Issue(s): Defenders #134
Then their stalker reveals himself.
He's Manslaughter, and he's been sent to kill them for their interference in the drug trade last issue.
He then disappears, leaving the Defenders to huddle together to defend themselves. But Beast sets up a plan wherein they fake the deaths of Cloud and Iceman as Manslaughter stalks them one by one. Then they all show up and defeat him in the end. Except for Angel and Valkyrie, who are poisoned despite the plan and have to be cryogenically frozen.
It turns out that Manslaughter has latent telepathic abilities that make it so people can't see him if they aren't looking at him dead on, and also allow him to mentally anticipate people's moves. It's a cool way to introduce a new super-power that builds on an existing known type, and of course it makes him a great assassin. When he faces off against Moondragon, when she attempts to attack him telepathically she finds instead she's created a mental bond with him that makes her feel pain when he does.
Moondragon is greatly disturbed by Manslaughter's mental domination of her. She describes it as a severe violation. While she's agonizing over the attack, Cloud makes matters worse by declaring that she's in love with her.
The Perlin/Mulder art team is really nice. There's a lot of realistic depth to the characters.
Gillis' writing is really getting good, too. Excellent characterization, good scripting, interesting scenarios.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAngel, Beast, Cloud, Dolly Donahue, Gargoyle (Defender), Iceman, Manslaughter, Moondragon, Sassafras, Valkyrie
I'm not sure if Cloud's comment was meant to show that she considers Moondragon a parental figure, or if it was lesbian attraction. If the latter, nobody in fan publications seemed to pick up on it back then--which kinda shows how far interest in the title had dropped by mid-1984.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 9, 2011 2:06 AM
"Moondragon is greatly disturbed by Manslaughter's mental domination of her. She describes it as a severe violation."
Posted by: clyde | March 18, 2015 10:40 AM
On page 10, there seems to be a text box at the bottom of panel #2 but without any actual text in it.
It's not immediately noticeable and easy to mistake as being part of the background but the complete lack of adhering to the perspective of the rest of the panel, combined with the blankness and color, it stands out weirdly. Telling is how it also cuts off the slam effect of Valkyrie's fist on the desk. Definitely meant to be a text box, presumably introducing Manslaughter to the scene.
(or is it just my copy with text missing?)
Posted by: AF | January 7, 2016 11:43 AM
And while I'm at it, the way Manslaughter has been inked and colored, I've never been sure if he was originally meant to have weird facial hair or not. If not for the touch-up they did of his handbook image for his new entry in the Defenders handbook, I would remain confused whether they were meant to represent cheekbones or a weird moustache. They are drawn so thick and with such consistency on him, they definitely look like the latter to me. (but conversely, the character is smirking about 95% of the time)
Posted by: AF | January 7, 2016 11:54 AM
I also have that blank box on my issue, so it's not just your copy.
I've also wondered about Manslaughter's seeming disappearing mustache. It's probably related to Kim DeMulder's heavy inking style compared to the inkers in Manslaughter's later appearances.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 7, 2016 3:47 PM
I love this issue. It's a well timed pastiche of slasher movies which came out after the Halloween and Friday the 13th movies began and just before A Nightmare on Elm Street. It's an odd period for the Defenders, following on from a pastiches of The Thing (the 1982 movie) and a comedy take on Chandleresque detective stories.
Posted by: Benway | November 1, 2016 9:22 PM
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