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Defenders, The #92: Review

Feb 1981
J. M. DeMatteis, Pablo Marcos

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Story Name:

Eternity... Humanity... Oblivion!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Defenders, The #92 Review by (June 5, 2024)

Review: From nukes to Eternity: we go from a story about a monkey-faced dude who wants to punish his parents to the impending end of all existence, certainly setting a record for great tonal shifts (see also issues #29-30 for the opposite direction). And for his debut issue, new writer J.M. DeMatteis gives us a tale featuring Eternity itself, with a heroes’ quest involving splitting the Defenders into pairs and assigning each one a mission in a different place on Earth. This looks like a multi-part sort of story—or at least a Giant-Size or annual but no. It’s all wrapped up in a single regular issue and the heroes move on. All in a day’s work for the non-team, all the easier with the exposition being mostly comic book nonsense. The tale does seem a bit rushed and cluttered, of course, and would likely have fared better with more pages but DeMatteis apparently wanted to start with something astonishing so he did. And I have no idea why this isn’t the same Eternity as in Dr. Strange’s comic but Marvel Database claims it isn’t. How many Eternities are there?

Comments: The first appearance of the multiversal Eternity; the more familiar one was introduced in STRANGE TALES #138, many years earlier. The traumatic events for Nighthawk took place in MARVEL TEAM-UP #101 just before this issue. The traumatic events for Silver Surfer took place in INCREDIBLE HULK #250 just before this issue. And Hulk has Dr. Strange action figures: Dormammu and the Ancient One; they are not in mint condition.   


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #92 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

At the Sanctum Sanctorum, Doctor Strange and Clea watch their houseguest Hulk play with toys like a child. Nighthawk arrives and Strange can tell he is upset. Kyle confesses to an incident the previous night which served to remind him he is a shallow spoiled rich boy and a failure as a superhero. As they talk, suddenly all of reality vanishes (shown by a completely white panel). Then it happens again but this time it leaves Dr. Strange in a coma, the universe shining through his eyes…

…while Dr. Strange’s astral form has been pulled out of his body and is floating through the realm of Eternity. Eternity meets Strange and explains his predicament. Big E was lonely so it created several mortal bodies, each imbued with a bit of its consciousness, scattered all over the universe to experience every sort of activity and emotion. It then recalled them all and they merged with their source—but three did not return. Eternity wants Strange to locate and return them and he has eight hours to do it in or all of reality comes to an end….

Dr. Strange returns and quickly explains the matter to the others. He then contacts several former Defenders asking for help: Valkyrie, Hellcat, Silver Surfer, Sub-Mariner, and the Son of Satan; only the Surfer begs off as he is too depressed after a recent adventure with Hulk. The Cauldron of the Cosmos reveals the last known locations of the missing persons so Strange divides the Defenders in teams of two to track down the vanished children, while he and Clea try to keep Eternity alive….

Hellcat and Daimon Hellstrom are sent to a Hindu temple in India where they are attacked by the worshippers. They vanquish their foes and discover they were mistaken for the minions of the monkey-god Hanuman who carried off their guru, Sai Avand. The two heroes go off and defeat Hanuman in battle and are directed to an ornate building in the distance…

Hulk and Nighthawk arrive at a Russian village near the Arctic Circle under attack by snow monsters. The heroes vanquish them and are told of a little boy who was carried off and his parents want him back. Kyle decides to table the matter of informing them their little boy is an emanation of Eternity and not coming back. They head north and fight freezing cold when they spy an ice palace and head there…

Namor and Valkyrie show up at a small Greek island where they fight security guards until the fracas is halted by the wife of shipping magnate Socrates Carvopolis, explaining that her husband was carried off by a harpy and she wants him back. Namor tells her that he is already dead, to spare her hopes being dashed when he doesn’t return. The heroes head north, fighting the sea monster Glaucus and a harpy, until they reach a cave; entering they see it has elaborate carvings inside. They open a huge door…

…and all three teams of heroes find they are in the same empty space, where the three missing persons stand together in the center and explain how they chose not to return because they prefer to die when the universe ends than go back to the sterile existence of Eternity. The Defenders try to force them back but their foes are too powerful: Daimon’s attacks are thrown back on him, Hulk is tricked into knocking out Valkyrie before he dozes off and reverts to Bruce Banner, Nighthawk is likewise put to sleep, Namor is vanquished by extreme heat, and Hellcat is made to see her own mother attacking her. Dr. Strange’s astral form revives Kyle who delivers an impassioned speech that true humanity involves self-sacrifice. This convinces the three “children” to return to their source and the universe is saved….

Strange uses this incident to convince Kyle that he is not a failure as a superhero but Kyle admits he was only thinking of the Russian couple whose son is not coming back….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Pablo Marcos
Pablo Marcos
George Roussos
Ed Hannigan (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
George Roussos (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Don Perlin. Letterer: Diana Albers.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Patsy Walker)

(Bruce Banner)

(Kyle Richmond)
Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer

(Norrin Radd)
Son of Satan
Son of Satan

(Daimon Hellstrom)


Plus: Defenders, Eternity.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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