Sunday, December 11, 2005

Defenders Saturday (A Day Late)

Marvel Feature Presents The Defenders #2

The title of this story is Nightmare on Bald Mountain, which references a famous piece of classical music and a segment of the Disney movie Fantasia. Here at Make me a Commentator we strive to educate as well as entertain. Within reason.

Anyway it starts with a bunch of cultists on bald mountain dancing around enthusiastically. One says gleefully, “The MASTER draws near. I can hear his TREAD – feel his Breath.” The leader replies “Than dance FASTER, brothers and sister – wake HEAVEN AND HELL with your obscene chanting.” So, one has to assume that this is a non-traditional celebration. Anyway they succeed in pulling the Dread Dormammu halfway to earth (specifically they pull his left side to earth).

Dormammu, who apparently hasn’t been attended many management seminars, makes sure his hench-cultists know that he cares nothing for them, but is rather disgusted with them. They do his bidding anyway.

Meanwhile Dr. Strange is trying to figure out what’s going on. Looking up would reveal three cultists looking down on him from his mystic skylight, so, naturally, he stares straight ahead. His mystic charms reveal the potential menace of Dormammu and, forgetting that both had said they were not interested in teaming up again, considers enlisting the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner to help him. Dr. Strange is lured in his psychic form up into the sky while the Cultists capture his physical body. Wong bursts in, prepared to use his Kung Fu to save Dr. Strange; but it turns out his style of Kung Fu (the Useless Chipmunk school) is incapable of dealing with two enemies at once. So they get away. The cultists flee.

Clea, Dr. Stranges wife, wakes up wong, and she uses the Eye of Agamatto to, well, it’s not clear really. But somehow the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner realize that Dr. Strange is in trouble, so they immediately spring into action (they have also forgotten their distaste for team-ups. Then we have a page of exposition on Bald Mountain delivered by a character we haven’t seen before to two characters we haven’t seen before (but who were in Avengers #83). To sum up – Bald Mountain is weird.

Oh and Dormammu has figured out away around his promise to never again invade earth. He'll posess Dr. Strange and invade the earth that way. I'm not exactly sure how that gets around his vow, but then I'm not the supreme ruler of another dimension.

Anyway we have a few pages of the Hulk and Sub-Mariner arriving in New York. The Sub-Mariner is seen by a woman as he flies around the city. Hulk encounters some cops and leaps over them. The Sub-Mariner is pursued by cops looking for a flying prowler (that the woman above reported). There is a super-hero convention at Bald Mountain without super-heroes (just guys in costumes). The Hulk throws some boxes at the Sub-Mariner – they charge at each other. Unfortunately, once they recognize each other, they regretfully decide not to fight.

Then Wong and Clea (wandering around allies hoping to find superheroes apparently) show up and give Namor a Suit. Then they hypnotize the Hulk to get Dr. Banner and give him some of Dr. Strange’s cast-offs. Suitably attired they set off, and are stopped by some helpful cops who warn of Hulk and Sub-Mariner. One cop helpfully explains “That FISH-MAN isn’t much, out of water – but the HULK”S a mean customer!” Sub-Mariner doesn’t like hearing that, as you might imagine.

They spend a day traveling to rescue Dr. Strange. Speed is not of an essense. They finally get there and see a giant glowing circle in the sky. They get there and fight the cultists – takes a while for Banner to transform into the Hulk, but when he does, his Hulk Logic is astounding. “Still Hulk always KNEW he was stronger than that FISH-Man. And best way to PROVE that Hulk is the strongest of all is to pick up this big ROCK and THROW it like this.” Yeah cause if there’s one thing no other Marvel Superhero can do it’s pick up a big rock and throw it.

Anyway Hulk and Sub-Mariner take out the cultists (who were not chosen for their intelligence). And we find that the Dr. Strange held his mind inside Wong until he could be brought to his body. Anyway Dr. Strange gets back into his body and takes on Dormammu and wins (in one page). The battle wrecks the mountain, and both Hulk and Namor are buried alive!! But then the Sub-Mariner crawls out, and the Hulk, using Hulk logic, gets out too. “And HULK will never die – While FISH-MAN is still alive.” They stand on the mountain in silent contemplation as the narrator says that we should hope those cultists never come back. I hope they don’t come back, because they were kind of boring villains.

The Poetry of Dr. Strange “Thus I have no choice but to throw CAUTION to the whispering winds.”

The Honesty of the Hulk “Bah! Stupid Humans make me SICK!”

The Familiarity with Clothes of the Sub-Mariner. “Namor needs no HELP to don these cumbersome garments.”

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