Issue(s): Defenders #7, Defenders #8
This story picks up directly on the Hulk's encounter with Hawkeye in Hulk #166.
The confrontation doesn't get better when the Valkyrie (who, as far as Hawkeye knows, is an alter-ego of the Enchantress) and the Sub-Mariner (a quasi-bad guy himself, as far as the Avengers are concerned) show up, but the situation eventually gets settled, and we even start to see a new side of the Hulk that will actually be common for the book.
Namor is still rejecting the idea that the Defenders are a formal "team", but they invite Hawkeye back to Dr. Strange's house, which has quickly become their headquarters. Dr. Strange is away (fighting Shuma-Gorath).
Hawkeye as a member of the Defenders is kind of annoying. First, there's the fact that he's so associated with the Avengers at this point that having him on this "non-team" muddles the theme. More importantly, if you've ever been a Dungeon Master in a Dungeons & Dragons session that included both some very high level characters and someone that was only first level, well... first of all, you're a big geek (but you're not alone!). But you also know how difficult it is to come up with challenges for all the players. Sure, you can throw a big baddie at the group and also some little lackey for the newbie. But most of the time one of the other characters will just take out the lackey on their way to the main threat, leaving the poor level one character with nothing to do.
After a few more introductions, an Atlantean messenger shows up to announce that Attuma is on a rampage.
It's only fair for one of Namor's villains to show up here after so many mystical threats, but you might think that he's not tough enough to go up against the Defenders. That's because you didn't count on trained porpoises.
And who trained them? The Red Ghost. He trains animals, right?
The Defenders get themselves captured by Attuma, except for the Hulk, who has no interest in getting on a boat. So he just leaves. Hilarious!
Hawkeye has seen enough B movies that he knows how to get out of a prison when you've got a pretty lady listed among your assets, but you have to love the Valkyrie's eye-rolling expression while she plays along.
Since i already indulged in some D&D talk above, please don't let my archer's player see that Hawkeye is able to just whip up a bow and arrows out of, ummm, a bed?!? In "minutes"!
Dr. Strange returns home from his battle and he says that the powers he gained from the death of the Ancient One have enabled him to make progress on the Black Knight, who has been turned to stone. He tries to summon the Defenders to share this news, but the only respondents are the Silver Surfer (who is resting on "a meteor hurtling just above the Earth's atmosphere)...
..and the Hulk.
The Hulk eventually lets on that he knows where the other Defenders are, but the Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange have to force the information out of him.
Meanwhile, the Red Ghost makes mind-slaves of Namor, Valkyrie, and Hawkeye who, with an army of sea animals, are used to support Attuma's attack on Atlantis.
Valkyrie has a major freak-out during the attack, i guess the result of having her mind tampered with on top of her personality problems. I've really enjoyed how the Valkyrie was used in her first few appearances, but dwelling on her strange origin and the psychological damage and multiple identities will bog her character down for a while going forward.
The Red Ghost's mind-control powers apparently require a regular influx of cosmic rays from space, so Dr. Strange and the Silver Surfer create a barrier that cuts off all cosmic rays from Earth.
I'd love for someone to explore the implications of that more. Is the barrier permanent? Could we use that to explain why the Fantastic Four's powers kept evolving and increasing in earlier stories? They continued to absorb cosmic rays, but now that the rays are blocked their powers remain static? Would anyone else be affected by this? Does it explain why less and less super-folks going forwards have origins that involve atomic accidents (instead we'll see more mutants)? Maybe the cosmic rays caused people to get super-powers from radiation instead of cancer, and now that there's no more cosmic rays we don't see as many of that type of origin? Am i just totally making up a bunch of stuff based on a random throwaway plot device?
One thing's for sure: Dr. Strange's powers frighten the Silver Surfer, and that's saying something.
The story ends with Namor giving Attuma "one soul-fulfilling blow" which satisfies his desire for revenge for Attuma's part in the death of Lady Dorma.
The Defenders become a monthly title with these issues. A second story in issue #8 is part of the prologue for the Avengers/Defenders War, but i'm covering that in a separate entry since i have it as part of the trade for that crossover. The Avengers/Defenders War is fun in its own way, but these early issues are pretty unique as Englehart tackles the absurdity of this group of characters forming a team head-on and introduces the really great Valkyrie. Sal Buscema's art is looking a little thin in these issues, which i assume is due to the inkers.
Per Matthew's comment below, here's the marine biologist Jennings that may be the same Joseph Jennings that is turned into an amphibian-man in the Sub-Mariner's series.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place in the aftermath of Hulk #166. When Atlantis is attacked by Attuma's forces, the soldiers shout to alert Tamara. The MCP places this between Sub-Mariner #63-64. Doctor Strange's Shuma-Gorath storyline is taking place during these issues; it's why he's absent from issue #7, and then he arrives back during issue #8. The Avengers/Defenders War begins soon after the end of the story i covered here; the second part of Defenders #8, covered in the Avengers/Defenders War entry begins after the Defenders get back from Atlantis, after stopping to drop off a scientist from Atlantic City that Attuma had taken prisoner.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (9): show
Englehart really liked the idea that Clint could construct a bow and arrow out of anything at hand. Wait until you get to 1987 and review West Coast Avengers Annual 2- Hawkeye constructs a bow and arrow in what seems like less than a minute out of some reeds.
Posted by: Michael | March 14, 2013 7:57 PM
I notice that both you and the Marvel Comics Database credit SUB-MARINER #68 (January 1974) as the first appearance of amphibian scientist Dr. Joseph Jennings. Could there be a connection between him and "Dr. Jennings, the world's foremost marine biologist," as seen in page 22, panel 2 of DEFENDERS #7?
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | November 2, 2013 3:06 PM
Interesting catch, Matthew. I've put up scans of Dr. Jennings here and in the Sub-Mariner #68 entry. They definitely look different. He's older here and doesn't have the Shakespeare haircut. He's also described as being a "young colleague" of Dr. Croft in that issue but "the world's foremost marine biologist" here, not that those are necessarily contradictory statements. And the differences in appearance could have been just art discrepancies for a very minor character.
But if it is the same Dr. Jennings, it has implications for placement, because he's human here but he would have been behind-the-scenes in Sub-Mariner #61-62 when all the scientists were getting transformed into Amphibians. And i'm following the MCP which places these Defenders issues after Sub-Mariner #61-62. So give the "clues" i've listed, i haven't added him as a character here to avoid having to reshuffle books, but it's debatable. If both issues had the same writer, i'd be more inclined.
If it is the same guy, he sure can't catch a break.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 3, 2013 11:47 AM
More likely this is Dr. Floyd Jennings, Joseph's older brother, in whose footsteps he aspired to follow. :-)
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | November 5, 2013 9:43 AM
To be fair, Hawkeye doesn't get the arrows finished in time in the WCA Annual and has to throw his arrowheads at She-Hulk to give himself more time.
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 28, 2015 9:00 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|