Characters Appearing: Cadaver, Dr. Druid, Eddie Brock (Venom), Joshua Pryce, Rachel Carpenter, Shadowoman, Sidrat-Al-Muntah, Sloriath, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), USAgent, Venom Symbiote
Secret Defenders #20-21
Issue(s): Secret Defenders #20, Secret Defenders #21
Actually, Dr. Druid and friends are not throwing a concert. They're just teleporting home from their last adventure. Dr. Druid immediately returns to pursuing his vendetta against Dr. Strange.
When Cadaver says that he's rather go home, Druid teleports him there without putting up a fight, telling Shadowoman that he'll come crawling back. And when Shadowoman starts demanding answers to questions about her origin, Dr. Druid gives her the old Superman kiss.
But then Dr. Druid has another apocalyptic vision. And since he sent Cadaver away and turned his girlfriend into a statue, he has to recruit others to help him deal with it. And who better than a former member of the West Coast Avengers (well, from a continuity perspective, almost anyone would be better, but more on that below)?
I've said this book is like Marvel Team-Up, but nowadays it's Marvel Conscription.
Dr. Druid does manage to fend off a Team-Up with Venom, which is pretty admirable.
Dr. Druid and Spider-Woman go into the sewer and fight some bug-eyed monsters. But since Dr. Druid didn't bother to hypnotize Spider-Woman's daughter, she calls USAgent when she gets home.
See below for my full rant on the lazy continuity work that was done on this issue. But how out of the loop do you have to be to script USAgent calling himself and Spider-Woman "West Coast Avengers" in a book being published with an Oct 94 cover date? We can write it off as a "once an Avenger, always an Avenger" thing, but man.
Meanwhile, the bug-eyed monsters have reached critical mass. Apparently when you get enough of them together, it causes some drooling idiot to show up.
Slaymaker's biggest crime is not being aware that it's a crime to use the word "brobdingnagian" in the Marvel universe unless you're referring to Baron Zemo's robot. Oh no, wait. His biggest crime is that he sucks.
While all of this is going on, Cadaver terrifies his former town when he tries to return to home. He even gives his poor dad a heart attack.
Dr. Druid contacts Cadaver, asking him to come to the San Fransisco sewers to help. USAgent also arrives.
Continuing in his bid for Absolute Asshole, Dr. Druid "helps" Cadaver fight the bug-eyed monsters by setting him on fire.
Druid eventually uses his magic to escape the bug-eyed pyramid, and the backlash sends Slaymaker permanently into his cartoon dreamworld.
USAgent takes Spider-Woman home without first punching Dr. Druid in the face for hypnotizing her in the first place.
Also in these issues, the guy with a talking backpack continues to hitchhike and cause vehicles to blow up.
And Shadowoman, stuck as a statue, is contacted by the Avatar of Pedantic Grammar or something.
Please allow me to do a little editorializing about continuity matters so that i don't clutter up the Considerations section below. As you can see in the top scan,a footnote says that this takes place before Force Works #1 (Jul 94) (the unavoidable thing that couldn't be fixed with some last minute scripting is USAgent's uniform and shield). It's a little sad when you have to make a note like that about a book that was published some three months prior to the ones you are writing, and which was scheduled to come out even earlier, by four months. And to make matters even more complicated, Avengers #370 (Jan 94) tries to take place at the same time as Force Works #1 (without explicitly referencing it). Surely the fact that West Coast Avengers were becoming Force Works was well known at Marvel. But ok, fine, you're going to use the standard "this takes place before the thing that changed these characters" to deal with a continuity problem. That's ok in a vacuum. But you can't be doing that when in the last arc you (seemingly) referenced Generation X #1 (Nov 94) as something that already happened (which would also mean it takes place after all of Phalanx Covenant). Forget actually thinking about any continuity issues. At a bare minimum, you want to avoid saying that your books take place before something that came out months ago but after something that (as of last arc) hadn't even come out yet. This is a team-up book, and in fact it's a team team-up book, which means that you know that continuity issues are going to come up. And it's got to be considered one of the responsibilities of this creative and editorial team to keep things straight. One way to do that is to coordinate with the editors of other books and work out a schedule. But i recognize that that's a lot of work. So the other way to do it is to just keep things simple and avoid references to recent events. Did Archangel have to mention "the new academy" in the last arc? I mean, the casual Marvel universe enthusiast in me says "yes", because i like to see a cohesive Marvel universe. But i don't want it to be a universe that falls apart at the slightest touch. So we didn't need Angel blurting out a laundry list of recent things going on with the X-Men.
