Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Untold Adventure

Told as a flashback story, Defenders #119 read like an issue between issues, situated between #68 and #69.

With the groundwork for the New Defenders underway, this "forgotten" tale gave a last hurrah to early members of the team. The story showed how much the series had evolved over the past 50 issues, while revisiting the group's inception.

The magician Yandroth had physically died in Marvel Feature #1, when the Defenders first stopped his Omegatron machine (only to defeat it again in Defenders #5). Now bent on revenge, the spirit of Yandroth merged with the mind and body of a scientist who felt unrecognized for her genius and honored by the opportunity to acquire power (Defenders #119).

Now equipped with mind-control implants, this revamped Yandroth subdued most of the Defenders, then pitted them against one another. The conflict reached a climax with Valkyrie, Hulk and Dr. Strange facing Clea, Hellcat, Nighthawk, and Prince Namor, under this new Yandroth's influence. But having the evil magician's astral spirit inside her mind overwhelmed the villain. As tensios rose, she collapsed.

Dr. Strange: She thought she was fighting against seven minds when, in fact, eight were raised against her! Had she moved more slowly and consolidated her power, she might have won all our minds! Instead, she lost the single one that mattered most … her own!

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 119. May 1983. "Ashes, Ashes … We All Fall Down!" Steve Grant (scripter), Sal Buscema (penciler), Jack Abel (inker), D. Hands (letters), George Roussos (colorist), Al Milgrom (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief), J.M. DeMatteis (invaluable asset).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Match Made In...

The relationship between Daimon Hellstrom and Patsy Walker was rooted in sorrow.

Touting the name Son of Satan, the soul-struck hero knew angst to the Nth degree. As a pre-emptive measure, he'd mastered the art of keeping others at bay. But could Hellstrom accept that someone might still accept him no matter what his lineage might be?

Since taking up crimefighting, the scorned Hellcat had used humor as a defense-mechanism. The superficial veneer masked the turmoil of her past. Could Hellcat come to terms with her own complexity? Could she truly open herself to someone else?

As they each looked for wholeness in their lives, these two Defenders found each other. They had passion. But given his side of the family, did the young couple ever stand a real chance at happiness?

These scenes come from Defenders #122.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Daimon's Double

The delineation between good and evil was ever complicated for Daimon Hellstrom. In Defenders #118, the Son of Satan discovered that while he was away on missions (or trapped in his father's netherworld), a demon had assumed his civilian identity.

As suspicious as things looked, this was not part of an nefarious plot. The Satan entity had felt kindness toward the unnamed demon and bestowed free will upon him—a sharp contrast to the unquestionably evil nature of most comic book demons.

With his newfound freedom, the demon left for earth and decided to pick up where the true Son of Satan had left off. That meant taking over Hellstrom's job as department head of a university parapsychology department. That also meant pursuing a relationship and marrying a good-natured witch who was one of Hellstrom's closest friends.

Here came the slap in the face: The woman knew her husband was a demon-dopplegänger, but she loved him anyway. The disguised demon was more attentive, more genteel, than the brooding Daimon Hellstrom had ever been.

Hellstrom was dumbfounded. He had spent his adult life operating with tightly defined notions of good and evil. But the insidiousnes of the impostor predicament turned those preconceptions upside-down. The identity crisis left the hero reconsidering what type of person he wanted to be.

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 118. April 1983. "The Double!" J.M. DeMatteis (script), Don Perlin (pencils), Mushynsky & Milgrom (inks), Shelly Leferman (letters), George Roussos (colors), Allen Milgrom (editor), Jim Shooter (chief).