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.
But 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 arc 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 notes in the Considerations section for Hulk #160).
The action continues directly from each issue with no break, but beginning in issue #4 Namor is wearing the earring that Namorita gives him in Sub-Mariner #55. So we'll have to assume that Namor had the earring in a pocket and decided to start wearing it in #4.
The MCP places this between Hulk #160-161.
In issue #2 we see the countdown clock of the Omegatron. It's ticking down at a rate of 1 second per month, and in issue #2 it has 6 seconds and change left.
At the very end of issue #4, it is down to 0 seconds and 89 hundredths of a second.
As noted above, the action between these issues continues directly, so the "months" in question seem to refer to publication months. You could also just assume that the spell that Dr. Strange used to slow time around the Omegatron (Marvel Feature #1) is failing at an accelerated rate. Nonetheless, the Omegatron is now "very close" to becoming reactivated.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (19): 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....
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | March 8, 2013 2:14 AM
Sal's art was not stiff in these issues. I think it loses some detail when the figures get smaller in the panel, but that could also be the inkers guessing where the lines go. Sal is the man, and his females look as sexy as they should be. I agree on the confusion with the whole madness personality engulfing theme here (and in future issues when Jack appears) but it just makes her a more well rounded character enshrouded in mystery. These 3 issues get A ratings from me, certainly no lower than a B.
By the way I really need to know the correct pronunciation of Valkyrie. I've always been referring to her as Val-ker-ree, and a friend had called her Val-kee-ree, which sounded very weird and wrong to me. Thanks!
Posted by: Mike | June 29, 2014 10:59 AM
I just read these in the Masterworks. It's really disappointing because #1 is still, to me, really really good, with great artwork and almost every other issue of Defenders, until it ends in 152 will just be a disappointment.
I thought it was really amusing when "Hulk" was wearing Strange's cloak when Strange was disguised as him. But here, when it's really the Hulk wearing it, it's even more amusing.
The Surfer flies off because Strange couldn't get him off Earth - they travelled in the other dimension but not off Earth apparently because the dimensions work differently. Still, it's sound in theory - after all, they left Earth in the Himalayas and arrive back in front of Garrett Castle - they certainly moved.
A couple of art notes - the two examples you used of Barbara screaming are just awful - both the way the scream is portrayed, but also how she is drawn.
But the other note is just strange. Buscema draws all the issues, but for some reason, in #4, after they arrive back on Earth, Namor has an earring in his left ear. It's never there in #3. They did, however, change inkers in #4, so maybe that's the answer? It was just strange to see it suddenly appear in the middle of adventure.
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 12, 2015 6:46 PM
Oh, also, forgot. Since I'm a big fan of Dane Whitman and had the issues of Avengers where he comes back to the present, I was stunned to realize that he was stuck as a stone statue for something like a freakin decade!
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 12, 2015 6:47 PM
The other problem with the attempts to free the Surfer is that Strange can also travel through TIME- it's not clear why they can't just send the Surfer back to 1964, before Galactus first visited Earth.
Posted by: Michael | February 13, 2015 8:14 AM
It may Prove that Marvel may want to Parlay their Doctor Strange silver screen offering into the Mystical Incarnation of the DEFENDERS and introduce Namor and re-introduce Silver Surfer in a legitimate vehicle! Could be parlayed into the next Supergroup incarnation for the Marvel Movie Universe with an eventual Avengers vs Defenders epic adrenaline filled debacle!
Posted by: Rocknrollguitarplayer | January 21, 2016 12:12 AM
Erik, Namorita gives Namor one of her earrings in Sub-Mariner 55.
Posted by: Andrew | December 13, 2016 9:53 PM
The Sorcerer Supreme of this universe. A creature with unlimited strength, rage and near-invulnerability. The fast-flying hybrid with a warrior's determination. The former herald of Galactus, armed with a fraction of the Power Cosmic. They're indeed an insanely powerful team. No wonder there's always some contrived reason to keep them separated. It'd be interesting, though, to see them travelling around the universe and/or other dimensions to fight Dormammu-level villains who can actually challenge them. They'd be kept for cosmic adventures, and a main Defenders team with "weaker" heroes could still exist on Earth. But this title clearly wasn't popular enough to get a spinoff about the world's mightiest non-team.
Posted by: Nth Wolf | June 12, 2018 2:23 PM
Done right as a Silver screen sizzler this team of misfitted mystics with otherworldly tech and brute force could compete for Avenger market share and Valkyrie becomes Marvels Wonder Woman. All mammals love The Valkyrie
Posted by: Rocknrollguitarplayer | June 13, 2018 1:32 AM
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