Defenders (Vol. 2) #9

Background

Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer & The Incredible Hulk... Four Heroes cursed by a dying enemy to band together whenever the Earth is threatened. For those small threats, Dr. Strange relies on some originals: Hellcat, Nighthawk and Valkyrie. These are the Defenders!

With the rest of the Defenders gone, whisked away into space by the curse, what happens when Nighthawk, Valkyrie, and Hellcat encounter the awesome power of Orrgo on their own? And just who is behind all this? None other than M.O.D.O.K. and the Headmen!

Story 'While You Were Out...'

  Defenders (Vol. 2) #9
Summary: Spider-Man Cameo
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Writer: Erik Larsen, Kurt Busiek
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inker: Scott Hanna

We start off with a brief description of the legend of Orrgo, and with the help of Chondu and a few artifacts, the Headmen (Arguing amongst themselves) search for the body of the ancient alien. Believing to be at the correct location, they combine a restored jewel with a stone statue, and a tremendous hand reaches up from a long, forgotten burial place... Orrgo awakens!

We cut to Nighthawk dropping in on Patsy and Val at their new residence, as the two girls are busy unpacking. Some nice dialogue is exchanged, providing us with a small glimpse into the real-life side of our heroes. In the meantime, we see a poor museum historian named Irwin just getting home, he is about to enjoy his chinese take-out when there is a knock at the door. Irwin opens his door only to be greeted by a gun! BLAM! Yep.. he gets shot.

Cut back to the 3 Defenders now in plain clothes strolling down the street, and all is normal until Patsy is recognized by many of her fans. Val seems lost in her own little world, trying to remember something as the area she is in seems familiar to her. While Patsy is busy signing autographs, a man attempts to assassinate her by taking advantage of the distraction, he fails, as she makes the immediate transformation into Hellcat and knocks him down. But we soon find out the gunman is not alone and signals for his backup... A.I.M. goons, no less. Valkyrie joins in the battle with Hellcat while Kyle ducks out to find a place to change into Nighthawk. (Must be a real drag sometimes to be one of the Superheroes that actually has to CHANGE clothes) In as soon as all 3 Defenders make the scene to do battle, they are caught in a force field and taken skyward to a hovering ship and there they confront M.O.D.O.K.

We learn from M.O.D.O.K. that the reason the Defenders have been targeted for elimination is that they are the last remaining people alive to have come into contact with a certain 'artifact'. (Now we know why Irwin bit a bullet) Hellcat recognizes the stolen statue just as the Headmen report back with news of their mission success... that they have resurrected Orrgo!

Valkyrie breaks free and freeing her teammates, they escape the ship to do battle with Orrgo, only they are no match for his power and are easily cast aside. (I had to wonder how easily M.O.D.O.K. captured them, but yet he couldn't keep a hold of them) Orrgo melts buildings, turns police cars into giant lizards, and more... we see the FF, Spider-Man and Thor try to save the day but are immediately transformed into things only Orrgo can imagine. Orrgo reaches out farther with his power and levitates entire cities, causes earthquakes, eruptions, and widespread fires all across the globe. And when the people of the world come to know fear they are vulnerable, and Orrgo strikes, placing every soul on Earth under his mental control. Everyone that is except Hellcat, Nighthawk, and Valkyrie.

We discover the reason is they have touched the stone idol previously, and conclude that they are immune to Orrgo's control, and when they receive a 'mental' inquiry from Dr. Strange who asks what is going on, Hellcat tells him the Headmen have taken over the world!

General Comments

Okay, as you can see, this is not a Spider-Man story. Spider-Man makes a one page cameo so don't expect to see a whole lot of him in this issue. This entire plot seems almost like it came from the 50's... but the writing is quite passable and makes the story somewhat more acceptable. The entire narrative is told from Patsy's (Hellcat) view, which I happen to like, as if we are sitting around her living room and she is telling us the story. Ron Frenz and Scott Hanna do the usual good job with the artwork, nothing spectacular, but I would have to say about the average.

In all, about the only problem I have with this issue is the plot, not the writing, and I suppose you wonder why? Well, its basically a big space alien destroying and conquering the entire world inside of a few minutes! Even Galactus wasn't that fast! If you want to make a villain this unstoppable and cause this much destruction... perhaps play it out a little more than 5 pages, but that's only my opinion.

At any rate, I do know how this storyline wraps up in the next issue... and lets just say that the solution isn't the most original.

Overall Rating

The saving graces of this issue are Patsy's narrative, and the artwork... because it sure isn't the plot! Don't get me wrong, any plot has potential, I just think this one needed a bit more work. It seemed to change speed dramatically near the end, almost as if it was rushed to end the issue with that particular cliffhanger. Remember I am a Spider-Man fan, not a Defenders freak, and that's why I picked this book up... yep, for that one page cameo.