Issue(s): Defenders #98, Defenders #99, Defenders #100
...who want to pass on a problem they've found to Dr. Strange: it seems a volcanic crater in the shape of a six fingered hand has appeared where Citrusville, Florida used to be.
As we saw the beginning of last issue, the Man-Thing has become possessed by a Six Fingered Hand demon called Unnthinnk.
He's sucking our dimension into the Nexus of Realities. Thanks to Strange temporarily restoring the mind of Ted Sallis to the Man-Thing...
...they are able to break the possession, but the Defenders still have to travel into the Nexus to rescue Citrusville and close the portal. When they enter, they encounter all six demons of the alliance and find that the Hulk, the Sub-Mariner, the Silver Surfer, and Clea have been captured.
After breaking free and fighting to restore the people of Citrusville...
...they find out that the threat they are facing was not exactly what it seemed. The original assumption was that the Six Fingered Hand was a group of six minor devils that banded together to become more powerful than the sum of their parts. But it turns out that one of the devils, Maya, was really Mephisto in disguise.
He created the threat of the Six Fingered Hand in order to lure Dr. Strange around the world using his teleportation spell in order to weaken the fabric of the universe. Now he can literally bring Hell to earth. Along with Mephisto are Marvel's other major manifestations of the Devil: Satan (from Ghost Rider), Thog (from Man-Thing), and Satannish (from Dr. Strange).
They offer Dr. Strange the option of entering a contest to determine the fate of the earth. Most of issue #100 has the Defenders facing off against and/or being tempted by the various high level devils.
In the end it comes down to a fight between Hellstorm and his father, Satan, in which the other Defenders are sworn not to interfere.
But when things go badly for the Son of Satan, the Defenders cheat and channel their might to Daimon.
Still it is not enough, and Daimon loses the fight. Satan raises his pitchfork for the killing blow, only to find that he can not actually kill his son. He even says that he loves him.
Daimon declares that he will stay at Satan's side. Weirdly emotional, Satan restores the Earth and leaves, with his other devil allies probably wondering what the Hell was going on.
Satan reveals that Hellcat is his daughter, making her Daimon's sister. But the story leaves open the possibility that Satan was lying.
Overall, an ambitious story, but it's a bit of a failure. The devils' plot is unnecessarily complex and in the end it just dies of its own accord. This would have been a good opportunity to clarify the Marvel cosmology when it comes to all these various manifestations of the Devil, but they're all just treated like big demons. The purely mystical nature of the threat leaves the majority of the team without a lot to do, except where DeMatteis makes up pointless fights and physical challenges for them. It's all just a bit muddled. And DeMatteis isn't really good enough on characterization and dialogue to make us at least enjoy the journey if not the destination.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place soon after issue #97. Strange teleports the Defenders home from Israel at the start of this arc (and the constant teleporting turns out to be more significant than we realized). Takes place before the change in the Avengers line-up in Avengers #211. Hulk appears here after Hulk #265 and Hulk annual #11.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (9): show
Not even half as cool as Defenders #50!
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | May 2, 2017 10:43 AM
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