Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

July 10th, 2013, 6:41 pm #91

Satellite Sam #1
Received a lot of promotion, last week, as this is an "adult" story about the backstage workings of a 1950's TV show. Lots of f-bombs are dropped, just for the sake of using them. A murder mystery unfolds, as this book REALLY wants to be Watchmen or Mad Men... or else hoping it'll make enough buzz to get a (gasp) TV or Movie Producer interested.

This is a tough medium to pitch this in, though. Not too much attention is given to the actual show of "Satellite Sam", which might've made it more relatable, especially for Comic Readers who indulge in sci-fi crap. There's a big to-do about replacing a lightbulb, which doesn't actually engage the reader.

Whatever. I'm sure some geek with a blog is jizzing his pants over this and proclaiming it "the most interesting thing on the market now", since it's Howard Chaykin and Matt Fraction.
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Erick Von Erich
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July 10th, 2013, 9:54 pm #92

Defenders #124
The Founding Members hear from the Tribunal about how they'll destroy the world. The Tribunal shows them an alternate reality where everything unfolds, as it begins with Dr. Strange investigating, then being abducted by aliens. He sends out a call to Namor, Silver Surfer and Hulk, who arrive and begin attacking the ship.

It's RETCON time, as they tie-in the random people whom the ELF killed all those years ago. here, they are all tied into a machine powering the aliens' ship. It's specified that the original Elf was sent back to zap these people with a "time displacement ray", so they wouldn't be involved in this. It turns out their eliminations had no effect, so they were simply returned to where they came from, with no memory of the Elf's attack. With the help of the Elves, it's determined that the only way to avoid this pending disaster is to get rid of the Defenders.

It's also specified that the Tribunal disguised themselves as a government agency to get Buzz Baxter, Mutant Force and Jack Norriss to "testify" against the Defenders, circa issue 85. ALl part of their information gathering. Luann Bloom is also deactivated and written-out.

Elsewhere, the Beast wants to start up a posse to go n' get the Secret Empire. He's upset when the Vision and Scarlet Witch refuse to participate.

The cover has Beast, Iceman, Valkyrie and...the Angel, who has yet to appear in the book. They jumped the gun and ruined any mystery over his arrival and where the Defenders are going as a team.
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Erick Von Erich
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July 12th, 2013, 5:58 pm #93

Defenders #125
The Tribunal's playback continues. The aliens that abducted Strange turned out to be religious hippies from another world (in a very vague allegory to Jesus). Rather than fight the Defenders, they committed mass suicide. The main hippie was the son of an alien king. Couple hundred years later, a new regime wanted to eradicate all mention of the hippie son, which included Earth. Gas was dropped, killing all life on Earth.

Dr. Strange probes the Tribunal and finds out that they're "anti-bodies" of the timestream, correcting diseases. The Defenders protest, saying that they'll find a way to stop the aliens, but in the end Strange realizes that the collective "bad karma" of the original four will someway lead to disaster. If not this particular disaster, then another. Strange agrees that it's best to disband. Somewhat relevant, because in the first 10 issues or so, it was just all 4 screwing things up and getting into bigger jams.

Back on Earth, Angel arrives to hang out with his old X-men buddies. Moondragon also arrives, under the care of Valkyrie to "learn how to humbly live among humanity".

Hellstrom and Hellcat get married in Ohio. Right on cue, the Mutant Force and Mad-Dog (her ex-husband Buzz Baxter) arrive for the Obligatory Superhero Wedding Brawl. The "new" Defenders are all in attendance and fight them off. Beast likes the way they operate and they officially decide to work as a "real" team. Dr. Strange and friends are late arrivals, but give the new team their blessing and fly off.

So the new team is:
-Beast
-Angel
-Iceman
-Valkyrie
-Gargoyle
-Moondragon

Kinda' sad to see Strange go. If you were to break it down, he's probably the nicest and most helpful "superhero" in Marvel. Everybody goes to him for help and he always responds. He's also the only guy who really took the time to understand the Hulk and make him his "friend". This ends Strange's association in the original Defenders, but my opinion of his character has improved since I began re-reading all these.

