With Marvel’s Black Panther movie making such a splash right now here’s the conclusion of the Summer of 1980 script-doctoring bit about Wakanda and Atlantis fighting each other.
FOR PART ONE OF THIS ARTICLE CLICK HERE
DEFENDERS Vol 1: Number 86 (Aug 1980) – D-Day on Kiber Island (My title – the original title was The Left Hand of Silence)
On Kiber Island the Defenders are caught between two armies about to collide: On one side an Atlantean army with troops riding on a large number of those subsea monsters Sub-Mariner often uses to attack the surface world. On the other a Wakandan army with troops riding and flying around on a large number of dinosaurs from Serpent Valley.
Our heroes – Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Valkyrie, Clea and Foolkiller (Greg Salinger) try to shake off the Mandrill’s taunts as his viewscreen shuts off. The Defenders’ actions vary from struggling just to survive amidst all the lumbering monsters and high-tech weaponry of the clashing armies and trying to stop the violence since they know both sides are being manipulated. Foolkiller would be his usual battle-crazed “Emilo Estevez in Young Guns” self while Valkyrie would remind him to spare lives as much as possible.
The emphasis would be on the comic book art in this issue, what with super-powered beings fighting all manner of gigantic creatures plus the super-scientific weaponry of the soldiers astride them. Sub-Mariner would try to order the Atlanteans to cease their actions only to realize all the soldiers in the just-arrived amphibious army are female Atlanteans and therefore under the control of the Mandrill.
The battle – which would possibly cost a billion or so dollars to depict on the big screen even with advances in special effects – rages until at one point Namor and Clea speculate on how the Wakandans managed to stealthily move their dinosaurs from Africa to this South Pacific island.
Cut back to Wakanda’s Land of the Chilling Mist, where we finally get to see what shocked Dr Strange, Hellcat and the Black Panther last issue. Emerging from the opposite side of Resurrection Altar our heroes have been gawking at the atrocious site of an elaborate airfield and landing strip surrounded with walkways and roadways all the way to the edge of the Chasm of the Chilling Mist and beyond.
The place is deserted now that it has served its purpose and the trio walk numbly (still stunned at this ugly spoiling of the natural wonders of the Land of the Chilling Mist and Serpent Valley down below) to the chasm and look down. They see telltale signs of massive engineering artifacts going down toward Serpent Valley.
T’Challa realizes that the conspirators have managed a massive operation that involved capturing dinosaurs to use in warfare, like Erik Killmonger did a few years back. Unlike Killmonger, however, they completely trashed the area on a large scale. (Hellcat would likely make a “paved paradise and put in a parking lot” kind of joke) Also unlike Killmonger (N’jadaka) these conspirators airlifted the beasts out, so clearly their target is not Wakanda proper.
The three Defenders put two and two together and realize that Kiber Island must be the target. Dr Strange, still a bit frazzled from the neural trap that the Black Panther saved them all from last issue, summons all his concentration to return him, Patsy and T’Challa to Kiber Island. Immediately they are swept up in the mini-Armageddon raging around them.
Dialogue while the fight continues allows the two parties of Defenders to fill each other in on the missing pieces each possesses to the Mandrill’s puzzle. The renegade Wakandan officers of the conspiracy would refuse to obey T’Challa’s commands to stop fighting.
Clea would fight her way close enough to Dr Strange to suggest a strategy to him. Doc agrees and – still struggling to completely focus his concentration – tells his fellow Defenders to form a defensive circle around him and Clea so they can use their joint magic powers to make the island cold enough to drive the Atlantean creatures back into the sea and cause the dinosaurs to grow inert.(I know that’s not scientifically valid but hey – it’s a comic book)
Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Valkyrie, Clea, Hellcat, Foolkiller and the Black Panther would form that circle around Doc and Clea. While those two chant and cast spells the others keep both armies and their monsters at bay. Some of the Wakandan troops atop the dinosaurs would be using shields made of vibranium to defend themselves.
The energy blasts from Foolkiller’s Purification Gun would do the seemingly impossible and, rather than just get absorbed and deadened by the vibranium, would make the shields glow and then collapse into powder. T’Challa would be shocked to see vibranium react that way to the mysterious energies from Salinger’s gun and would be angry with his flippant refusal to discuss specifics about the weapon.
By now Doc and Clea’s spell would have made Kiber Island cold enough to have the effect they wanted. With the sea-beasts fleeing into the ocean and the dinosaurs falling inert and chilled, the renegade and/or Mandrill-enthralled soldiers on both sides are being mopped up by the Defenders. T’Challa vows to the other heroes about how he will make this Mandrill an international pariah and target over what he did to two kingdoms and to the pristine wilderness of Serpent Valley and the Land of the Chilling Mist.
This mention of the Mandrill makes Valkyrie realize that Mandrill’s plan could not have been just making money off selling arms to both sides of the Wakanda/ Atlantis War. He had bragged last issue that the battle between the two armies of behemoths would keep them too busy to stop him.
Val would piece together that the technicians in hazmat suits (who have been drawn into the background of many scenes along with the troops of both kingdoms) must all be women under the control of the Mandrill.
She leads her fellow Defenders into the main building the techs have been going in and out of and they see it contains a mine shaft all the way down to the vibranium deposits that both Atlantis and Wakanda were claiming at the start of the war. The superheroes all work together and stop the enthralled ladies from continuing to load the vibranium ore they’re stealing. They’ve been loading the tons and tons of it onto the huge aircraft fleet that transported the Serpent Valley dinosaurs to Kiber Island.
A cutaway to the Mandrill and his poolside bikini babes would show his anger and outrage at having been thwarted again by the Defenders.
Epilogue: Peace would be declared between Atlantis and Wakanda, Valkyrie would renew her vow to destroy the Mandrill for his abuse of women and Dr Strange, Clea and T’Challa would contemplate the enigmas surrounding Foolkiller, his Purification Gun and the otherworldly nature of his costume’s fabric. +++
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