Hey everybody, I hope you’re all having a great weekend so far! Last week, we finished up a massive battle between heroes and villains. This week, we’ll do even better than that here in Ye Olde School Cafe’! So, what is better than heroes versus villains, you ask? In my opinion, it’s either villain against villain, or in this case, hero fighting hero! Who wouldn’t want to see the Black Panther punch Dr. Strange, or Vision and Scarlet Witch battle the Silver Surfer? Well, it’s not fantasy folks, it’s reality in Avengers/Defenders War! Yes, in the next few weeks, you’ll see those match-ups along with a few others that will knock your socks off. This great story was conceived by Steve Englehart, and illustrated by Bob Brown and Sal Buscema back in 1973.
OK, so, to set the stage, we have an Avengers roster of Thor, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, Swordsman, and Mantis. That’s quite a formidable group to say the least, but they are up against worthy opponents. The Defenders are comprised of Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, Namor, The Hulk, Valkyrie, and along for the ride, the long time Avenger Hawkeye! Yes, you can just imagine the fireworks that will be going off when these heroes meet in battle! Initially, though, we see Loki and Dormammu meet for the first time while Loki is falling through the vortex of time, blindly…literally. He had been struck blind by Thor (issue #207), and was happy and also stunned to be rescued by Dormammu. At this point, Dormammu tells Loki of his defeat at the hands of Dr. Strange, and his subsequent promise to never invade the Earth again. He then tells Loki that he has a plan to trick the Defenders into collecting the fragments from the long lost Evil Eye to expand his realm so that it envelops Earth, and he can wreak vengeance against his enemies. The second part of the plan is to cause the Avengers to think that the Defenders are gathering the fragments for evil purposes, when in reality they are gathering them to try and reanimate the Black Knight (he had been kissed and then turned to stone by Amora).
Once the plan of Dormammu and Loki is set into motion, the Avengers recall the Eye of Evil being destroyed years ago by the Fantastic Four. They deduce that it must not have been destroyed, but only separated into pieces. At this point, both teams split into smaller groups and head for the targets. First, we see the Silver Surfer arrive in Polynesia and the locals start to worship the “shiny god.” He figures out that the only place he hasn’t looked is in the volcano. He swiftly glides on his board to the mouth of the powerful cone-shaped mountain. As the Surfer uses his energy blasts to try and find the piece of the Eye, he accidentally causes an eruption that knocks the Scarlet Witch out of the sky. The Vision (who had already left the Quinjet) flies to her aid just before she’s smashed on the ground below. This infuriates Vision, and he goes right after the Surfer with bad intentions. Vision quickly gets the upper hand due to the element of surprise, but with one quick thought, the Surfer’s board smashes Vision in the face. As the two fight on, the natives place Wanda on the ground at the base of the volcano. The Surfer unleashes a big blast of energy, and it triggers another explosion inside the volcano. The blast also dislodges the piece of the Eye. Both combatants go for it, but the Vision notices that the lava is slowly creeping towards Wanda, and he lunges for his lover. The Surfer glides away with the prize, and round one goes to the Defenders, no doubt!
Come back next week as we see friend against friend once again! We’ll see Iron Man and Hawkeye clash (that one was a long time coming), and Mantis and Black Panther throw down with the Sorcerer Supreme!