Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Valkyrie, the Determined Defender

Of all the heroes to call themselves Defenders, Valkyrie was the most dedicated to the team. Yet she joined their ranks in the most roundabout way.

Realizing the malevolent intent of a secret ceremony, Barbara Norriss sacrificed herself into another dimension to spare an innocent man that fate. That man was Bruce Banner (The Incredible Hulk #126). Hulk and his non-teammates later rescued Norriss from her otherworldly imprisonment. But they were saddened to find that the horrors she experienced there, in the clutches of the Nameless One, had driven Norriss mad (Defenders #3).

Immediately afterward, the Defenders encountered the unscrupulous Enchantress, who had magically enslaved the Black Knight. The Asgardian sorceress placed the spirit of a valkyrie into the body of Norriss, expecting to control her as well. Yet the reborn valkyrie proved to have a mind of her own. The Enchantress fled, turning Black Knight to stone as she left (#4; Dr. Strange reversed the spell in #11).

Valkyrie assumed custody of Black Knight's winged horse, Aragorn, and sought membership into the Defenders.

Namor: One minute now! The Defenders have no "members." We have only fought together for common causes. This is not the Avengers!
Dr. Strange: Further--with all due modesty, we are three of the most powerful people in the world. What could we possibly need you for?
Valkyrie didn't take long to prove herself. When Omegatron (from Marvel Feature #1) unexpectedly returned, Valkyrie's combination of magical origin and physical force injured the mystical robot in ways the others could not, finally laying the creature to rest (Defenders #5).

Valkyrie was the only early Defender to stay with the team through the creation of the New Defenders (#125) and the end of the series (#152).
Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 5. April 1973. "World Without End." Steve Englehart (author), Sal Buscema (artist), F. McLaughlin (inker), Charlotte Jetter (letterer), Glynis Wein (colorist), Roy Thomas (editor). The illustration of Valkyrie at the top appeared in the fourth issue.


james said...

I'd like to thank Jonathan Nolan for his message yesterday pointing out that the Enchantress once assumed the guise of Valkyrie in an attempt to control numerous female superheroes, dubbed the Lady Liberators. That was back in Avengers #83. In another pre-Defenders adventure, the Enchantress temporarily transformed Samantha Parryington into Valkyrie to battle the Hulk (Incredible Hulk #142).

Anonymous said...

FYI...Samantha Parrington was the Valkyrie during the Busiek/Larsen Defenders series...