Wasp and the Scarlet Witch, who merely fire from a distance, Ms. Marvel actually engaged in physical combat as men, and had a similar attitude.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Vance Astro returned to the XX century, along with the Guardians, but only they can go to Earth, where Vance lived in his infancy. The adult Vance Astro had to stay on the ship in space, to avoid messing with the timeline.