Characters Appearing: Captain America, Dr. Strange, Melinda Morrison, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Xandu
Secret Defenders #6-8
Issue(s): Secret Defenders #6, Secret Defenders #7, Secret Defenders #8
...and then Xandu tries to take over the Death dimension and Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, and usually Scarlet Witch stop them. So nine years between versions of that story was just fine, enough time for regular readers to cycle out of their comic reading habits, leaving only obsessives like me to pull their hair out. But apparently Roy Thomas noted that cycle and decided to break it. Say, why not do a Xandu/Melinda Morrison story every year?! And what we used to do in one issue, i bet we can stretch out to three this time!
The best part is right in the beginning. In Xandu's last appearance, Dr. Strange said that he was going to "find a place" for Xandu to recover from the emotional wounds of losing Melinda again. And that translates to Strange having dumped him into an asylum, where he's held in an empty rubber room in a straightjacket.
Oh Captain America is in this story to. He does literally nothing in the first part of the story, and it's even worse in the second. Xandu's scheme this time involves bringing the Death dimension to Earth, which results in the dead coming back to life. This theoretically gives Captain America something to do, since he doesn't go with Strange, Scarlet Witch, and Spider-Man to the Death dimension. So he should be able to stay home and fight zombies. But in issue #7 all he gets to do is stare at them.
For what it's worth, Captain America wasn't supposed to be part of the Secret Defenders. Dr. Strange drew Ghost Rider's card. But Strange was unable to recruit Ghost Rider ("Something about Midnight Sons business"). So that's why Cap doesn't go with the others to the Death dimension.
Cap does get to do a little more in issue #8 when Dr. Strange teleports Melinda to Cap on Earth, causing Xandu to follow. And that's when Cap reveals his little-known super-speed powers.
This story ends with Melinda Morrison fully committing to be the ruler of the Death dimension (last time she just kind of hung out there). And this is her last appearance. It's also Xandu's last outside of a silly appearance in Punisher War Journal where he's killed by the Punisher while he's at Stilt-Man's funeral.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Fitting in some Dr. Strange appearances after Doctor Strange #50 and before Infinity Crusade. Regarding Ghost Rider and the "Something about Midnight Sons business" line from Dr. Strange, i'm not taking it as a behind-the-scenes Ghost Rider appearance where Ghost Rider actually said that he can't come because of Midnight Sons business. I'm assuming that Strange read some mystic signs indicating that. I'm also assuming that the "Midnight Sons business" doesn't have to refer to anything specific. By publication date, the Midnight Massacre crossover was happening, so this was probably meant to be a reference to that. But there's no footnote, and technically anything Ghost Rider does is Midnight Sons business. Right now the way things are falling in my project this will line up near Midnight Sons Unlimited #1, where Ghost Rider is teamed-up with Johnny Blaze and they find a Darkhold page. So that definitely counts as "Midnight Sons business". But even if my placement changes, i don't think i'll worry about it. Roy Thomas is not shy about making reference to other books, so if he deliberately kept it vague that works for me.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
We have come a long way from early Doctor Strange, who was not so much a spellcaster as an expert on things mystical.
This version of Doc does not seem to even have much of an idea of what or who guides his Tarot cards. It is not at all a good use of the character. Worse still, it is uninteresting as well.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | October 31, 2016 8:15 PM
The D ratings for this series are kind of unfair.... to all the other D ratings on this site. I think this series would warrant sth worse than D.
Posted by: Multiple Manu | January 3, 2018 8:42 AM
Just wait 'til you get to the Brevoort issues where they get upgraded to a C-...
Posted by: AF | January 3, 2018 10:18 AM
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