Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Silver Subplot

When the Defenders formed in Marvel Feature #1, Sub-Mariner and Hulk weren't the only ones Dr. Strange tried to reach. After summoning the Prince of Atlantis, the master of the mystic arts visualized the whereabouts of Silver Surfer, only to watch him crash into an invisible barrier in the sky.

Dr. Strange: Happily, I can sense he is not badly hurt. Yet, he'll not recover in time to help us--or our threatened planet. Then, since time grows short--and immortal Thor is doubtless battling menaces on worlds beyond our ken---there is but one with power enough to help us. In truth, there is only---the Hulk!
That scene in the Defenders' origin issue laid important groundwork for the first several issues of their own series.

Tricked to believe that Silver Surfer had become a servant of evil, the Defenders spent two months tracking down the cosmic-powered champion (Defenders #1-2). Further investigation led Dr. Strange, Hulk, Sub-Mariner, and Silver Surfer into battle against the horrific Nameless One in his home dimension (#3).

Afterward, as the Defenders returned to our own dimension, Dr. Strange hoped to transport Silver Surfer into the cosmos so he could go back to his native planet of Zenn-La. But even magic couldn't take the Surfer beyond the barrier that Galactus put in place to confine him to Earth.
Silver Surfer: I am trapped like a rat on this insane planet! Once more the Silver Surfer has trusted men--and once more men have shattered that trust!
The Surfer flew off but soon returned to apologetically assist the Defenders (#6. He returned again in #8-11 and for a handful of later missions). Thor, by the way, never joined the non-team but helped subdue a disgruntled Hulk in Defenders #10, during a crossover story with the Avengers.
Steve Englehart wrote Defenders #1-11. Sal Buscema illustrated those issues. The Silver Surfer image at the top comes from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

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