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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Final Conflict

Too young to appreciate the series during the 1970s, Defenders #99 was the first issue that truly grabbed my attention. That's when I became a fan.

Early issues of the series had emphasized the fragile bonds that kept netherworldly entities from conquering the Earth. Following back-to-back missions that drew on the mystical nature of many heroes, the Defenders relied one-too-many-times on the dimension-traveling powers of Dr. Strange and Devil-Slayer's magical Shadow Cloak.

Playing into the hands of a demonic plot, the heroes inadvertantly weakened those dimensional barriers just enough to let the armies of evil break through. Brilliantly uniting core members with recurring and new heroes, a cavalcade of Defenders ended the issue facing nothing less than hell on Earth.

Defenders #99 gave novelesque meaning to the series as a whole, as if all previous storylines had been leading up to this ultimate threat—powerfully concluduing in the double-sized centennial issue that followed!


Roll call:
Hulk, Valkyrie, Gargoyle, Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer, Dr. Strange, Clea, Son of Satan, Devil-Slayer.
Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 99. September 1981. "The Final Conflict?" J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin and Joe Sinnott (artists), Jean Simek (letterer), George Roussos (colorist), Al Milgrom (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief).

2 comments:

Cecil said...

That entry is so cool!! Neat to imagine you encountering this as a fan looking at the spinner racks...I took a purloined dollar to the 7-11 and purchased MTU #111 and ROM #24! That summer, I met the Defenders...but never could I find them regularly while the series was still out! A few lurked sometimes at the Kroger...

Simon.. said...

I remember buying this when I was 13.I'd been into the Defenders for a little while and ranked them as the best way way better than the Avengers. But when this issue came out it solidified everything. This issue was the ultimate issue for me. I never even got #100 as it sold out everywhere where I lived in the UK at the time.
This page ROCKS BTW.

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