Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Unhappily Ever After

Married life is seldom easy for superheroes. Just ask Patsy Walker and Daimon Hellstrom. Following their wedding, the couple tried to lead a "normal" life as paranormal investigators and sometime-superheroes. But existing without his darksoul since Defenders #120 eventually took its toll on the so-called Son of Satan, as told in the protagonist's solo series titled Hellstorm: Prince of Lies.

With Daimon on the brink of death, Patsy bargained with her malevolent father-in-law to restore Daimon to health—darksoul and all. Her traumatic dealings with the netherworld left Patsy catatonic for an extended period of time (Hellstorm #3). Former teammate Gargoyle stayed in the Hellstrom household, acting as a caregiver to Patsy and a butler to Daimon.

Concern that Daimon had slipped into a state of moral debauchery prompted a visit from Dr. Strange in Hellstorm #2. On the subject of debauchery, the series also revived Daimon's sister, Satana.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Preferred Customer

During a visit last month to a bookstore where I buy new comics and back issues, the owner noticed that my Preferred Customer Discount Card was well worn and asked if I wanted a new one. Given to regular customers, the card provides 10% off most purchases. My card carried an expiration date of 12-31-07 (a few months before I started writing this blog), so it had its share of use. Since the store staff still honored the card, it seemed unnecessary to get a new one. If anything, the frayed card was a fond reminder of the years I've frequented that particular store.

When I stopped in earlier this week, the owner again pointed out that my card was badly worn and suggested giving me a new one. Since replacing my card seemed like a priority to him, I accepted the offer. In comic book lingo, my old card was in Fair condition. The new one is in Near Mint condition right now. The new card has an expiration date of 12-31-13. But as I learned, it really expires when the owner insists I get a new one.

Monday, December 16, 2013

… Try, Try Again

To save the Earth from annihilation, Wolverine went back through time to kill Henry Pym before he could build the artificial intelligence called Ultron (Age of Ultron #6). Accompanied by the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four, Wolverine arrived as Pym (then Goliath) originally examined the artificial construct known as Dragon Man (circa Avengers #41).

Following Pym's death, Wolverine and Invisible Woman returned to the present. But the divergent timeline that unfolded was no better than the apocalyptic reality they had hoped to prevent (Age of Ultron #7).

Led by Dr. Strange, the Defenders on this grizzled Earth included Thing, Star-Lord (from the Guardians of the Galaxy), Captain Marvel (formerly Wasp), Cable (formerly Cyclops), Hulk (with the mind of Bruce Banner), Colonel America (formerly Captain America), and Wolverine. The group operated out of Defenders Sanctorum (Age of Ultron #8), also referred to as Defenders Headquarters (Fearless Defenders #4AU).

In yet another time-travel attempt, Wolverine went back to stop himself from assassinating Pym. This time, Wolverine suggested that Pym follow through with his idea to build Ultron yet add a time-release program to prevent Ultron from one day devastating the world (Age of Ultron #9).

I would have liked to have seen more of the Defenders from this alternate reality before the timeline was more-or-less restored.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Age of Doom

When read outside the Age of Ultron crossover event, the Fearless Defenders tie-in issue held up as a stand-alone story just the same—with the heroes in an alternate reality addressing the threat of Dr. Doom.

Even in the company of Hippolyta (a.k.a. Warrior Woman), the Defenders in this divergent timeline had little connection to the all-female team appearing regularly in the Fearless Defenders series. Instead, the Defenders featured in this issue were Hulk, Wolverine, and Colonel America (Captain America with an eyepatch).

Fearless Defenders. No. 4AU. July 2013. On the cover, Hippolyta held up a decapitated Doombot, not the head of the real Dr. Doom. The pages inside revealed that Dr. Doom was the father of criminal mastermind Carolyn Le Fay. Her mother was legendary sorceress Morgan Le Fay.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Kissing Bandit

Feeling unlucky in love, Hawkeye set his eyes on Valkyrie during their short time working together as Defenders. Although he knew Valkyrie was emotionally volatile at the moment, the archer took a chance by initiating an impromptu kiss. When Valkyrie lashed out in return, Hawkeye chauvinistically reasoned that her lingering identity crisis was to blame (Defenders #9).

Later, working as a security guard at Cross Technological Enterprises, Hawkeye lost further credibility as a casanova by forcibly kissing the villain Deathbird after apprehending her. With her arms bound by a titanium-steel net, Deathbird could not avoid his unwelcome lips (Avengers #189).

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Woman Scorned

MODOK, the super-intelligent leader of A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) was so convinced that an encounter with the Hulk was inevitable that he decided to create a monster strong enough to defeat the green goliath. The plan required a test subject who was easily susceptible to hypnosis and who had built up enough tolerance to gamma radiation to survive the experiment.

Betty Ross had carried a torch for Bruce Banner long after learning about his transformation into the Hulk. Only after the world thought Hulk was dead did she agree to marry Maj. Glenn Talbot. Soon after the world discovered that Hulk was still alive, Glenn went missing on a military operation. At this time, MODOK turned the emotionally conflicted Betty into the green and powerful Harpy (Incredible Hulk #168).

Firing self-described Hellbolts, Harpy all but killed the Hulk. As Bruce Banner, the hero successfully reversed MODOK's experiment and restored Betty to normal the next issue.

Venturing into Hulk's psyche, Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner, and Tunnelworld native Aeroika fought a facsimile of Harpie and other antagonists of the Hulk in Defenders #83.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Going Nova

Fearless Defenders #12 marked an abrupt end to the series as Frankie Raye, a former herald of Galactus, became the eighth (or ninth) member of the team. Along with Valkyrie (now physically and mentally linked to archaeologist Annabelle Riggs), the other Defenders in the series were Misty Knight, Dani Moonstar, Hippolyta, Clea, Elsa Bloodstone, and novice crimefighter Ren Kimura.

Introduced in the pages of the Fantastic Four, Frankie Raye initially had powers in keeping with the Human Torch.
As a herald of Galactus, she took the name Nova and gained cosmic powers on par with the Silver Surfer.
Frankie Raye should not be confused with Richard Rider (a.k.a. The Man Called Nova) from prior incarnations of the Defenders

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