DEFENDERS #9-10 (2001)

Recently, The Defenders went out to space to track down Silver Surfer. They return to Earth and find The Headmen have taken over the world.

Through flashbacks, we see how the bad guys allied with an old Jack Kirby creation, Orrgo The Unconquerable, using the artifact they stole from a museum several issues ago.

We also learn that the assassinations of seemingly random people (which I had hoped would have been at the hands of a new Elf with a Gun) were actually by A.I.M. This is a rare instance of A.I.M. venturing into individual homicides rather than a big battle or global scheme. I don’t recall them ever doing that. And they’re only doing that because tThe Headmen’s gem, which is controlling Orrgo, can also save MODOK from his imprisonment in another dimension.

Of course The Defenders stop all this nonsense. And, given the overall quality of this series, it’s a great story. I mean, I think this overall idea: Using an historical character from pre-Marvel Universe monster comics as the central feature for a book about a team that never wants to be a team, who left Earth to find someone who was supposed to be in that non-team, and while they were gone, Earth suffered. I mean, it’s fantastic.

It’s also the little touches, like how The Headmen use their awesome Orrgo power simply to avenge petty slights from their own childhoods, or how Hellcat is a bestselling author who gets mobbed by fans a lot. Or the army of villains under Orrgo’s mind control…

In once scene, Venom tries to eat Namor’s head.

When it’s all over, the team finally says that they now have time to help Namor with his Atlantis problem–which he’s been trying to solve since the very start of this comic. They just have to learn to act as a team and they can do it!

If you don’t like this book, you just don’t like superhero comics.

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