Issue(s): Defenders #76, Defenders #77
Well, it turns out there was an alien race that was at an evolutionary dead end. So they created a series of cyborgs and planted them on various planets, hoping that one of them would be able to... i don't know, somehow prove themselves a worthy candidate for continuing the alien race, or something.
One of the cyborgs was Omega, and one was James-Michael Starling. The people of Omega's planet taught him some super-powers, and the aliens that created him didn't like that so they wiped out the planet. Omega escaped to Earth to protect his 'brother' James-Michael. The twist is that the super-powers that Omega (and now James-Michael) knew were actually too dangerous and could blow up the universe if not checked. So the Defenders spend time defending James-Michael from the aliens when they should have been letting them take him away. Eventually James-Michael kills himself to prevent the world from blowing up.
Ruby Thursday is also trying to capture Omega for her own purposes.
Moondragon shows up because she'd been monitoring cosmic developments on Earth, and she picked up a call for help (not directed at Moondragon) from Hellcat. She gets disgusted with the Defenders lack of insight so she flies back into space (no one invited her anyway). She also "takes back" the mental powers she gave to Hellcat a while ago. That's a little weird. I thought Hellcat was being trained, but it seems Moondragon just sort of imbued her with some powers and Moondragon was able to just pull them back when she needed them, like Hellcat was really just a battery.
Meanwhile, the Hulk fights a Shmoo.
(For what it is worth, there is a biting criticism of these two issues in the lettercol for issue #84 from Cat Yronwode, a long time Marvel correspondent and writer in the fan press. She has a lot of valid complaints regarding the conclusion of the Omega story, but she also wonders why the Hulk is fighting a Shmoo. I identified the creature as a Shmoo before reading Cat's letter.)
Surely this was not at all Steve Gerber's original intent for Omega the Unknown, but he refused to share his ideas, so what can you do? Grant does a decent job with Starling's characterization, but this isn't really a great story even not judging against Gerber's original story. I have to imagine that readers not familiar with Omega the Unknown must have been baffled by this, but that isn't all that uncommon an occurrence for a Defenders story.
At Hellcat's request, the Wasp is hanging out with (what remains of) the Defenders (since they've officially disbanded).
Fighting a bunch of the cyborg goons, she thinks to herself that the Avengers would have mopped the floor with them by now. But maybe it's that attitude that causes her to (seemingly) accidentally kill Ruby Thursday.
Also in these issues, Nighthawk is given a government injunction preventing him from super-heroing while he's under investigation
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Steven Grant in issue #76's lettercol: "One of the problems of trying to wrap up a series like Omega is time discrepancies. Readers of the old series will notice that this story takes place only a week after the events of Omega #10 although that issue came out almost two years ago. There were several good reasons for this. First, as longtime fans know, Marvel time is somewhat more elastic than real time, and, as the Omega series has virtually no connection with any other events in the Marvel Universe, outside of a guest-appearance by the Hulk in Omega #2, time was more or less open to my interpretation. Second, rather than concoct an idiotic explanation for what James-Michael Starling and friend have been doing to stay alive for the last two years, or how Omega happened to stick around for so long, I deemed it preferable to tamper slightly with time, and pick up events from where they left off in the last issue of Omega. OK?"
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
I'm wondering if some of Ruby Thursday's cleavage got erased.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 18, 2011 1:34 AM
This was another example of a "disposable character" (Omega) being disposed of.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 29, 2011 11:29 PM
FOOM#18(6/77) stated that Gerber was coming back to Defenders for 2 issues to specifically wrap up the Omega saga, and cowrite it with Mary Skrenes. I"m guessing the fight over Howard the Duck torpedoed that, but a slot for that was already stuck into the Defenders schedule and Grant/Gruenwald were asked to take it on.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 7, 2013 9:19 PM
The titles of both issues come from Elvis Costello songs. I wonder if that's Gruenwald's doing. He had a penchant for using Talking Heads titles early in his Captain America run.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 2, 2013 10:01 PM
Small milestone: this is the first time Marvel had an all-female super-hero team.
Posted by: Andrew | January 11, 2017 1:00 PM
Posted by: AF | January 11, 2017 4:26 PM
The Lady Liberators were a bunch of women's libbers, so clearly they were villainous. And they were lead by the Enchantress besides.
Posted by: Andrew | January 11, 2017 4:58 PM
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