Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Revealing Weaknesses

In one of his several battles against the Defenders, Nebulon psionically disguised himself as a an Atlantean named Dorma, then hypnotically seduced the Sub-Mariner to send his armies against his teammates (Defenders #93).

When the Defenders finally fell unconscious from Sonic Scrambler technology, "Dorma" boasted about turning the heroes' weaknesses against them.

  • Dr. Strange's lips were sealed, unable to mouth spells.
  • Son of Satan was parted from his trident.
  • Hulk lay sleeping in a cage of sommonolomists.
  • Valkyrie was guarded by two female soldiers, and striking other women would cause her harm.
The argument about Valkyrie's weakness may have been premature, as the guards could not stop Valkyrie from lashing out at "Dorma," soon breaking through the disguise and revealing Nebulon's true identity.

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 93. March 1981. "The Woman Behind the Man!" J. M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin, Joe Sinnott and Friends (artists), Diana Albers (letters), George Roussos (colors), Al Milgrom (editor), Jim Shooter (ed-in-chief).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seventh Sense

Staged as a "months ago" flashback, Defenders #57 began with the the image of Ms. Marvel rising from the Orb of Agamotto in the Sanctum Sanctorum of Dr. Strange. The eerie set-up largely served to link Ms. Marvel to the paranormal.

Then, returning to the regular continuity of the series, Mr. Marvel appeared unexpectedly at the Defenders' door step asking for their help. Her "seventh sense" had warned her that, before the night was over, someone would try to kill the Defenders. Of course, given how often the Defenders were in danger, Ms. Marvel could have shown up almost any issue and delivered the same prediction.

The adventure that ensued brought Clea, Hulk, Hellcat, Nighthawk, and Valkyrie, against the forces of A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), connecting with events in Ms. Marvel's own series.

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 57. March 1978. "And Along Came … Ms. Marvel." Chris Claremont (guest writer), Tuska & Cockrum (guest artists), Dan Green (inker), P. Iro (letterer), F. Mouly (colorist), G. Conway (plotter), A. Goodwin (editor).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Once a Defender...

With Dr. Strange, Valkyrie, Nighthawk, and Yellowjacket captured by the Sons of the Serpent, Bruce Banner (a.k.a. the Hulk) knew he needed help thwarting the foes. As a result, Defenders #24 became the first in a two-part reunion, of sorts, bringing back several additional allies of the team.

In her first attempt at using the Crystal of Agamotto, Clea got the ball rolling by telepathically summoning several heroes who had lent a hand to the non-team in the past. The effort worked, and Daredevil, Power Man, and Daimon Hellstrom arrived to accompany the Hulk against the villainous organization.

I like this issue for accenting the history and dynamics of the team. Yet for all its strengths, Defenders #24 invariably reminds me of Giant-Size X-Men #1, in which Professor X used his Cerebro technology to telepathically summon mutant allies to help Cyclops rescue the original X-Men. With a May 1975 cover date, that milestone X-Men adventure appeared one month before this issue of the Defenders.

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 24. June 1975. "--In the Jaws of the Serpent!" Stever Gerber (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Bob McLeod (inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Phil Rachelson (colorist), Len Wein (editor).