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Defenders, The #9: Review

Oct 1973
Steve Englehart, Sal Buscema

Story Name:

Divide And Conquer

Review & Comments

3 stars

Defenders, The #9 Review by (February 15, 2010)
Hawkeye and Iron Man initially met in battle in TALES OF SUSPENSE #57 and #64. This issue continues the classic Defenders Vs. Avengers story arc (chapters 4, 5, and 6). The previous two chapters (2 and 3) can be found in Avengers #116.

Defenders, The #9 Review by (September 9, 2013)
Dr Strange had been guarding BK's statue until the 1st Defender (SS) returned from his quest. Now he leaves SS with the stone statue and goes to the final site in Indiana. In chap 6 Black Panther and Mantis have been searching in vain for the Eye, until T'Challa spots the glow from a spell Strange uses to locate it. Strange gets the artefact but Panther tracks him though a cornfield to a bus queue. (On seeing the Panther one of the queue remarks that he thought the 'local' cat-person in Chicago was a woman. He refers to the Cat who's had her own series and hasn't yet been transformed to Tigra.) Mantis detects that Strange has magically disguised himself in the queue. Strange flies off but Panther follows him on foot and confronts him at a farm. The farmer shoots at these strange men fighting in his back yard, but Mantis pushes them out of the way and then disarms the farmer. After a brief martial arts exchange between Mantis and Strange, the good doctor uses a spell to temporarily disable them. And then he flies of with the fragment. Score do far Defenders 3, Avengers 0.

In chap 5 Hawkeye makes a pass at Valkyrie - he's still smarting from being rejected by Scarlet Witch and Black Widow. The human side of Val doesn't mind, but the Enchantress-influenced side reacts violently. That Enchantress side also hates the Avengers, and Hawkeye's recent disagreements with them make him suspect them as well. Iron Man finds the fragment of the Evil Eye being studied at the local University. He theorises that the fragments are meant to nest inside each other. Hawkeye steals it with a grapple arrow, thus initiating a fight between men who began as foes before Hawkeye became an Avenger. Clint damages Shellhead's armour with blast and acid arrows, but IM keeps battering him with repulsor rays. Until a magnetic arrow diverts the Armoured Avenger's arm to blast a building. As IM saves civilians from falling debris, Hawkeye makes off with the prize.

Captain America, Iron Man and Thor appear in single panels in this issue, which justifies the issue being included in their Libraries. This issue contains chapters 4, 5 and 6 of the Avengers/Defenders War. Chap 4 is a brief preamble with Dr Strange and Silver Surfer. Chap 5 is Hawkeye vs Iron Man, Chap 6 is Dr Strange vs Black Panther and Mantis. In chap 4 a caption summary reminds us that the Defenders seek the 6 pieces of the Evil Eye because they've been led to believe it will cure Black Knight from his statue-state. In reality Dormammu wants the eye to conquer Earth's dimension. His ally Loki has turned against him because he fears Asgard will fall too, and warned the Avengers. They already suspected Dr Strange of kidnapping BK, and when they learned who some of the Defenders are it didn't ease their minds. In Avengers #116 we also saw the 1st individual clash between Silver Surfer and Vision/Scarlet Witch. Dr Strange also detects the presence of the criminal Swordsman with the Avengers, which helps to convince him that the Avengers have gone bad. As he mystically warns the other Defenders, Vision contacts the other Avengers. Both Surfer and Vision believe the other attacked without provocation. Both sides now believe that the other side is evil.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #9 Synopsis by Harold Holt
This story follows on from AVENGERS (1963) #116

The Silver Surfer zooms into Dr. Strange's mansion, warning him that the Avengers are trying to stop the Defenders from assembling the Evil Eye. A mystical probe by Dr. Strange reveals that the Avengers' actions are being influenced by Loki, though Dr. Strange doesn't yet realize that he and the Defenders are also being influenced by Dormammu. After alerting the other Defenders to be on guard, Strange joins the fray, leaving the Surfer behind to guard the stony form of the Black Knight.

Valkrie drops off former Avenger Hawkeye in Monterrey Mexico where the bowman battles Iron Man. After barely holding his own against the armoured Avenger, Hawkeye escapes with one component of the Evil Eye, as was his intention. Then in Indiana, Dr. Strange battles Mantis and the Black Panther for possession of another of the Evil Eye's components. After a contest of wits and strategy, Doc Strange defeats his opponents by using magic, and thus leaves the scene in possession of the sought-after component.

The tale continues in AVENGERS (1963) #117

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Sal Buscema
Frank McLaughlin
Sal Buscema (Cover Penciler)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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