Marvel | Back To Defenders, The | August 1972 | Volume 1 | USA | 264 Owned
1st Appearance of the Defenders in Own Title: Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Doctor Strange , 1st Appearance of Necrodamus

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August 1972
Comic Age
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Issue Facts
  • 1st Appearance "NECRODAMUS"
Issue Credits
Interior Artist
Cover Artist
Crossover/Story Arcs
Arcs :
Stories May contain spoliers
 I Slay by the Stars 

Out of nowhere Namor, the Sub-Mariner, falls unconscious from the sky over New Jersey to be found by the Hulk. Recognizing him from their last meeting (see: Marvel Feature #3) the Hulk realizes Namor needs help and the only one he can think of is Dr. Strange so he sets off to New York City in search of him. Finding Strange in Greenwich Village, the Hulk mutters that he has found the "Fish-Man" and he needs help. Strange understands whom he is referring to so he quickly makes them both invisible and transports themselves via levitation to the site of the fallen hero.

Strange discovers that Namor is surrounded by an impenetrable mystical barrier. Suddenly, a short humanoid being appears dressed in robes: Necrodamus. (ASIDE: He recounts a tale of how he was granted power by The Undying Ones, beings from another dimension, whom Strange had previously met and conquered by subjecting the Night Fiends, sent by The Undying Ones, to sunlight (see: Doctor Strange #183). This eventually lead to a battle between Strange and the ruler of The Undying Ones aptly called The Nameless One. With the help of the Sub-Mariner, Strange fought a hopeless battle during which he sacrificed himself to save Namor from being trapped in the Undying Ones' dimension (see: Sub-Mariner #22). However, other disciples of The Nameless One brought the Hulk and an unnamed traitor to the dimension of the NightCrawler (see: Incredible Hulk #126) where the ensuing combat destroyed that universe causing the traitor and The Nameless One to return to their own dimension and the Hulk and Namor back to Earth. END OF ASIDE)

Standing over Namor, Necrodamus relates that he plans on sacrificing the Sub-Mariner and that he orchestrated this gathering of heroes, in the name of The Nameless One, to avenge these defeats and gain favour with his master. Before departing magically, he indicates that he will return in one hour's time, when the stars will align themselves correctly. In his absence, the Hulk tries to smash the barrier surrounding Namor but to no avail. Doctor Strange attempts to break the barrier through magic but he also fails (unknowingly, because he used all his magical effort, a previous spell he cast weeks earlier to stop the countdown of the world-destroying Omegatron (see: Marvel Feature #1) is weakened and the countdown is resumed at a slow but steady pace).

Exhausted from the effort, Strange rests in deep meditation while the Hulk continues to pummel the magical force field for near an hour but again to no effect. Strange awakes with the idea that he can protect Namor by covering him in a second barrier but when he weaves the spell, Namor suddenly sinks into the ground and disappears. Realizing that Necrodamus has whisked the Sub-Mariner away to caverns below, the Hulk and Strange set out to look for an entrance. Upon finding the cavern's opening the pair are assailed by a huge beast who calls himself Demon of the Dark. The Hulk, who is already angered at taking orders from Doctor Strange, uses the demon as an excuse to vent and quickly dispatches the beast.

Once in the vaulted cavern, they discover the Sub-Mariner lying upon a sacrificial stone slab with Necrodamus, dagger in hand, above him. The smoke and shadows in the cavern coalesce into an insubstantial shape of the dreaded Nameless One, who watches on in anticipation. Suddenly, Necrodamus notices the heroes and obliges the Hulk's request to become larger to make the fight more fair. Now larger than the Hulk and armed with a magical blade, Necrodamus engages in battle and stabs the Hulk in the chest. Meanwhile, the stars draw nearer to their mystical alignment. While the titans tussle, Strange uses the opportunity to discover that the
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