CoverDefenders #1, Volume 2
Published by Marvel Comics
March, 2001
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"Once More, The End of the World..."

Writers: Kurt Busiek & Erik Larsen
Penciller: Erik Larsen
Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Gregory Wright w/ Color Arts
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak
Editor In Chief: Joe Quesada

Original Price: $2.99

History Behind Issue: The Defenders unite together again after years apart with a brand new series.

Plot: It begins with an explanation of a team of super heroes – Dr. Strange, Hulk, Namor, and Silver Surfer – that once fought with their enemies and each other, but that their grouping ended.  However, nothing ends forever.

The present story begins in San Francisco, where Patsy Walker (Hellcat) helps a homeless man that no one else helps.  While taking him to get something to eat, he mentions that he must reach “mother,” but he does not mean his mother.

Three weeks later, aliens are attacking Washington, D.C.  The sky was clear and then they simply appeared.  Dr. Bruce Banner happens to be in Washington, D.C. and recognizes them as “Toad Men” in which he had come across in the past as the Hulk.  The pressure of the situation causes him to transform into the Hulk once more.  As he smashes into one of the ships, one of the Toad Men explains that they somehow simply showed up from nowhere.

Elsewhere, monsters called Borders from the Negative Zone have invaded New York City, but Dr. Strange tells Wong the other heroes should attend to it until he detects a mystic threat.  He soon finds Night-Crawler, who is angry and believes Dr. Strange is the reason he had suddenly appeared there.

In Atlantis, Namor finds stone beings who are from Dormammu’s Dark Dimension attacking the Royal Guard.  In Hawaii, Silver Surfer is pleading with Alicia Masters, his love, to come with him to space, but she refuses.  Finally, he is attacked by Quasimodo, who is unsure how he came to be there.

We learn that the bum who Hellcat saved is the cause of these problems.  He is much better groomed now and living at Point Promontory, Maine.  With a twitch of a hand, he is causing one past threat to revisit heroes they once fought.  Inside his light house, he has her trapped up.  But she manages to get loose.  Oddly, where she materializes her costume, it is her old one.  But as she escapes she finds a large woman bound and trapped.

Back in New York, Kyle Richmond, head of Richmond Enterprises and alter ego of Nighthawk, managed to escape from the monsters’ harm and receives questions from reporters because of it.  He is called by Hellcat, who asks him to call the Avengers for her.  But the Avengers were currently busy, so he has his mystic advisor, Papa Hagg, bring the four original Defenders together.  Silver Surfer, Namor, Dr. Strange, and the Hulk all arrived, unsure how they got there and unhappy to be brought together.  The four begin to battle over the frustrations, until Hellcat explains the situation to them.  The villain then shows himself as Yandroth, of an old Defenders story, and we learn he is using Gaua and her power to bring countless menaces to Earth.  He then calls upon the Ravagers of the World to finish the Defenders, who he claims have the power to destroy the world.  The Defenders are easily being defeated, until Dr. Strange realizes that the spell that powered them depended on the four creatures to come together, so they only needed to team up against one.  They do so, causing all of them to be defeated when they defeated one.

Yandroth, meanwhile, was weakened, but before dying, he realized that they hated each other and so he placed a curse on them all.  Gaea, meanwhile, was saved.  All of the Defenders then depart each other’s company in bitterness, while Dr. Strange and Papa Hagg believe there is much to this curse.

Comments: The story was good and interesting.  However, I did not like the characteristics of the Silver Surfer and others very well.  The Silver Surfer seemed very bitter and more discontent than usual, as the battle somehow made him heartsick and wanting him to soar alone, away from cities and presumably Alicia Masters.  However, there was very little leading up to this recently, making it seem uncharacteristic (much more like his Volume 1 days than of recent years).  It will be interesting to see how he and his power is portrayed in future issues.  The art over all was not bad at all, though not completely spectacular.  Still, it is good to see the Surfer again, but too early to tell how much I will enjoy him in this title.

Written by James (Marvelite) Pedrick


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