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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Past Lives

One of the most moving stories in the history of the series came in Defenders #117.

Six powerful telepaths had sacrificed their lives to save the world from destruction (Defenders #106). Physically, they were dead. But in an astonishing turn of events, they now mentally resided in the extraterrestrial body of Over-Mind.

To make peace with the past, the mental "chorus" within Over-Mind partook in a ritual to bid farewell to the lives they left behind.

At first, the lumbering body of Over-Mind psionically took the appearance of Mindy Williams, a woman who had been romantically involved with Nighthawk. She left flowers at a ceremonial site for the hero, who was believed dead at the time.

The two psychics to receive the most attention were Ursula Richards and young Philip Le Guin (subtle homages to author Ursula Le Guin; an appropriate choice given the themes of metaphysics and gender identity in some of her works).

When Over-Mind changed into Philip, the boy's schoolyard friends responded with fear. When Philip returned home, the Le Guin parents were so horrified to see their dead son in the flesh that Dr. Strange cast a spell to wipe the experience from their memories.

Next, the mind of Ursula Richards came to the forefront. Resuming Over-Mind's physical form, she smashed down a building in the slums where she was raised—without realizing some children were playing inside. Dr. Strange intervened to magically save their lives.

The message was clear. Making up for lost time was impossible. The six psychics resolved to heroically continue their unusual coexistence as Over-Mind.

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 117. March 1983. "The Gift." J.M. DeMatteis (scripter), Don Perlin (penciler), Jack Abel (inker), Shelly Leferman (letterer), George Roussos (colorist), Allen Milgrom (editor), Jim Shooter (chief).

1 comment:

cease ill said...

I've never read most of the post 100 Defenders, but that's a cool story. It brings back memories of the Marvel Handbook---a young fan's favorite! J.M. has really unusual ideas and a humane touch.

I wonder what's the best stuff I haven't read? I think Peter Gillis did some stuff I would find interesting.

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