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!
Last issue, Orrgo had taken over the world under the direction and control of the Headmen. Just when you think all hope is lost, it appears the curse finally takes effect and blasts the Defenders back to Earth. Might we see some action? Most likely. Will it be any good? Read on and see...
Little bit of history here as the story opens up. The narrative is now being told by M.O.D.O.K. and he explains how he got to be where he is now. With the injection of something called Psychogenic Expander, using his mind Chondu opens up some other realm and out drops M.O.D.O.K. Now we know why bighead was helping out the Headmen last ish, seems he owed them a favor.
Although last issue this was unclear, it seemed to me that M.O.D.O.K. was running the show, as the Headmen would report back to him. In this issue, it appears to be the other way around. M.O.D.O.K. is basically 'following' the Headmen's lead, watching and assisting.
At any rate, the Defenders pop into view, and after Hellcat and Nighthawk brief them on what happened, we get the usual bickering among the four loners. Although the argument is short, I can tell without having read issues #1-8 that this dialogue happens all the time and it's already old. Namor whining about Atlantis, and Hulk calling everyone stupid. That's a twist... (Yeah, right)
Dr. Strange sort of 'homes in' on the Eldritch Power that protects the other three Defenders from Orrgo's control and extends it to everyone. Meanwhile, each of the Headmen are abusing their newfound authority in their own special way, such as Jerrold Morgan shrinking all his high school bullies and feeding them to miniature dinosaurs. (WHO thought this up??) At least Chondu is looking for a body...
Small speech by M.O.D.O.K. on his own plans, and then the Defenders finally show up. M.O.D.O.K. decides to let the Headmen handle this all on thier own. Using Orrgo, the Headmen create an army of Supervillains to appear and the slugfest begins. Back at headquarters (No pun intended) we get some more bickering amongst the Headmen themselves. What I thought was funny was when Ruby asked why Nagan didn't just command Orrgo to erase the Defenders out of existence... Although this title might be 'headed' that way. (Pun intended)
Battle scenes galore, Dr. Strange gets whacked by Creel's (Absorbing Man) wrecking ball, a shot that should have taken his head clean off, but didn't. After a few panels Silver Surfer calls out to Dr. Strange, but also takes a shot from Creel's wrecking ball. This poses a question...
Silver Surfer: Power Cosmic.
Dr. Strange: Power Mystic.
Since when did Dr. Strange become tough enough to take a hit that would knock Silver Surfer down, or when did Silver Surfer become such a wuss?
During the fighting, Hellcat, Nighthawk and Valkyrie sneaked into the base and Nighthawk manages to steal the stone idol. Nighthawk then commands Orrgo to freeze the air around the Headmen and all the villains outside, immediately stopping the fighting. Hulk punches the Abomination anyway.
Being the big brain he is, Dr. Strange takes the idol and commands Orrgo to undo all the damage he caused and restore all that was transformed. (I wonder then if those high-school bullies are still being digested in mini dino-tummies?) As you can see, since Orrgo kicked the entire world's butt, only he could fix it. So we see a small shot of Spider-Man along with other heroes normal again, and thats the extent of Spider-Man's involvement.
The Defenders then discuss what they might do with Orrgo... a world without evil, fear, or hatred... hey, maybe even lift that annoying curse that binds them together to bicker every month. But it's not meant to be as Hellcat knocks the statue out of the Doc's hands and it breaks on the ground, something about taking away independent thought... Too bad she didn't use some of that herself. (Way to go Hellcat, ya spaz) because then Orrgo now has his own free will back.
Orrgo bellows out that he is offended, and threatens to devastate the planet when Hellcat cuts him off. She reminds Orrgo that him and his kind have been defeated before, and asks if he wants another go at it. (Are you CRAZY woman!?) The Defenders then become galactically lucky, as Orrgo now has second thoughts and takes off.
WHAT?? I find it hard to believe that someone as cheesed as Orrgo would just tuck tail and leave. Whatever. Anyway, I am beginning to think the Defenders title is more of a funnybook than the usual team book, say the Avengers for example. I have no idea what to say about this issue... Except that Namor whined WAY too much about Atlantis, and Hulk was just... Well try to imagine the way Cookie Monster from Sesame Street talks, and insert the word 'smash' instead of 'cookie'.
No generous portions of Spidey in this one, just a small one-panel cameo.
I suppose if I had read this series from the start, I might give this issue a better rating... maybe.