WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Doctor Strange: Damnation #1
A new Defenders team may be forming in the pages of Doctor Strange: Damnation. This stunning development follows in the wake of Doctor Strange making a mistake that could bring about the end of the world, as Stephen Strange literally unleashes Hell on Earth.
Recent events in the Marvel Comics Universe saw the city of Las Vegas completely destroyed. As Thor, Falcon, Black Panther, Hawkeye and Captain Marvel are holding a press conference expressing their sorrow at the recent tragedy, Doctor Strange appears and declares his intent to use his newly enhanced powers to resurrect the city. At first, Strange seems to have been successful but then a massive dark tower emerges in the middle of the Vegas Strip. Strange ventures into the so-called “Hotel Inferno” and finds that the hellish casino is being run by the demon Mephisto. It seems that the entire city of Las Vegas was sent to Hell upon its destruction and the demons adopted it as a new part of their territory, allowing them to come to Earth when Doctor Strange tried to restore the city to where it had been before.
As Doctor Strange bargains with Mephisto to play a game of chance for the soul of the city, his former assistant Wong (with whom Strange had a recent falling out) is informed of what has happened in Las Vegas by a ghostly dog. Cursing Stephen for his arrogance, Wong declares that there is no way Mephistio will be happy ruling just one city now that he is free to roam about on Earth. The issue closes as Wong begins working a spell to locate people who will prove useful in a battle against Mephisto and the forces of Hell.
Though Wong refers to the characters only by vague titles such as “The Hunter” and “The Slayer”, they are all easily identifiable to those who enjoy comics set in the supernatural side of Marvel Comics’ universe. The team Wong plans to assemble will be bring together Blade (the vampire “hunter’), Moon ‘Kinght’, Elsa Bloodstone (the monster ‘slayer’), Ghost ‘Rider’, Iron ‘Fist’, Brother Voodoo and Man-Thing.
While the name of The Defenders is not dropped in this issue it is hard not to see a connection to the classic team, which was originally formed by Doctor Strange to deal with cosmic events beyond the understanding of most superheroes. Iron Fist, Ghost Rider, Elsa Bloodstone and Moon Knight all served in previous incarnations of the team. There is also dramatic irony in Wong forming a Defenders team in order to fix one of Stephen Strange’s mistakes. In any event, Doctor Strange: Damnation #2 should prove to be a devilishly good read.
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