Issue(s): Defenders #2, Defenders #3, Defenders #4
He's very excited and interested in helping humanity, a major turning point for him. But Namor is under the impression that the Silver Surfer attacked him last issue so they get into a big fight and the Surfer eventually flies off, once again disgusted with Earthlings. But Strange is now able to trace him back to a valley associated with the Undying Ones. Before heading there, Strange and Namor pick up the Hulk again, just because.
The valley is up in the Himalayan Mountains, which means the Hulk has to wear mittens so that they can go incognito and use guides to take them up the mountains without alarming anyone.
Unfortunately, the guards get eaten, and we soon find that the Silver Surfer has been hanging out with Yetis (or "furry monkey-things", if you prefer).
As far as i am concerned, despite the coloring difference, these are the Yetis that we saw in Silver Surfer #1. The Silver Surfer tells everyone that the Yetis aren't evil and he's been working with these Yetis for a while now, teaching them, "much like the American Peace Corp volunteers".
Unfortunately, the Yetis turn out to be agents of the Undying Ones.
The insanely powerful Defenders (i'm including the Surfer for this purpose) easily defeat Calizuma and his Warrior-Wizards, and Strange casts a Spell of Atonement that will cause them to remember nothing of their evil past, "nor want to".
Then, while still in the Himalayas, Dr. Strange suggests that he can help the Surfer escape the barrier Galactus put around Earth, by traveling to another dimension, traveling past the border, and then back into our dimension.
I guess the fact that i consider that a reasonable plan means i've read too many comic books.
Buy before we go on a trip to another dimension, Namor needs to splush around in the snow a bit, you guys.
The dimension the Defenders arrive in, however, isn't what Strange was expecting. It's the dimension of the Nameless One (if you're having trouble following along at home, the Nameless One is the leader of the Undying Ones, a race of demons which perhaps include Calizuma and his Warrior-Wizards). They first encounter Barbara Denton...
...and then learn that she's really become the mate of the Nameless One.
Fighting the Nameless One is weird...
...but the Defenders are able to hurt it...
...and they rescue Barbara and flee the dimension. Unfortunately, Barbara has been driven mad by the experience.
Strange seems to think that her madness would have to be caused by her growing to like her "forced choice of mating".
Which is really odd. Speaking only for myself, being stranded in a hell dimension, getting raped by a demon and then getting literally bonded with it would probably be a little nerve wracking. If that happens and i start screaming, please don't assume it's because i'm upset that you've un-bonded me.
In any event, the Defenders get back to Earth in a bit of a mess. The Surfer flies off, disgusted.
And that brings us to confusing origin of the Valkyrie, part IV. (Part I. Part II. Part III.) This time, all the pieces we've seen so far more or less come together. Unfortunately, writers will continue to noodle with it, making things worse.
We have the catatonic Barbara Denton (later, we learn actually Barbara Norriss nee Denton), who has been part of the Defenders story since their proto-adventures in the first Undying Ones arc.
And we have the Enchantress, who is fighting the evil Queen-Goddess Casiolena...
...who stole her man the Executioner.
In order to even the odds, the Enchantress turns Norriss into the Valkyrie, a power that the Enchantress has demonstrated twice before (once on herself and once on a random girl, Samantha Parrington, who will eventually become the Valkyrie too, but that's much later).
And that basically could have been it. Some vestige of a pre-cultist Barbara Norriss could have asserted itself and caused the Valkyrie to resist the Enchantress, and then she could have been the Defenders' replacement for the Silver Surfer and everyone would have been happy. But no! It will turn out that the Valkyrie retains none of Norriss' personality and in fact she is an actual person in her own right. So, yeah, Confusing Origin of the Valkyrie doesn't end here; it's only beginning.
That aside, it's nice to see a strong female character, with physical powers, being introduced here. She's got a classic John Buscema-designed costume (I like it; metal bra, ballerina slippers, and all), and she'll provide a real grounding as a consistent member of the "non-team" throughout all its incarnations.
This issue also introduces the Black Knight to the cast...
...only to have him turned to stone...
...which will be an ongoing loose end for a long time. The upside of that is Valkyrie gets his horse!
It's not a great story, but it's a fun little swords & sorcery plot with decent (but sometimes kinda stiff) art from Sal Buscema.
A number of letters in the lettercols wonder how exactly this team will be kept together, and suggest turning the book into more of a rotating team-up series.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This arc starts "two months" after Defenders #1, during which time Dr. Strange and Namor have been searching for the Silver Surfer to no avail. When the Hulk first appears in issue #2, he says "Hulk has lost Jarella again", which would imply that this takes place soon after Hulk #156, but due to the continuing nature of the stories in the Hulk's books, that would push previous issues of the Defenders back prior to Hulk #148. It's entirely feasible that the Hulk has just re-remembered Jarella or confused her for Betty (see the connects in the considerations section for Hulk #160).
The MCP places this between Hulk #160-161 and i've got this in a gap between Sub-Mariner #51-52.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (15): show
I think ive mentioned this before but the dr strange/ namor/hulk/surfer defenders is really too powerful for any foe. I mean when you have a team that has namor as its weakest link....
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|