Appearing in "Manslaughter!"
- Manslaughter (First full appearance)
Synopsis for "Manslaughter!"
Returning home from his lecture tour, the Beast is surprised to find the New Defenders headquarters looking abandoned. When he searches inside, Beast is nearly strangled by Valkyrie until she realizes who he is. The other Defenders are in hiding after receiving repeated death threats from someone called Manslaughter. Somehow, Manslaughter has been able to sneak in and out of Warren's Aerie to leave notes warning them that he is coming, even managing to steal Valkyrie’s sword, Dragonfang. He claims to have been hired by the drug dealer whose plans were thwarted by the Defenders in the previous issue. Moondragon notes that she cannot feel his mind and believes he is some sort of psi-assassin.
Suddenly, Gargoyle vanishes in a burst of light. As the Defenders wait for Manslaughter to strike, he seemingly kills them off one-by-one. He begins by cutting Cloud’s throat after catching her alone in the bathroom, followed by breaking Iceman’s neck, poisoning Angel with nerve gas that renders his wings useless as he falls to his death, and cutting Valkyrie with her own sword that he tipped with poison.
When confronted by Moondragon, he reveals that his telepathic powers enable him to block others’ peripheral vision and subliminal hearing, which renders him invisible unless a person is looking directly at him. Manslaughter links Moondragon’s mind to his nervous system, so that she feels any pain he inflicts on himself. However, Iceman appears and puts Manslaughter on ice!
It turns out that Manslaughter was not prepared for the Beast, who came up with a plan to get the assassin to reveal himself by faking the deaths of the other Defenders. Cloud turned her throat into mist when Manslaughter tried to cut it, and Iceman created an ice shell of himself over Cloud's gaseous form that had its’ neck broken. Iceman had also frozen Angel and Valkyrie to keep them alive until Manslaughter’s poison can be analyzed and neutralized.
When Beast asks Manslaughter what happened to Gargoyle, the assassin claims that he had nothing to do with Gargoyle’s disappearance. Moondragon wants to kill Manslaughter for having invaded her mind and breaks down. Cloud comforts Moondragon and tells her, “I love you.”
The New Defenders have nothing to fear - do they? When a maniacal killer comes to the Defenders' Aerie in the New Mexico Rockies, he brings death with him! And he brings it... one victim at a time! Not for the weak of heart! Plus: we've been hinting about the relationship between Cloud and Moondragon! Now you get to see their lives take a bizarre turn!