plainly and simply parasitical on the obvious or univocal reading

Monday, September 20, 2004

Defenders Fun, Continued

As I mentioned last night, I didn't see number 113 in the discount box, so I have to skip directly to number 114. Coninuing the story:

The story opens on the moon, where the entirety of the previous issue apparently took place. At some point, the Overmind lost control of the Squadron Supreme, Kyle Richmond was assassinated, and the true mastermind behind the whole operation made itself known: Null, the Living Void. About ten issues prior to this one, the Defenders defeated Null in its younger state on the regular Marvel U earth. It then wandered the world where it fought the Ghost Rider and was beaten, deciding that it was too underdeveloped to destroy all of creation, as it wanted to do. It decided that it needed to make use of a pawn to realize its goal. Null reached out mentally and contacted a kindred spirit, the Overmind. The Overmind had been banished by the Stranger to a microverse. He was contacted and released by Null, only to find that he was not in the regular Marvel universe at all, but rather the one inhabited by Earth-S. The Overmind decided that he didn't care, and would destroy the universe anyway. Working under the influence of Null, the Overmind proceeded with the plan detailed in issue 112.

Having established all that, everyone hangs out and talks to Null for a bit. Null alludes to something special about Nighthawk (the Marvel U version, not the dead one), but before it can finish its thought, the composite telepathic entity Mindy (Mindy is an old girlfriend of Kyle Richmond's who is telepathic, and is just one of several telepaths making up the composite entity. I use the name Mindy here just to make it easier) shows up and insists that the fight get started. They start to fight, and the Defenders/Squadron team gets pretty thoroughly schooled. Mindy then reveals that Null is not quite fully mature, and that it is drawing its energy from Overmind. The only way to stop it appears to be a psychic union of all the heroes. After a bit of exposition and bickering, they do all join together within Mindy, and a big fight ensues between Mindy and Null. It's positive vibes versus negative vibes, but creeping doubt threatens to dissolve the union of the heroes' minds. Meanwhile, August Masters, the man who shot Kyle Richmond (of Earth-S), is wracked with guilt and goes to where Richmond's body is. He watches in horror as richmond's face melts right away.

Mindy makes one final strike against Null, and after the impact the heroes are all in their separate forms again. They reason that since they are still alive, then Null must be as well. Null does indeed get back up, and it begins to ready for its final attack by absorbing the last of the remaining energy from Overmind. As it does so, however, it destroys itself. Everyone is super confused, until they hear Overmind speak, and recognize the patronizing tone of Mindy. It turns out that she entered Overmind's empty body, and psychically entered Null, amplifying the small shreds of positivity hidden within Null's soul, thereby destroying it.

As everyone recovers, Nighthawk wanders off to where August Masters is standing over the melting body of what he thought was Kyle Richmond. Upon seeing this, Nighthawk freaks out for a bit as he realizes that he is, in fact, the Kyle Richmond of Earth-S, and therefore is Nighthawk of the Squadron Supreme, and also President of the United States. And then it's over.

What occurs to me about these issues is that, by today's standards, they contain about twelve issues' worth of comics (maybe more). All quality considerations aside, I think that this was quite an amazing ride. It's certainly puerile trash, but if it weren't I don't think I could enjoy it as much as I do.

Incidentally, these issues were written by J.M. DeMatteis and drawn by Don Perlin.

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