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Giant-Size Defenders #5: Review

Jul 1975
Steve Gerber, Don Heck

Story Name:

Eelar Moves in Mysterious Ways!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Giant-Size Defenders #5 Review by (April 28, 2021)

Review: Ah, the original Guardians of the Galaxy, you know, the ones not in any movie. Marvel had a bit of trouble with these guys; they started off as a cosmic team for some epic sci-fi, in the year 3000! Problem was, it was reeeealy difficult to have them cross over with other, more popular Marvel heroes to give them a boost (count how many issue #1’s Spider-Man is a guest in) which tended to segregate them into their own little corner of the MU. This was achieved either by sending heroes into the future (like Thing and Captain America in MARVEL-TWO-IN-ONE #4-5) or bringing them back into our present (as with the present issue—which will become the other kind of story next time). But there were other problems, too, the main one being that the Guardians weren’t all that interesting. Four guys, each with his own superpowers but their personalities were a bit too similar to get much out of them. This would be rectified eventually, in their own 1990s revival series which ran for over 60 issues. Eventually, Marvel realized that there was no reason there couldn’t be Guardians in the modern era and so Star-Lord, Gamora and company were created and worked their way into the MCU as well. Oh, the current issue? Not one of the best, with a muddled story, art that is far from Don Heck’s best (the scene of Val fighting Eelar over Aragorn is especially bad), and guest stars not seen to any advantage. Well, this is a multi-part story arc so they have the opportunity to improve on these factors. Stay tuned! 

Comments: Final issue of the series. Part one of five parts. Main story continues in DEFENDERS #26-29. The plot is credited to Steve Gerber, Gerry Conway, Roger Slifer, Len Wein, Chris Claremont, and Scott Edelman and inking to Jim Mooney, Mike Esposito, and Dave Hunt. Only appearance of Eelar. Electric eels are found only in the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers in South America and are freshwater creatures; there is no way a colony would be in the Atlantic Ocean by New York City. The Holland Tunnel appears to be called the Hudson Tunnel here. Inside jokes: Verpoorten’s Meat Market, a copy of Origins of Marvel Comics by Stan Lee. Title comes from an old Christian hymn, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” referring to the villain’s unknown motives, I assume, and not any claims to deity.  


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Giant-Size Defenders #5 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Late one night, a trio of punks follows a man named Milton Childs down a dark street, finally hustling him into an alley for some violent fun. Above, Doctor Strange, Hulk, and Valkyrie fly across the sky searching for the source of a disturbance in the flow of time and are unaware of the crime beneath them. The Defenders locate a glow in the harbor and when a small ship passes over it, the ship is suddenly inundated with dead fish. The three heroes descend on the ship to offer help in dumping the fish back into the water but Strange is seized and dragged below the surface by Eelar, an underwater humanoid with electrical powers who is speaking telepathically about the need to destroy the human race….

Back in the alley, the punks beat and rob Childs but then a huge shadowed figure orders them to stop and when they don’t, he takes them down with no effort and rushes Childs to the hospital. [He is Charlie-27 of the Guardians of the Galaxy.]

Back at the harbor, an unconscious Strange is rescued by Valkyrie as Eelar flies through the sky to destroy the city, as his thoughts are being widely broadcast….

Upstate, Nighthawk is flying, brooding about the events of last issue (you know, Trish Starr). He spies a UFO crashing to the ground and heads over to investigate. The townspeople panic and flee, except for a young boy….

Eelar has a huge swarm of fish batter the Hudson Tunnel until the tunnel’s ceiling cracks and collapses. The Defenders arrive and plug the massive leak with a balled-up chunk of wrecked automobile….

The boy in upstate New York goes home to tell his parents he saw a flying saucer and he is punished for lying and sent to his room. He then sneaks out of the window so he can investigate the UFO crash. Meanwhile, Nighthawk has located the saucer and meets the Guardians of the Galaxy from a thousand years in the future: Vance Astro, Yondu, and Martinex with Charlie being in the city…

…where Eelar is on a violent rampage against the hated humans. Charlie sees this but he was sworn to remain hidden while in the city and he ducks into an alley. The Defenders arrive and give the monster battle, having trouble because of his powerful electric charge….

At the spaceship, Martinex pinpoints Charlie’s location and teleports Vance Astro, Yondu, and Nighthawk to him where they join in the fight against Eelar. Then the boy enters the ship….

Eelar flies off and the Defenders pursue him while the Guardians head back to the alley where Charlie-27 was sent earlier. They find Milton Childs’ briefcase which contains the object of their journey into the past: a Badoon mento-programmer, used for indoctrination but the tapes are missing….

Dr. Strange locates another mento-programmer in the glowing part of the harbor and deduces that it created Eelar. While the monster is distracted beating up a tree, Strange explains to his teammates and the Guardians who have arrived. The helmet fell into the water and mutated an electric eel into a humanoid form and its propaganda tapes sent the mindless creature on a vendetta against the Badoon’s hated enemy, the human race. The monster is subdued but Strange prevents Val from killing it, instead restoring it to its original eel form and put it back in the ocean….

At a gathering in the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Guardians explain that the Badoon conquer Earth in AD 3007 and they are seeking records of an attempted Badoon invasion in the 20th century but are having no luck (because only the Silver Surfer knew about it, in SILVER SURFER #2). Strange’s primary concern is returning their guest to their own time….

At the spaceship, Martinex learns that the little boy is a young Vance Astro….

Story continues in DEFENDERS #26.

“Quoth the Nighthawk, “Nevermore!””
Reprinted from DAREDEVIL #62. 

Don Heck
George Roussos
Ron Wilson (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Bruce Banner)

(Kyle Richmond)


Plus: Charlie-27, Defenders, Martinex, Vance Astro (Major Victory).

> Giant-Size Defenders: Book info and issue index

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