Comic recommendation of the day Avengers: Celestial Madonna Saga

Comic recommendation of the day

Avengers: Celestial Madonna Saga by Steve Englehart, Sal Bucema, Dave Cockrum, Don Heck and Joe Staton

We just covered Jim Starlin’s Thanos saga, which stretched from 1973-1982. Let’s jump back in time a bit to 1974, and see what the Avengers were up to right after their first battle with Thanos.

A bit of a hesitant recommendation, as I think this may be a nerds-only comic. It’s beloved by those who love superheroes, but the dense plotting and scripting and focus on minutiae may make it not entirely accessible to a new reader.

But I love it. But I’m a nerd. And one of my favorite comic writers, Kurt Busiek, also probably a nerd, once named it among his 10 favorite comic stories. (If I recall)

And Mantis is showing up in the new Guardians of the Galaxy film. And this is almost certainly the definitive Mantis story. If you want to understand Mantis (big “if” there), this is the story to read.

It’s about time travel and a prophecy and the fate of the universe. It is foretold that the Celestial Madonna will choose a mate and have a child who will change the universe.

The Celestial Madonna is either Mantis or Scarlet Witch. Even though Moondragon had been brought up believing it might be her. By the end of the story, we learn the fate of the Swordsman, the origin of the Vision, the origin of Mantis, how the ancient Kree/Skrull war began, and the secret connections of Immortus, Kang, and Rama-Tut. Plus weddings!

Also, Frankenstein’s monster shows up at one point. And a pirate ghost. And a team of Communist super-villains. And love and heartbreak. Plus you remember Dormammu from the Dr. Strange film. Yeah, him too.

Forget what I said earlier. This comic is for everyone.

The story in order:

Avengers #129, Giant-Size Avengers #2, Avengers #130-132, Giant-Size Avengers #3, Avengers #133-135, Giant-Size Avengers #4

For context with previous entries, note this takes place right after the Avengers battled Thanos the first time, when he gained the cosmic cube in the pages of Captain Marvel, and before he reappeared in the pages of Warlock. So this is the next chapter in Moondragon’s story.

This about-to-be-released collection contains the entire story, plus a bit more. It’s also got bits of the Thanos saga we already discussed, which serve as prelude to this story. And a follow-up called Celestial Quest, which came out decades later.


This wild story features the Avengers: Thor, Iron Man, Swordsman, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Nomad (that’s what Steve Rogers called himself and Mantis. Plus faithful butler Jarvis and Scarlet Witch’s tutor in the ways of witchcraft, Agatha Harkness (with her cat, Ebony). The Titanic Three: Frankenstein’s monster, Human Torch, Zemo, Wonder Man, Midnight, and the Ghost. Titanium Man, Crimson Dynamo, Radioactive Man. The Legion of the Living: As well as Kang, Rama-Tut, Immortus, Space Phantom, Slasher, Toro, Ultron, Quasimodo, Mad Thinker, Professor Horton, Dormammu, Umar, Libra, Gaea, the Kree, the Supreme Intelligence, the Skrulls, the Cotati– And brief appearances by Thanos, Mentor, Silver Surfer, Dr. Doom, Scarlet Centurion, Ant-Man, and Star-Stalker. And probably some people I’m forgetting. Again, it’s pretty dense.

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