Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Measuring Up to Mantis

New Defenders #138 ended in a cliffhanger, as the team witnessed Moondragon in hand-to-hand combat against the former Avenger known as Mantis. An even bigger surprise came in #139, when the New Defenders discovered that they were merely seeing a mental projection of Mantis that Moondragon had created to face some festering resentments.

Moondragon's bitterness harked back to Giant-Size Avengers #4, when she and Mantis were contenders for the title of Celestial Madonna. Both women were well-versed in the martial arts and had unique psionic abilities. Mantis also had a sense of humility that Moondragon lacked, and that absence of humility was the deciding factor that cost Moondragon the title.

Moondgragon handled the disappointment by eventually proclaiming herself a goddess free the moral confines of good and evil. Moondragon's acts of hubris in Avengers #219-220 led the Norse god Odin to hinder her powers with a mystic headband and sentence her to the custody of Valkyrie effective New Defenders #125.

Silently observing from Asgard, Odin determined that Moondragon finally learned humility in battling the image of Mantis; he mystically removed the headband at the end of #139. The lesson was short lived, however, as Moondragon's thirst for power continued.

This image of Mantis comes from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Turning to Tarot

Since the time I started this blog twelve years ago, I've witnessed numerous attempts to revamp the Defenders. None impressed me as much as Tarot #1.

Bringing together Hulk, Namor, Valkyrie, Silver Surfer, and Dr. Strange, the mini-series features five of the earliest and most iconic members of the original non-team … with a seasoned sense of camaraderie.

The premiere issue found the heroes facing Cyrus Black, one of the team's oldest foes. Within the story, Namor remembered a surprising moment in 1944 when Captain America turned into a green-skinned Hulk. A visit to Avengers Mansion, however, found that Captain America had no memory of this dubious event.

Pual Renaud illustrated this variant cover of Tarot #1 (March 2020). Alan Davis wrote this issue.

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