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Giant-Size Defenders #2: Review

Oct 1974
Len Wein, Klaus Janson

Story Name:

H…as in Hulk…Hell…and Holocaust!

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Giant-Size Defenders #2 Review by (January 26, 2021)

Review: And now issue #2 falls into the category of Giant-Size editions that have a new lead story followed by reprints (see the review of issue #1 to explain this cryptic classification). The non-team needs a specialist and so Son of Satan is pulled in as another oddball member of the gang. A Hulk battle fills a lot of pages before the plot shows up; there are some nice attempts at characterization with each of the heroes facing their greatest fears but their defeat of their enemies by convincing themselves they are merely illusion seems a bit too easy to me. Perhaps they could have had time to add some more depth if they hadn’t devoted six pages to a pointless Hulk battle but then that was probably the best part of the issue. Can’t win ‘em all.

Comments: Main story takes place between DEFENDERS #16 and 17. First meeting of the Defenders with Daimon Hellstrom, Son of Satan. Asmodeus was introduced in DOCTOR STRANGE #169 and appeared in #173-178 of that title; Satannish first appeared in DOCTOR STRANGE #174-175. Sole appearance of Laurox the Lecherous. And that's good.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Giant-Size Defenders #2 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Hulk is on a rampage through New York City, driving off the police who can’t stand against him. The National Guard arrives and sets their new mechanoid soldier against him and Hulk turns it to scrap in seconds. Their heavy artillery just annoys Hulk into leaving; then in an alley, a little girl named Laurie offers to help him. She leads him to a building of seemingly endless steps going downward—until they reach Hell where Laurie reveals “herself” to be the demon Laurox the Lecherous who sets an army of giant Bruce Banners on Hulk, beating him and mocking him….

This scene is being shown to Doctor Strange and the Defenders in his Sanctum Sanctorum by a spirit being whose master demands their allegiance—and the danger to the Hulk is their motivation. Strange, Valkyrie, and Nighthawk search the city but cannot find the location of the house he is trapped in. Strange decides to call in a specialist. His astral form heads to St Louis to meet with Daimon Hellstrom and request his help. Hellstrom reluctantly agrees and transforms into the Son of Satan. In New York, SoS easily locates the cloaked building and they enter to find four staircases going down. Each hero takes one and they are each led to a demonic assault: Dr. Strange faces the spirits of the dead who perished through his medical malpractice. Valkyrie is attacked by faceless giantesses who remove her face to symbolize her identity confusion. A mob drags Nighthawk to a gallows to be punished for his criminal past. Daimon sees his mother tormented by demons and he can’t save her….

Dr. Strange fights off his guilt then rescues the others by helping them to see their various torments as illusions, including Hulk and they drop into the presence of the villain. He is Asmodeus who has offered the Defenders’ souls to Satannish in exchange for a return to the world of the living. He tries to destroy them directly but finds the Son of Satan is immune to his attacks. The clock strikes twelve and Asmodeus’ deadline is up; the floor cracks open and Satannish reaches up and drags him down to the lower realm. SoS thanks Strange for the change to pay back the forces of evil and he goes home….

“Sub-Mariner”
Writer/artist: Bill Everett.
Synopsis: Story reprinted from YOUNG MEN (1953 series) #25.
There is a spate of people seen jumping into the sea and vanishing completely, presumably the victims of sharks. Betty Dean draws the attention of Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner to it and he investigates with the aid of the police and the Coast Guard. At the scene of the latest disappearance, a weird looking fellow mocks Namor; he sees the man going into the water later and follows him, only to end up fighting a great white shark and killing it. The next morning the weird guy is found dead on the beach. That night, Namor meets a woman coming out of the sea and forces her to confess that she is one of a race of water people from another planet who have projected themselves mentally to Earth, using sharks as hosts and able to turn human on land. The woman escapes and kills herself for betraying her race. Namor and the Coast Guard set a trap for the shark people, capturing them in nets and dumping them on the beach to die.  

“Black Knight”
Writer: Unknown. Artist: Fred Kida.
Synopsis: Story reprinted from BLACK KNIGHT (1955 series) #4. 
An enemy makes a suit of armor resembling that of the real Black Knight and uses it to frame Sir Percy for various crimes. The fake one leads an attack against Camelot and King Arthur demands that the two Black Knights settle the matter with a joust. Sir Percy wins and is vindicated. 

“Beyond the Purple Veil!”
Reprinted from STRANGE TALES #119. 



Klaus Janson
Klaus Janson
Glynis Wein
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Klaus Janson (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Gil Kane.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Son of Satan
Son of Satan

(Daimon Hellstrom)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)

Plus: Asmodeus, Betty Dean, Black Knight (Sir Percy of Scandia), Defenders, Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond), Satannish.

> Giant-Size Defenders: Book info and issue index

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