The Tribunal was never fully seen. They were just there to serve a purpose, plot-wise. I'm surprised they were never tied into the "Time Variance Authority" of the late 80's. They were eventually rebuked by Strange, sometime in the early 90's. Then again when the Defenders re-grouped in 2001.

New Defenders #126
The new team is called into SHIELD to deliver Mad-Dog and Mutant Force into custody. Turns out, they were also backed by Secret Empire. Cloud, Seraph and Harridan were allowed to escape, which means there's an Empire leak in SHIELD.

A random SHIELD techie is turned into a monster called "Leviathan" and wrecks havoc in Manhattan. With creative dialogue like "yum-yum! Eat 'em up!" (a callback to "Our Gang" serials). The new team puts him down, but Mad-Dog and the Mutant Force also escaped.

Angel and Iceman both have the hots for Moondragon. Beast and Val continue to argue over who should lead, but it's actually Angel who directs the action against Leviathan. In a slip-up, Iceman says that Beast was a valued member of the Avengers and Champions. Yet Beast was never a Champion.

Also interesting that SHIELD is using their old mid-Manhattan base and not the Helicarrier (I think it was destroyed in what would be the first of a thousand times, sometime in the late 70's). It's also interesting that I think this is Nick Fury's first appearance in "Defenders". He's usually the ultimate crossover whore; even more so than Spider-Man or Wolverine.

Notable that JM DeMatteis is still the writer through this transition stuff. He took over circa issue 92 and still has a ways to go. No clue whose idea the "New Defenders" was, though.
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Erick Von Erich
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July 18th, 2013, 10:11 pm #94

New Defenders #127
Moondragon's meditation is interrupted by Cloud, who is now on the run from the Secret Empire. The Defenders take out two of the Empire's robots, but then 5 more arrive to capture Cloud and take out the Defenders. The new boss of the empire is revealed....it's Professor Power, complete with flashbacks from Marvel Team-Up.

Also, the X-X-men visit Iceman's parents and there's 2-3 pages of self-indulgent Assistant Editor's Month crap that has nothing to do with the story. Marvel seemed to go a little crazy with the "yuk yuk, let's make fun of our staff" in-jokes in the 80's.
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Mad Dog
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July 19th, 2013, 12:36 am #95

I'm thinking about hitting Avengers West Coast again. What say you the E?
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Erick Von Erich
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July 19th, 2013, 3:14 pm #96

"West Coast Avengers" was kinda' fun for the original mini-series, then the first 25 issues or so. There's a whole mess with Tigra, circa issues 3-8, that was pretty forgettable.

They go on a crazy time-traveling adventure, circa issue 15, which lasts for about a year. It has enough twists, turns and quirks that it's entertaining.

The title lost a lot when it became "Avengers West Coast" and John Byrne took over. Hawkeye and Mockingbird were also reduced to occasional guest stars. The team dynamic seemed to take a backseat then and it was just a random collection of Avengers leftovers. While Scarlet Witch and Vision are huge Avengers icons, they seemed out-of-place with the vibe the West Coast team had established. The team was always a secondary collection of Avengers, but it became a secondary, half-assed, Avengers at that point. Any issue with US Agent in it-- a sure sign to avoid.

Byrne left the book after about 10 issues. He seemed to force in a lot of plotlines... which were all brushed away and everything seemed like a waste of time. The book seemed to ramble on for the remaining 60 issues or so. When it died in 1993 (along with Mockingbird), nobody cared.

So you're looking at about 25 issues of decent reading, out of 103.

Defenders #128
For no real reason, Angel moves the team to his "Aerie" in New Mexico. The team goes after Professor Power and the Secret Empire, but gets a Savage Beatdown again. Harridan, Seraph, Mad-Dog, the Mutant Force and even Leviathan are all working for Power. Power slaps restraining harnesses on the Defenders and wants to use them in his revenge plan against Professor Xavier.

