Issue(s): Defenders #57
This issue is oddly structured, beginning with a flashback scene from a few months earlier that has very little bearing on the actual story.
In the main story, Ms. Marvel approaches the Defenders to get help after Mike Barnett is kidnapped by AIM. AIM learns from Barnett that Carol Danvers has been having horrifying dreams about being killed by the Hulk, apparently leftover from the Hulk's battle with Captain Marvel. Note that AIM does not seem to know that Carol is Ms. Marvel (getting complicated, but this is the division of AIM that was not aligned with MODOK, so they never saw Ms. Marvel out of costume), but they feel the only way to get the information they need from her is this convoluted plot involving kidnapping her psychologist and then capturing the frigging Hulk to torment her!
While Ms. Marvel is talking with Nighthawk and Hellcat (who were on a date!), AIM attacks Dr. Strange's house to capture the Hulk. AIM uses a super-powerful robot that looks a lot like the Beetle to me (maybe it's just the coloring).
It manages to defeat Val and Clea as well. But later Ms. Marvel defeats it with just a few punches (and partially off panel). Nighthawk and Hellcat have an easy time with the AIM goons as well.
In the wrap up panels, no attempt is made to tie it back to Hulk's rampage against Ms. Marvel's image in the beginning. The Hulk just stands there silently while Ms. Marvel gives a weird explanation about her seventh sense tying in with the psychic energies of the orb. The whole plot is just convoluted and rushed. The art is a mess as well, with Tuska's stick figures sometimes transforming into Cockrum's more detailed art. Even the chronology of this issue is a bit of a mess, supposedly taking place before an issue of Dr. Strange that was published almost a year earlier.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The prelude part of this issue takes place prior to Defenders #42. The main story takes place before Dr. Strange returns to this dimension in Dr. Strange #24 according to a footnote showing Clea sitting around his house being bored. The MCP ignores that footnote and places this after Strange's return and the close of that Starlin/Stern arc in Dr. Strange #28, but i'd like to honor the footnotes unless it is impossible. The other constraining factor is Ms. Marvel, who is wearing the costume without the exposed midriff but still based on Captain Marvel's refers to events in Ms. Marvel #10 so it needs to take place after that. MCP places it between issues #14 and #15 of her series, but i put it earlier than that so it can go before Dr. Strange #24. All of this fits in the same gap in the Hulk's series that his Champions appearance fits in.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showCarol Danvers, Clea, Dr. Strange, Hellcat, Hulk, Mike Barnett, Nighthawk, Valkyrie
Due to the story's patchwork nature (I'm guessing, based on the plotting credit, that it was conceived about a year earlier, when Gerry was writing both DEFENDERS and MS. MARVEL), the various continuity issues it raises can probably never all be resolved, but Michael's reference to returning from Boston does support placement in between MS. MARVEL #14 and 15.
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | April 3, 2016 1:18 PM
The plot entirely hinges on AIM having a vendetta against Ms Marvel, which follows from a Claremont story in her book. So it seems strange that Conway, rather than Claremont, was responsible for this. Shaman the AIM mind-control guy, so unimpressive that he doesn’t even merit a mention in this write up of his only appearance, also seems distinctly Claremontian.
But maybe I’m wrong about that. I assume Tuska drew the first pages and Cockrum the last, but I can’t tell where in the middle the switch takes place. I wonder if Tuska started drawing a Conway story, at a time when Conway was writing Ms. Marvel, then the issue got shelved, only to be revived later by Claremont and Cockrum. Conway is credited with plot because it started with him, but Claremont scripted the whole thing and may have re-plotted the Tuska pages to work with new pages Claremont plotted for Cockrum.
Something like this, anyway, would help explain the bizarre structure.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 18, 2018 9:23 PM
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