Issue(s): Defenders #20
Meanwhile, Nighthawk, Dr. Strange and the Thing look for the Valkyrie while Nighthawk and the Thing discuss the formation and logistics of the Defenders (i.e., how do they operate without a formal membership, etc.).
Barbara has been recaptured by the Cultists she used to run with. Apparently her mother is one of them, and she's willing to sell Barbara out to have her youth and beauty restored.
The Defenders and the Thing put a stop to it.
There's also some business about that harmonica from Marvel Two-In-One #7.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Continues directly from Marvel Two-In-One #7
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"Celestia", Barbara's mother's name, was also on the harmonica. Gerber never actually explained that one.
After this issue, Gerber pretty much gave up trying to match the Hulk's Defenders presence with what the Hulk was doing in his own title. He stated in a Comic Book Artist interview that it just wasn't possible.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 20, 2011 3:10 PM
Missed the Hulk in this one, as he really brings the muscle, instability factor, (and color!) to the Defenders. His presence gives them that great non-team flavor. Thing was an adequate replacement, but I found this issue to be really strange with the odd back story and all. Coletta's inks are so-so on this one, and it appears rushed. Note how way off Nighthawk's eyes look on a few of those panels.
Posted by: Mike | June 29, 2014 3:25 PM
It's true that the "Celestia" angle was never given a completely satisfactory explanation (befitting this trilogy's rushed conclusion), but I think that a close reading suggests what Gerber had in mind. Van Nyborg states that Celestia Denton was "snatched from the maw of death [presumably in the car crash alluded to in MTIO #7] by the Nameless Ones themselves, thus altering the course of destiny for two years..." We know that the "girl" who "died" beseeching Strange to save the harmonica (in MTIO #6) was a manifestation of the destiny force, so it seems reasonable to interpret the harmonica as some sort of representation/symbol/solution/whatever to destiny being thus out of whack. With its destruction, Celestia meets her long-overdue death and, as Strange puts it in the last panel, "an entire cosmos has been put aright."
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | June 30, 2014 7:07 PM
Thanks, Matthew. I will have to read the whole thing again with your Cliff notes, but i admit i found it boggling the first time around.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 30, 2014 9:38 PM
Thematically, what Gerber is trying to do is play p the existential crisis Val is having by introducing a cosmic geegaw that forces people to confront the identities they've crated for themselves or the places they're unwittingly choosing to go.
Since the Valkyrie's gimmick in Gerber's run will be that she doesn't have her own identity, this allows her to confront the forces that are denying her on and, with help from the Thing and Doctor Strange*, throw them off so she can start genuinely defining herself. Thus she gets to confront the Enchantress, the Executioner, and the Nameless One, and her parents are both killed off. Gerber is also riffing on Thomas's choice to call the demon-thing "the Nameless One," literally a being without an identity who's done the same to Val/Barbara.
As to plot, like Matthew Bradley, I figured the implication was that the cult had warped the destinies of Barbara and Celestia Denton, so Destiny got involved. The harmonica is said to hold the spark of Celestia Denton's life force, so presumably it is somehow the repository of the "warped piece of destiny." The Thing's use and later destruction of it set everything to rights.
But really, it's a McGuffin, and also Gerber thinking the blues are soulful and deep and existential.
*Also, Nighthawk is there, mostly for a single scene in which he whines that the Defenders won't act like a proper super-team even though he's throwing money and fancy headquarters at them.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 6, 2017 6:49 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|