Issue(s): Defenders #106, Defenders #107, Defenders #108, Defenders #109
This arc begins by picking up where Captain America #268 left off. Dr. Strange is contacted by Nighthawk's psionic but mentally ill girlfriend. And Daredevil realizes that he's been subconsciously blocking out the fact that he was there when the Defenders were captured in Defenders #104. So Strange, Daredevil, the Beast, and Son of Satan head to the base of the (still not yet identified) Secret Empire to stage a rescue.
The rescue is not entirely successful, however, and both Nighthawk and the Valkyrie are killed. Nighthawk allows the telepaths to possess his body so they can trigger the base's self-destruct mechanism to destroy the Empire's technology and prevent the triggering of a telepathically inspired World War III.
And Valkyrie is killed (somewhat implausibility) by a stray guard outside of the base.
A number of heroes attend the funeral, including Thor, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, Power Man, the Sub-Mariner, the Silver Surfer, the Hulk, Daredevil, Captain America, and the current Defenders team.
Later, the Defenders are visited by Valkyrie's spirit.
It turns out that the Enchantress has been holding Val's real immortal body - which is just about identical in appearance to that of Barbara Norris, her mortal body.
Yes, this is another attempt to clean up Valkyrie's convoluted origin. And this one will be more successful than last attempts.
Val's spirit takes up residence in her sword. The Enchantress appears and demands that the Defenders go on a quest for her in return for restoring Val's spirit to her Asgardian body.
There's some dispute over the intended outcome - if Valkyrie is restored to her body, then Barbara Norris, currently a vegetable and previously insane, will have her spirit forced out and she'll die. Half of the Defenders - Hellcat, Hulk, Sub-Mariner, and Hellstorm - don't have a problem with that, and they agree to go on the Enchantress' quest. The other half - Dr. Strange, Beast, Gargoyle, and Spider-Man (who hung around after the funeral) - have ethical problems with that and stay behind.
The Enchantress' quest involves acquiring a rose that she wants to give to a personified entity of Love.
But in the end Love rejects her and conveniently takes away the spirit of Barbara Norris instead.
The Enchantress is trapped inside a mystical globe...
...which Dr. Strange keeps. The Enchantress' next appearance is Secret Wars, so i guess she has the Beyonder to thank for getting out.
Having finally retrieved her own body...
...Valkyrie confronts Odin, demanding to know why he allowed the Enchantress to hold her body for centuries. Odin claims that at first he was angry because she disobeyed him centuries ago (in the Roy Thomas's Ring Cycle re-interpretation) and then the deal he made with the Celestials prevented him from interfering on Earth.
Meanwhile, the quest team finds that the rose is an important part of a bizarre little ecosystem...
...and that they don't have the right to take it. Hellcat returns to the main team, but Hulk, Sub-Mariner, and the Son of Satan get waylaid. Later, when Dr. Strange tracks them down, he finds that they've seemingly found Nighthawk, albeit wearing a new costume.
There's something about DeMatteis's Defenders that just falls flat for me. I guess I miss the zaniness of the Gerber and Kraft years. This run is better in a technical sense than Hannigan's run as writer but it's equally un-enjoyable for me.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #106 continues directly from Captain America #268. Captain America parts with the Defenders after #107. There's no real context for the funeral attendees, so any gap in their placement will do. This has to fit into a gap in the Hulk's book. The nearest gap is between Hulk #268-269. After Valkyrie's body is restored, Spider-Man leaves the group and the Gargoyle goes with him. This leads directly into Marvel Team-Up #119.
The problem with that, per Michael's comment, is Professor Power. He's the mastermind behind the story here, and he subsequently appears in Marvel Team-Up #117-118 and refers to these events as happening "some weeks ago". Spider-Man obviously appears in those Team-Up comics too, so he can't appear in Marvel Team-Up weeks after this while also appearing in Marvel Team-Up #119 directly after this... unless (again, as Michael outlines) 1) there's a gap somewhere in here where MTU #117-118 takes place 2) MTU #119 takes place before MTU #118-119 or 3) After swinging out the window in that scene above, Spider-Man decides to take a raincheck and they meet up again some time later. Option #1 makes things unnecessarily complicated (and i don't see an easy break) and Option #3 ruins this nice hand-off between Defenders and Marvel Team-Up, so i've chosen #2. The good news is that the Team-Up issues are pretty context-free and there's no harm in mixing up the order.
This issue is part of a long sequence of events that doesn't end until Defenders #115 that leaves Nighthawk dead and Devil-Slayer in jail.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (10): show
If you eventually get Marvel Team-Up 119, your head will explode trying to figure out how to place MTU 117-119 since MTU 117-118 take place "weeks after" Defenders 106 and MTU 119 takes place right after the Defenders return from Asgard. So either there's a gap somewhere in the middle of Defenders 106-109, or MTU 117-118 take place after MTU 119, or Peter and Isaac decide to put off their New York adventure for a couple of days so that Peter can have his adventure in MTU 117-118.
It's sitting in my (gigantic) back-issue pile right now so i guess i'll be dealing with it soon enough. ;-)
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