Hey everybody, welcome back to another exciting week in Ye Olde School Café! This week, we’ll see the stunning conclusion to Avengers/Defenders War! So far, we’ve seen Dormammu and Loki make a pact to use the Defenders to unwittingly gather the fragments of the Evil Eye for them, and then use it to conquer the Universe. Loki then (unbeknownst to Dormammu) alerted the Avengers to the mission of the Defenders, and led them to believe that they were going to use it for evil purposes. Well, needless to say, a few skirmishes have broken out between some of the team members, and they were great fights to see, but both teams have now realized that they are being used as pawns in a bigger game….
As both teams converse amongst themselves, they then realize that two members from each team are missing. The Incredible Hulk and Thor are battling each other in Los Angeles, and both teams are frightened about the possible outcome. As Thor and Hulk are destroying the city, both teams show up to tell them that the real enemy is still at large. As the teams return to Doc Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, they talk about what has transpired, and also theorize about what the future holds. As Doc Strange puts the pieces of the Evil Eye together, we see Asti (a servant of Dormammu) swoop in and snatch the Eye from Doc’s hands. Just as the heroes try to catch him, the demon disappears. Almost immediately, the surrounding area begins to turn into a foul scene resembling Dormammu’s dark dimension. Worse than that, the people change into demons as well! Dormammu then appears out of nowhere to gloat, but the heroes tell him that they’ll fight to the death if need be, and the fight is on.
As the Earth continues to transform into a living hell, the heroes fight against the hordes of demons that have began to run amok. Out of the sky a SHIELD ship blasts a few demons and Nick Fury himself jumps out to join the party. Realizing that SHIELD can keep the demons at bay, the heroes make their way (via a teleportation spell from the Doc) to Dormammu’s dimension. Once there, the Avengers want to take a different direction than the Defenders, but Thor tells them that Doctor Strange will lead them. As this is going on, Dormammu and Loki are using the Evil Eye to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting Earth. Dormammu then tells Loki that he’s aware of his treachery, and encases him inside some sort of energy prison for his betrayal. Dormammu tells Loki that immediately upon touching the Eye, he knew of Loki’s deeds. While they argue, Dormammu is frightened by an immense shadow behind him. It’s The Watcher, and he’s standing over Dormamu, and, well, watching. Dormammu threatens the giant, but The Watcher tells him to calm down, because he’s just going to observe.
The heroes are attacked out of nowhere by the Mindless Ones, or those who guard the outskirts of Dormammu’s realm. After combining their powers, the heroes are told by Mantis that she senses they only have about twenty minutes until Earth is doomed. Next we see many of Earth’s heroes and villains alike battling the demons that are trying to overrun the planet. The heroes have finally reached Dormammu, but he’s ready for them. He blasts Strange and his Defenders, but then has to deal with the Avengers next. Dormammu laughs at their feeble attempts to stop him. Not even the Mighty Thor or Scarlet Witch’s powers can stop him. As this beating is going on, Loki manages to free himself and he attacks Dormammu. As the two titans battle each other, the Scarlet Witch manages to free herself and blast both of them with her hex powers. This sends the Eye into the air where it sucks Dormammu inside it, and then blasts Loki in the face, driving him insane.
As the teams are wrapping things up, The Watcher explains what exactly happened to Dormammu and also how Loki is no more than an infant mentally from the ordeal. Doc Strange then returns everyone and the Defenders go back to their task at hand of freeing the soul of their friend, the Black Knight. As they return to Earth, Nick Fury tries to question the Defenders, but Doc Strange puts a mental whammy on him to forget about the whole episode. The Doc then uses his astral form to seek out the Black Knight, but finds out that his form has been spirited away from its resting place. Just as he returns, a mystical force transports the whole team to another world, where they are greeted by the Black Knight, and also a group of 12th century Muslims that want to kill them. The Hulk engages them, but is then greeted by a Gnome or Earth Spirit, as Doc Strange calls him. He shrugs off Doc Strange’s mystic bolts, the Silver Surfer’s cosmic blasts, and even the Hulk’s best punch. Doc realizes something is amiss, so he uses a spell to get them out of there.
After a quick explanation from the good Knight as to why he is there (and his theory on why they are), they snatch some clothes to blend in, and make their way to the inner chambers of the castle nearby to find answers. They find and rescue King Richard, but then are quickly jumped by more giant gnomes. The Gnomes whoop them, and then we see Prince John, Modred, and Chandu the sorcerer. A fight breaks out between the Gnomes and the Defenders, but then Namor finds out that simple water will melt the Gnomes away to nothing. As this is transpiring, Chandu blasts Doc Strange and gets his hands on the Evil Eye! Just as Prince John and Chandu are about to zap the Defenders with it, a glowing figure appears. It’s Prester John (former ally of King Richard and resident of Avalon). He swipes the Eye away from the two villains and gives them a blast from the Eye to “make them fully aware of the folly of their deeds.” At this point, the Black Knight decides to stay in this time period and help King Richard. As goodbyes are exchanged, we see Prester John return them to their rightful time, where Hawkeye, Namor, Silver Surfer, and Hulk all tell Strange that they are leaving the team to pursue other interests. We see Doctor Strange and Valkyrie on a balcony waving to their comrades as they embark on their own personal missions.
Well, that’s it for this week, but stay tuned for more exciting adventures next week! Personally, I love the Defenders, and think this is the crowning achievement of Steve Englehart’s career!