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Defenders, The #11: Review

Dec 1973
Steve Englehart, Sal Buscema

Story Name:

A Dark And Stormy Knight

Review & Comments

5 stars

Defenders, The #11 Review by (February 15, 2010)
This issue (chapter 12) concludes the classic Defenders Vs. Avengers story arc and is a continuation from The Avengers #118 (chapters 10, and 11).

Defenders, The #11 Review by (September 16, 2013)
Valkyrie gives Black Knight back his Ebony Blade, but she keeps his winged white horse Aragorn because that's back in the 20th Century. BK's stone statue has an eventful existence. It gets broken in Avengers #157 after being animated possibly by Ultron, mended by Dr Strange in DS(1974)#35, and then broken again in DS#37 after being possessed by Ningal. Then BK himself reappears in Av#225-226. It is revealed that he occupied the body of an ancestor in the 12th Century. He now has a winged black horse Valinor and he's in Avalon. His ancestor's body dies as BK uses the Evil Eye to defend Avalon. But a spell mends his stone body in the 20th Century and turns it back to flesh, and he reoccupies it. The spell even brings the Ebony Blade and Valinor with him. The ancestor whose body he uses is named as Eobar Garrington in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition. Later there will be several tales written of BK as Garrington. One of them in Marvel Fanfare #52-54 tells how he got Valinor. There will also be several tales of Prester John and/or the Evil Eye set before FF#54, including MF#54 above. But chronologically after this appearance they go separate ways. PJ features in a series called Avataars and then in Cable&Deadpool. The Eye will crop up in Black Knight #3 and the JLA/Avengers series. Hawkeye leaves the Defenders and will feature in Marvel Team-Up #22 (with Spider-Man vs Quasimodo) and Captain America #179 (as Golden Archer helping Steve Rogers become Nomad) before rejoining the Avengers in Giant-Size Av#2. It never explains how he makes money to live during this period.

Dormammu originally tricked Dr Strange into believing the Eye could be used to restore Black Knight from his stone form. But it turns out that it *should* be able to bring back Dane Whitman's essence. However we'll never know if it would, because Prester John takes the Eye away and BK elects to remain in the Crusades. We English will know that Richard is King Richard I, the Lion-Hearted. Historically Richard *was* held captive, and his Brother John took over his rule. But it was in Europe not the Middle East, on his way back from the 3rd Crusade. Prester John was given the Eye in Avalon in the Middle Ages. Human Torch took it from him in Fantastic Four #54 but it broke into 6 pieces. The Avengers/Defenders War reformed it. Prester John says he detected the reformation, and followed the Eye back in time to this point. Ironically this is a time *before* he got it in Avalon. My younger self read this as a *real* time loop paradox, and we were now seeing John's original acquisition of the Eye. Another youthful illusion shattered!

This is chapter 12 of the Avengers/Defenders War. It's the final chapter, but is really an epilogue. The tale starts with a coda to the battle in Avengers #118, where the Avengers take mad Loki away (to another epilogue in Av#119). Dr Strange uses the Evil Eye to clear up Dormammu's mess. he also removes knowledge of the Defenders from the minds of Nick Fury and other humans present, except for the Avengers. There is a footnote explaining that Sub-Mariner isn't wearing the new uniform he donned last month in SM#67 because the AV/Def War occurs before the issues starting in SM#64 that led up to it. Namor needed the new suit, designed by Mr Fantastic, to keep him alive out of water due to an accident that befell him in that issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #11 Synopsis by John McDonagh
This story is an epilogue to the Avengers/Defenders War, and follows on from AVENGERS (1963) #118.
The Avengers appear at the beginning of the issue, and then leave for another epilogue in AVENGERS (1963) #119.

A spell cast centuries earlier by Merlin, serving to always bring opposition to Mordred in all his incarnations throughout the ages, plucked the soul of the Black Knight (Dane Whitman), whose body had gotten turned to stone, from Limbo. When Doctor Strange, who had acquired the Evil Eye and hoped to use it to cure Whitman, sought out Whitman's soul in Limbo, he could not find it. Returning to Earth, he told his fellow Defenders of his discovery, but then Merlin's spell served to propel him and his fellow Defenders (including Hawkeye) to the destination where it had sent Whitman's soul: the Crusades. Merlin's spell reincarnated Whitman in this era, and he encountered the Defenders. One of Chandu's gnomes, Temax, attacked them, but Strange teleported himself and his aides away. Informed by Whitman of Richard's condition, they all set out to infiltrate the castle in the Middle East where Richard had been imprisoned. Namor, the Hulk, and Strange set out to destroy the source of the gnomes, and deduced from the lack of sand in one passageway of the castle that this led to the source of the gnomes (since gnomes, as earth-spirits, would absorb any sand that clung to them, not scatter it). Eventually, they reached the room where Chandu, observed by Mordred and Prince John, created the gnomes. They prepared to attack Chandu, but the latter blasted Dr. Strange. However, Namor battered Chandu. A gnome then hurled itself at Namor, sending them both into an oasis nearby. The water of the oasis destroyed the gnome, due to the opposition of elements (water vs. earth). Namor then struck a blow that caused the oasis water to erupt as a tidal wave. Engulfing the castle, the water destroyed every gnome. Later, Modred and Prince John briefly had the Evil Eye, but Prester John reclaimed it.

Sal Buscema
Frank Bolle
Sal Buscema (Cover Penciler)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Clint Barton)

(Bruce Banner)


Plus: Defenders.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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