In this case, i can ignore the vague (and luckily unfootnoted) reference to the Academy, as i did in the Considerations for last arc. But having to do that is still a sign of how poorly the continuity of this book was managed.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: As noted above, this takes place prior to Force Works #1. And since USAgent still has his shield and refers to himself and Spider-Woman as Avengers (not former Avengers), it would seem that this should take place before Avengers West Coast #102 as well. It also takes place not long after the end of the last arc, with the "core" Secret Defenders teleporting home from their last adventure. And it takes place before Eddie Brock is split from his symbiote in Spider-Man #53.
Because i've had to push a number of Secret Defenders quite a bit back in publication time but next arc has to take place between issues of Blackwulf, i'm allowing a lot of space between this arc and the next one. The only concern is that Shadowoman and Sloriath are talking in the astral plane at the end here and the beginning of that arc, but we don't know how long Sloriath has been taunting her.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Could Angel's reference to a "new academy" preempt the actual opening of it?
Posted by: AF | April 11, 2018 3:34 PM
Possibly, but i figure it would still have to take place after the discovery of the new mutants in the Phalanx Covenant, which wouldn't help me much.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 11, 2018 3:38 PM
The USAgent threw his shield in the river in Avengers West Coast 102. He must have jumped in right after and retrieved it, since he has it here. Unfortunately, there's no other explanation, since Iron Man 301-305 feature Speedball in his original costume but take place after Avengers West Coast 102, so there's no way Child's Play takes place before Avengers West Coast 102.
Posted by: Michael | April 11, 2018 8:22 PM
Michael, can you elaborate on that a bit further? I'm not sure how the Iron Man issues and Child's Play relate back to these issues. I just want to make sure there isn't an argument for (somehow!) pushing this back prior to AWC #102.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 11, 2018 8:53 PM
My point is this- the last story mentions the Academy. That means this probably takes place after Phalanx Covenant. (Although Xavier tells Beast in X-Men 31 that Emma left him the Massachussetts Academy in her will and in X-Force 35, Banshee tells Siryn that Xavier is thinking of starting the Academy up again, so it's possible that issues 18-19 takes place after X-Force 35, or even X-Men 31-32.) But my point is this. If you want to place Secret Defenders 18-19 after Child's Play, then it takes place after Iron Man 301-305, which take place after Avengers West Coast 102.
Posted by: Michael | April 11, 2018 10:15 PM
Yeah, it is possible to place the last arc before the Phalanx--Warren's comments are as vague as possible, and one might even say the logistics of the Mass Academy has been giving Professor X the most headaches BEFORE Emma Frost woke up. So it's very easy to place before Force Works #1 on that front. (USAgent's gear might be harder to square, but considering Spider Woman's disillusionment and Walker dumping his stuff happens in the same issue, one would have to split of the events of AVC 102 itself)
Posted by: rabartlett | April 12, 2018 1:38 AM
Ok, it does seem like i can ignore the reference to the academy. I like the idea that Professor X knew about Emma Frost's will and may have already had plans to set up the academy while she was in a coma. I've pushed a number of Secret Defenders arcs up through this one back prior to Avengers West Coast #102, and i've moved Force Works #1 back so that it takes place concurrently with Avengers #370-371. Now that i'm freed from ignoring the academy, i do think this should take place prior to Avengers West Coast #102, not just Force Works #1, since USAgent has his shield and he refers to himself and Spider-Woman as "Avengers". The fact that Spider-Woman says that the East coasters have been treating "us" like dirt doesn't imply that the team has already been disbanded.
Thanks to AF, Michael, and rabartlett for helping with this.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 12, 2018 3:49 PM
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