DEFENDERS #15-16 (1974): Magneto becomes a baby

The fact that this is not a Steve Englehart joint is bizarre, but Len Wein is doing a great job at balancing traditional superheroics against the crazy shtick that usually beats every Defender to a pulp.

The story begins with what I believe is a slap at Batman, as Nighthawk shows off his new jet-pack and explains how silly it is to have a Hawk (Bat)-Plane. He then talks to his butler, “Pennysworth,” and instructs him to use some of his secret identity money to help Valkyrie find out more about the person, Barbara Norris, whose body she’s inhabiting.

I love this–it’s always fun to see the big two publishers taking shots at each other, and it’s also a good way to begin to transition the character out of just being the anti-Batman and into a fully developed character on his own.

Suddenly, the team is interrupted by a psychic projection of Professor X, who is seeking support against the latest iteration of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants–Lorelei, Blob, Unus, Mastermind, etc.

There’s a nice sequence where Dr. Strange’s mystic powers prove useless against Mastermind, who doesn’t create actual mystic monsters-he just makes Strange think that he’s fighting demons.  Very cool.  Strange learns from his mistake, too, and gets better at fighting Mastermind later in the story.

And Mastermind isn’t the only one with brain powers…

Magneto learned how to control minds from a book.

Professor X breaks the spell with the power of electricity.

The heroes recover.

And then it’s time for a face off.

Unus gets inappropriate during the battle.

Before he can be defeated, Magneto goes to the U.N., like Namor has also done so many times, and demands respect…

This is entirely unnecessary, and begs the question why only the Defenders and X-Men are taking him on.  You’d think with a high profile move like that, everyone would join the battle.

The heroes show up for a rematch, and Magneto deploys his latest mutate creation, Alpha.

But Alpha’s not having it.

Alpha mutates into something Godlike, and decides he doesn’t like Magneto’s attitude so he turns the Brotherhood into babies.

And that’s where they’re left.

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