Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Something Sinister This Way Comes

Beneath the sensationalism of the Earth up for sale, Defenders #13-14 told a satisfying, character-driven story.

The plot began with the extraterrestrial Nebulon searching the cosmos for a mineral-rich planet where his species could relocate. The quest seemed hopeless until he encountered the criminal Hyperion, who had been imprisoned in space.

The last survivor of his own homeworld, Hyperion directed Nebulon to Earth (euphemistically selling him the planet). Making Earth hospitable for Nebulon's species would require melting the polar ice caps to cover the entire surface with water. Nebulon presumably had the technology to do this himself but arranged to spare Hyperion and his colleagues in the Squadron Sinister in exchange for their cooperation.

Not everyone bought into the idea. Lacking the nihilism of his teammates, Squadron-member Nighthawk went to the Defenders for help. Dr. Strange, Hulk, and Valkyrie were on board. But when Sub-Mariner refused to join them, the sorcerer supreme forcibly transported Prince Namor out of Atlantis to accompany the Defenders to the Arctic Circle. (Sub-Mariner warned Dr. Strange against ever abducting him again, even after learning that Nebulon's plan to flood the Earth would destroy Atlantis in the process.)

Though evenly matched against the Squadron, the Defenders lost the battle; neither magic nor might could penetrate the energy fields Nebulon used to contain them. Instead of killing the Defenders, Hyperion wanted them stranded in space, with their homeworld in ruins, as he had experienced. Nebulon agreed, unaware that Dr. Strange could mystically transport the heroes back to Earth.

Upon their return, the Defenders saw Nebulon's true form; a six-tentacled, aquatic creature (able to become a golden humanoid for brief periods of time). Amid the confusion, Nighthawk destroyed Nebulon's technology but nearly died from the explosive backlash, while Nebulon and the three loyal Squadron members vanished. Dr. Strange drew energy from the Defenders to restore Nighthawk to health. The repentant adventurer gladly joined the team.

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 13. May 1974. "For Sale: One Planet--Slightly Used!" Len Wein (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Klaus Janson (inker), Glynis Wein (colorist), John Costanza (letterer), Roy Thomas (editor).
Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 14. July 1974. "And Who Shall Inherit the Earth?" Len Wein (writer), Sal Buscema and Dan Green (artists), Klaus Janson (inker), Glynis Wein (colorist), Artie Simek (letterer), Roy Thomas (editor), Irving Forbush (kibitzer).

1 comment:

Adama said...

yay, Nighthawk!

Poor Kyle never gets enough love.

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