Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Monday, October 12, 2009

State of Mind

Defenders #129 opened with a jarring predicament. The seasoned heroes found themselves under attack by the New Mutants, teenage students at Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

Angel, Beast, and Iceman were decidedly passive during the fight. As original members of the X-Men, they spent their youth battling older and more experienced opponents. Now, years later, they were reluctant to attack the newest students at their alma mater.

Gargoyle dissuaded Valkyrie from slaying the New Mutants until Moondragon saw through the troubling situation. The entire battle was an illusion. In reality, the Defenders were in holding cells, captives of the Secret Empire, and resisting attempts to be brainwashed.

Led by Professor Power, this latest incarnation of the Secret Empire intended to broadcast subliminal messages prompting the United States and the U.S.S.R. to enter into nuclear war—so a dystopian empire might emerge from the ruins. Several Defenders had been imprisoned by the Secret Empire before (Captain America #268). But this time there was a personal reason for manipulating the heroes.

Professor Power's son was traumatized as a result of his experiences fighting in the Vietnam War. When Professor X was unable to reverse the son's condition, Power sought to get back at Xavier by taking revenge on three of his earliest students, along with their latest allies. To hold his own in combat, Professor Power had his own mind psionically transferred into the body of his physically healthy (but comatose) son—land equipped himself with a battlesuit.

By tapping into Gargoyle's energy-draining abilities, Moondragon psychokinenically freed the team.

When time came to face Professor Power, Moondragon had her own turn at revenge. She caused Power's conscious mind to suffer the repressed mental anguish of his son (Defenders #130).

J.M. DeMatteis wrote Defenders #129-130 along with Marvel Team-Up #118 and #124, which established Professor Power's background and motivation.

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