Only a few issues in and the new team is looking a bunch of weaklings. The reunion of Angel, Beast and Iceman, all together on the same team again, is the only real appeal. I guess you could say this really planted the seeds for the original "X-Factor".
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Erick Von Erich
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July 22nd, 2013, 10:30 pm #97

New Defenders #129-130
In a bit of a bait-n-switch for about 7 pages, it looks like the Defenders are attacking the New Mutants. But it's all a simulation, as the Defenders are still in captivity and being programmed by Professor Power. Moondragon helps everybody escape, along with Seraph who's revealed to be working for the Russian equivalent of SHIELD. Prof Power launches a missile to start WWIII, but Valkyrie and Moondragon blow it up. They easily mop up Mad Dog, the Mutant Force and the Secret Empire, mostly off-panel. Cloud unofficially joins the team, as well.

The team returns home, where Power himself is waiting for them. Moondragon's the catalyst again and she brain-blasts Power. Beast then gets the news that the team has gotten government clearance from SHIELD and that they're now official. Candy Southern (Angel's girlfriend) and Dolly Donahue (Hellcat's housekeeper) have also moved into the Aerie.

Also realized that Over-Mind has been completely forgotten since issue 122, with no mention or explanation where he's been. He was out at dinner with the team, then poof. I think the writing team just forgot about him. Someone cooked up a story about Over-Mind about 5 years later, in the pages of "Marvel Comics Presents". He wouldn't have worked in the new team, since they seem insistent on Moondragon as their psychic/mental zapper person. They're also really pushing this issue that Angel and Iceman think she's the hottest thing around.
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Mad Dog
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July 23rd, 2013, 12:21 am #98

I bought a real domain for my Marvel site:

Mighty Marvel Reader

Defenders #3-4:

E went over this in last year's post. Dr. Strange, Namor, Hulk and the Silver Surfer battle the Nameless One in issue 3. And then battle the Excutioner in issue 4. The Enchantress creates Valkryie in the process of it all.

West Coast Avengers #1:

The limited series. The Vision calls on Tigra, Iron Man (Rhodey) and Wonder Man to join up with Hawkeye and Mockingbird. They immediately run into the Shroud. He ends up being a good guy that was hired by Jessica Drew to look after Tigra. He turns down membership on the team because he's been working his way into the underworld.

Good start to this offshoot team. I know it goes downhill quickly but I'm going to enjoy the ride while it lasts.
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Mad Dog
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July 23rd, 2013, 1:25 am #99

West Coast Avengers #2:

They run afoul of the Blank in this issue. Tigra feels she doesn't belong and is out of her league. WM is proving to be difficult to work with. Graviton shows up at the end of the issue.
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Erick Von Erich
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July 23rd, 2013, 3:22 pm #100

"West Coast Avengers" could be in my "Comics I Haven't Read in 25 Years" bin. If nothing else, it'll be good for nostalgia and Hawkeye was one of my favorites back then. I'm sure I forgot a lot of stuff.

New Defenders #131
Beast gets a speaking engagement at Brooklyn University to speak about "super-heroing". I don't even think the word "mutant" has been mentioned in this book. Iceman and Angel are in tow, when the comic relief villain The Walrus busts in ("the proportionate strength of a walrus"). Frog-Man shows up, wanting to join the Defenders.

Walrus takes out the Defenders, but his power fades just as Frog-Man attacks. Frog-Man looks like the hero and the public pressures the Defenders to let him join. Just as they're about to agree, Frog-Man's dad arrives and takes him home.

Beast's career as a college speaker takes a hit, as the Brooklyn professor is pissed and blacklists him amongst other colleges. You could spin this and say it's the first step from Beast being a big celebrity to something of an outcast.

Think this is the final issue for JM DeMatteis. Total throw-away goofball issue, but it would've fit in with the book circa issue 35-75.

I'm really going to push and try to finish these up. It's been almost a year of re-reading "Defenders". It has prevented me from buying random, modern issues, so that's good.
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