Appearing in "The Stars in Their Courses!"
- Overmind (Mentioned)
- Captain America (Illusion)
- Shaper of Worlds (Mentioned)
- Aquarian (Mentioned)
- Sherlock Holmes (Illusion)
Synopsis for "The Stars in Their Courses!"
The Defenders and Seraph find themselves floating in outer space, their lives sustained by Cloud. With her memory restored, Cloud explains that she really is a cloud—or a cloud nebula, to be exact—and that she will someday become a star. She shows the Defenders an area of black space, where all of the stars have disappeared. Suddenly, a fleet of spaceships appears, and the Defenders are pulled inside one of the ships by a tractor beam. At first, the aliens aboard the ship assume the Defenders are enemies, but Cloud explains that they are on the same side, so Seraph uses her ecstasy power to calm them down. The aliens show the Defenders images of how their sun disappeared and they were forced to flee their rapidly-freezing world. Beast asks Cloud what brought her to seek help on Earth—a planet not nearly as advanced in technology. Cloud explains that her “friend” sent her there. Cloud’s “friend” turns out to be a slightly-evolved Cosmic Cube, which remembered Earth’s heroes like Captain America, and sent her to Earth in search of them. The former Cube also sent it’s own distress call to Earth, but the only one that answered was the Over-Mind, who was swallowed by the void and is feared dead. The Defenders realize that Over-Mind must have erased their memories of him, which is why no one noticed that he had left the team. Although the former Cube does not have the power to restore the stars, it does create translators that enable the Defenders to communicate with their alien allies. The former Cube takes the form of “Captain America” to accompany the Defenders on their quest. They soon encounter a being called the Star-Thief, who is responsible for making the stars disappear. The Beast deduces that the reason the Star-Thief has only been stealing stars and not entire galaxies must be because it comes from a planet in a large interstellar dust cloud, where other galaxies are not visible. Finding a planetary system in such a cloud, the Defenders and aliens head there, but an interstellar fleet intercepts them. The Defenders board one of the enemy spaceships and overpower the crew. When they try to get the pilot to land on the nearby planet, he instead sends the ship crashing into the atmosphere. “Captain America” creates a giant shield to protect his friends from the crash. The Star-Thief appears and tries to destroy the Defenders, but Cloud absorbs its star bolt and realizes that it cannot use its full power because they are close to Star-Thief’s home, where its real body lies. Star-Thief flees, and Cloud is able to track its energy. The Defenders make their way through a major city to its’ largest building, where the planet’s Queen resides. The Queen’s daughter, the Princess, has been in a coma ever since she was struck in the eyes by a laser beam. The Defenders realize that the Princess is the Star-Thief, who has been subconsciously making the stars disappear because their light reminds her of the laser that blinded her and makes her afraid. Cloud enables Angel, who is also blind, to enter the Princess’ mind and reassure her that her sight will return. The Princess is still afraid, so the other Defenders, aliens, and even the Queen reach out to her with their thoughts, letting her know that there is love and hope waiting for her in the light. Suddenly, a small purse appears at the Princess’ side, which is a gateway to a pocket dimension where she has hidden all of the stars. “Captain America” realizes that the Princess’ thoughts must have traveled throughout space and tapped into the former Cube’s power of wish-fulfillment—enabling her to make the stars vanish. With that, “Captain America” promises to restore the stars to the universe and sends the Defenders and their alien friends back to their respective worlds. Cloud departs from the Defenders to become the star she was always meant to be, telling Iceman that she will never forget him.
In a back-up story, Sassafrass is harassed by holograms at the Defenders headquarters when the army leaves the Defenders’ security system on, but Manslaughter appears and shuts it off.
- The Beast tentatively names an alien planet Xiombarg. Xiombarg was a character created by Michael Moorcock for his "Elric of Melnibone" series, who had appeared in a Marvel comic Conan the Barbarian #14 (1972).