Characters Appearing: Angel, Cadaver, Dr. Druid, Henry Pym, Iceman, Iron Fist, Joshua Pryce, Professor X, R.G. Mathieson, Shadowoman, Sidrat-Al-Muntah, Sloriath, Swarm
Secret Defenders #18-19
Issue(s): Secret Defenders #18, Secret Defenders #19
Dr. Druid is contacted by an old contact named Mathieson (head of the mysterious Bureau 18) who has identified strangely coordinated insect behavior outside of a Rand-Meachum superconductor in Texas.
Since insects are involved, Dr. Druid mentally manipulates Henry Pym into joining his group.
Then the bees attack. Since it's a Rand-Meachum installation, Iron Fist is there, and he and Pym try to hold out against the (lower case) swarm...
...while Dr. Druid and his minions take the fight directly to the Swarm.
Druid's group gets captured...
...so he reads Swarm's mind and learns that the Champions once defeated the Swarm. So he reaches out and summons former Champions Iceman and Angel by pretending to be Professor X.
In a classic Team-Up convention, they arrive just as Iron Fist is running out of steam.
God knows how many bee stings these poor heroes had to endure.
Swarm evolves beyond needing his Nazi scientist bones, which i consider a negative development.
It turns out that the superconductor was messing with the bees, which is why Swarm attacked. Dr. Druid eventually negotiates a peace treaty, with the stipulation that the superconductor won't be used.
Pym, Iron Fist, and the X-Men never find out about Dr. Druid.
For those who are interested (all two of you), we get a little more info on Cadaver in these issues.
We also get this interlude.
This is very cheesy, but in an endearing way. It has a classic 1970 Team-Up feel. It being the 1990s, i kind of expect a little more sophistication. But i also expect 1990s comics to be uniformly awful. So it's kind of a wash.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: I'm pushing almost the entire Secret Defenders series for this year back in publication time because issues #20-21 have to take place before Force Works #1. One thing that needs to be addressed is Archangel's mention of "the new academy" which would seem to suggest that this has to take place after the formation of the academy in Generation X #1, or at least after Phalanx Covenant when the new mutants are discovered. But we'll learn in X-Men #31 that Emma Frost has left her academy to Professor X in her will, so it's possible that Professor X knew about that and was already making plans for a new academy with the idea that the White Queen might never come out of her coma. So i'm ignoring that comment as a placement consideration.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"It's not awful" is probably damning with faint praise, but considering some of the dreck being published concurrently in 1994 I suppose it will have to do.
For me probably the high point of the later Secret Defenders issues was the penciling by Bill Wylie. His work reminds me of Bronze Age artists such as Keith Pollard and Ron Wilson. Wylie's art may not be especially flashy or dynamic, but I will gladly take him over the slew of Image Comics imitators who were running amok around this time. He does a good job penciling the unusual line-up of these issues.
Of course, having Swarm, aka the Nazi made of bees, is another thing this story has in its favor. I actually like the idea that Swarm has evolved into less of a war criminal / mad scientist and more of a force of nature who feels motivated to protect the environment in an especially ruthless manner. I agree with fnord that Swarm no longer needing his human skeleton here is "a negative development" although further down the line he does regain it.
Posted by: Ben Herman | December 20, 2017 8:11 PM
"I expect 1990s comics to be uniformly awful." fnord is a national treasure. and I hope we're NEVER giving up on 'Secret Defenders' :D
Posted by: Wis | December 21, 2017 8:30 AM
Shouldn't Al (the head in a jar) be listed as a Character Appearing? We hear him talking from Joshua's backpack.
Posted by: Michael | December 22, 2017 7:51 PM
On that front, his full name is Sidrat-Al-Muntah.
Posted by: AF | January 3, 2018 10:20 AM
Thanks Michael and AF. I've added "Al".
Posted by: fnord12 | January 4, 2018 10:38 AM
Comments are now closed.
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