Issue(s): Defenders #146, Defenders #147
...but prior to that, they consider Thor for the team. Unfortunately his lawyer advises against joining (they're really just holograms cooked up by the Beast).
Similarly, the de-powered Johnny Blaze doesn't actually join the team, but he does join their Weirdos Auxiliary.
Things get a little more serious when the Defenders' remote doctor says that due to Angel's mutant physiology (supposedly), he's unable to help with Angel's blindness, and the team has to go to New York to see a doctor in person.
General Argyle, still concerned about the Defenders after their recent potentially misconstrued adventures as well as the general state of mutant hysteria, sends Seraph, still disguised as a soldier, with them to New York.
Instead of staying at one of Angel's penthouses, the Defenders head to their former teammate Dr. Strange's house. He's currently in the Dark Dimension,but Wong and Sarah are around. Gargoyle swipes a gem from one of Strange's back rooms.
The team barely settles in before Valkyrie detects a threat in Central Park (she says her senses are heightened from being in Strange's house).
Earlier, Andromeda, still in her human disguise, went to a club with her boyfriend where the dancers were all cutting each other up. She failed to stop the instigator, but she tracked him here.
He's a weirdo called Hotspur who falls pretty nicely into the DeMatteis mold of demon-bad guys. I didn't find him all that interesting, nor did i love the device of seeing the Defenders forced to run through some tired illusionary scenarios (the cover scene, depicting a team-up with Fury and the Howling Commanders, is one of the illusions).
Hotspur is nearly undefeatable, but the Gargoyle oddly forces Cloud to dig up the painful memory of Moondragon betraying her, and he channels her misery into Hotspur, which weakens him (his deal is feeding off of the thrill that the heroes have while they're fighting; Cloud's genuine misery is something he can't handle).
If this seems cruel to you, you have Seraph for company. She reveals her true self at the end of this arc, rebukes the Defenders, and says that she's ready to explain Cloud's true identity.
Candy Southern (slipped a knock-out drug by Seraph in issue #147) is technically the leader of this team, but in practice it's a purely figurehead role. The plots since her nomination to leadership have all been reactive and haven't allowed her to showcase her talents strategically or tactically. In comparison to Heather Hudson of Alpha Flight, who at least serves as a rallying point and a central "heart" for the team (i don't think a lot has been done with Heather at this point either, but at least there's something), there doesn't seem to have been a reason to make a non-powered person the leader of this team of super-heroes.
Also in these issues we find that the awesome Interloper - he whose cloak of fear makes wolves cringe - is on the move. "Today there is a spoor of shadow - of dragon, and death, and great things moving. Today he must seek the world again -- and let it know him as the wolves did." We'll have a few issues of great build-up for this guy, but unfortunately this series is running out of time.
Luke McDonnell fills in for the first issue in this arc and then Don Perlin is back. Art Nichols' not-quite-Mike-Mignola inking works better with Perlin than McDonnell. I really prefer the Perlin/DeMulder combination, though.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Johnny Blaze is still with the Defenders at the beginning of this issue, and shouldn't appear anywhere else in between (i know, i know: where else would he go at this point? But you never know what continuity insert might come along.). Takes place while Dr. Strange is in the Dark Dimension.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAndromeda, Angel, Beast, Candy Southern, Cloud, Dolly Donahue, Gargoyle (Defender), General Argyle Fist, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Iceman, Interloper, Roxanne Simpson, Sara Wolfe, Seraph, Valkyrie, Wong
That gem Gargoyle swipes from Dr. Strange's house? It's important. Remember it.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | November 21, 2013 3:07 AM
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