plainly and simply parasitical on the obvious or univocal reading

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Some Great Finds

Half Price Books has been having a sale for the past few days. Books are 20% off of the already reduced prices. I had hoped to find some remaindered or used Marvel Essentials titles, but no luck. I did find a copy of Jason Lutes' Jar of Fools, so I expect that I'll have a review of that up here soon. A few years behind the curve, certainly, but I won't let that stop me.

Speaking of a few years behind the curve, I also unearthed, in the 10-cent boxes, a couple old issues of Defenders from the early 80's. These issues were definitely the gems of my excursion. The numbers were 112 and 114. 113 was missing, but largely irrelevant as its details were woven as seamlessly as a Frankensteinian limb into the narrative of 114, likely at the behest of then-EIC Jim Shooter. Man, what a ride. I will believe a Void can live!!!

The gist, if I may:

There is a party at the Brownstone where the Defenders dwell. It takes place in the evening, although the establishing shot is of a daytime scene. Even though the team members are just hanging out, they are in full costume. You don't see that kind of preparedness in today's superhero.

Some team members are there, others aren't. In addition, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch have turned up for the party, and to muse on love. This is their conversation on page 2, panel 4:

Scarlet Witch: I'm so happy Hank invited us for dinner. I've missed him since we left the Avengers--haven't you, Vision?

Vision: I have felt a sense of loss, Wanda. But with you beside me, I am always...complete.

Silver Surfer, standing beside them: To be near two so deep in love--makes me feel complete as well.

With all this completeness, it's a wonder someone brings up the fact that Dr. Banner, Daimon Hellstrom, Prince Namor and Dr. Strange are all missing, but thankfully Gargoyle's on the job--after having forgotten for a second. After a bit Dr. Strange astrally crashes the party from a different dimension, and before anyone can object he magically transports them to the world that they will soon come to realize is...Earth-S! And everyone is there... including Nighthawk, who they thought was dead. Once everyone is done freaking out for a second they go to another room and see Hyperion, the Superman analogue of the Squadron Supreme. Then they freak out some more. They watch a tape to get up to speed on the world-threatening danger, as high above the planet a bunch of telepaths merge their consciences into somebody called Mindy. I think. Anyway, Hyperion explains that his world's version of Nighthawk is the President and he has come under the control of a particulary nihilistic alien composite being called the Overmind. Together they manufactured a red scare, because this is a parallel universe where things like that happen, and then proceeded to beat down and subvert the wills of the whole Squadron Supreme except for Hyperion, who flees to the planet only to find that his name has been smeared and his fortress has been razed. Drag. So he flies into space, but the upper atmosphere is being bombarded with argonite radiation. He has to smash the Squadron's headquarters to shield himself, then he uses their equipment to send a distress signal to the regular Marvel earth (616, I think the kids are calling it). In the process Nighthawk, Hellstrom, Namor, Hulk and Dr. Strange were pulled to Earth-S, where they could nurse the helplessly irradiated Hyperion back to health.

Once everyone's up to speed, Hyperion makes the final reveal that the Overmind and the mind-controlled Squadron are on the moon building rockets to be employed to take over the universe. The Defenders are clearly glad to have been partying in-costume.

That's all I have time for tonight. I'll do issue 114 and a general assesment of the storyline tomorrow.

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