Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No Time Like the Presence

The Defenders saved the Earth from interdimensional enemies countless times, but the brooding realism of Defenders #52-56 still stands out, as the non-team warded off the threat of nuclear destruction.

Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson's artwork was absolutely stunning during this run on the Defenders, adding immeasurably to this multi-part story by David Kraft.

A series of underwater nuclear tests prompted the Sub-Mariner to reacquaint himself with the Defenders in an effort to save Atlantis from deadly radioactive emissions.

Joined by Hellcat, Nighthawk, and Hulk, Prince Namor led the heroes into battle against a nihilistic Soviet scientist known as the Presence, whose unauthorized experiments had garnished him with vastly destructive power. As Hulk's alter ego, Dr. Bruce Banner expertise in nuclear physics did not go to waste on this mission.

In a quest for companionship along with power, the Presence had transformed the Red Guardian into a being of nuclear energy to stand by his side as he conquered the world. The Defenders were horrified to fend off attacks from their former teammate, mentally enslaved by the twisted genius.

When the Red Guardian regained her own will, she emotionally depleted the Presence by scorned him for the inhuman futility of his plan. The mission concluded with the Defenders exceptionally ill, in need of treatment for radiation poisoning. In time, the two radioactive beings left the Earth to protect humanity from the dangerous side effects of their new forms (in a subplot that ended in Defenders #65).

Though presumed dead, Red Guardian and the Presence returned in The Incredible Hulk #258-259 (1981), this time facing the Soviet Super Soldiers.

1 comment:

Peter Cooper said...

(Hmm, perhaps my comments earlier would've been better here...!) Okay, any story with "Namor the true SUB-MARINER" wins in my mind. (Um...he's my favorite "Defender.") The character deserves a regular series. His place in comic history alone demands such. "IMPERIUS REX!"

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