THE DEFENDERS #12 (1974): 1st Dragonfang!

So at the end of last issue, the team members each going their separate ways after having concluded the multi-issue event, The Avengers-Defenders War.”  Apparently, not only did the team break up, but so did Steve Englehart.  With this issue, he turns the book over to Len Wein.  What a way to give a team book to someone: Break up the team first!

So Len starts the fun off by having Dr. Strange give Valkyrie a gift of a new, magical sword: Dragonfang.  While this is an obvious attempt to make this Norse demigoddess more like Thor, who has a hammer with a special name, it’s still pretty cool.  She thanks him by saying she’s quitting the team.  Her reason?  Because she occupies the body of demonic rape victim Barbara Norris, which makes Val not know who is the real person in the body.

I’m not sure why that means she has to leave The Defenders, though.  It seems she could try to commune with her inner mortal just as easily from the Sanctum Sanctorum.  Better, actually, because Strange could help her.

Before she leaves, the two of them go help Hulk fight Xemnu the Titan, from the groups’ old Marvel Feature days.

They win, and end being buddies but Dr. Strange is kind of dickish about it…

He sounds an awful lot like Reed Richards there.  Come to think of it, he looks like Reed, too.  And Len Wein wrote Fantastic Four.

Hm.

This issue is fine, but it lacks the weirdness and wildness of Englehart.  I miss him already.  But there’s a bit of very nice foreshadowing…

That mystery man is none other than Kyle Richmond, also known as the Squadron Sinister, who who is coming to Strange for help in defeating Marvel’s evil Justice League.  This is my favorite aspect of Wein’s run, and I’m excited for the next several issues.

Creators: Len Wein and Sal Buscema
Grade: C+

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