- And now -- the dragon dies!
- -- Interloper
Appearing in "The End of All Songs"
- Arthur Pendragon (Only in flashback)
- Fantastic Four
Races and Species:
- Camelot (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "The End of All Songs"
This story continued from last issue....
Secret Wars II continues from Uncanny X-Men #202...
Possessed by the Dragon of the Moon, Moondragon has confronted her former comrades in the Defenders for a final confrontation before the ruins of their Colorado headquarters. She tells the group that she has come to get final revenge against them all for the many precision infractions they have committed against her: Iceman's rejection of her romantic advances; Beast's lack of trust in her even after her recent reformation; Valkyrie because she had her punished and ruled over by Odin regarding her growing powers; while having no malice toward Andromeda as they had not previous met, Moondragon vows to kill her for standing by the Defenders; She also swears to kill their leader Candy Southern and the recently blinded Angel; The Gargoyle for looking into her soul and calling her evil; and lastly the insane Manslaughter who infected her with his madness, an act she calls a rape of her soul. Before she can act further, the mysterious Eternal known as the Interloper steps forward and vows to destroy the Dragon of the Moon and free Heather, using his vast powers to stagger the creature that has possessed her.
With the Dragon of the Moon weakened and Moondragon distracted, the Interloper orders the Defenders to attack, however they are too slow and are easily blasted back by the quickly recovered Moondragon who tries to ensare them in black mystical tendrils. The Defenders get away except for the Beast who is pulled close whom she attempts to mind wipe. However the Interloper has the Gargoyle channel his powers through Manslaughter and into Moondragon, once more infecting her with Manslaughter's madness, breaking her concentration long enough for the Beast to break free unharmed. As the Interloper continues his assault on the Dragon of the Moon, Valkyrie and Andromeda rush into attack Heather directly. She attempts to fight them off by changing into living fire and then transforming into a lizard creature. However, Manslaughter rushes in and begnins kissing her, further infecting her with his madness. Unable to bare it, Moondragon teleports away with the Dragon of the Moon vowing to return and destroy the Defenders once and for all.
Granted a reprieve from battle, the Interloper commends Manslaughter, whom the Defenders are shocked to learn was the Interloper's student. The Interloper explains that he came across Manslaughter years ago and tutored him in the use of his mental powers, however in teaching him how to master them he inadvertently drove Manslaughter insane. When the Beast inquires about the Interloper's potential status as either an Eternal or Deviant, the Interloper dismisses such distinctions and explains how he fought the Dragon of the Moon centuries ago alongside the valiant knight Artus Dux Bellorum -- more commonly known as King Arthur of Camelot. Having explained his unique situation, the Interloper stifles further conversation and advises the Defenders to prepare for the coming final battle against the Dragon of the Moon.
Miles elsewhere, Moondragon struggles to maintain her sanity while the Dragon of the Moon continues to try and corrupt her with promises to look after her. As Heather struggles further, the Dragon manages to convince her to call out to the Beyonder, a being that can give her the power that she craves. When she calls out to the Beyonder, the one from Beyond appears before her and asks her if she has asked to be his disciple. She agrees and asks to be made whole, seeing a ring on her finger (a physical manifestation of the Dragon of the Moon) he asks her if she is married. When she tells him that she is not, he asks her what to do with the ring. She tells him that it is his to do as he sees fit. The Beyonder decides that it would be best on her finger as a token for being his disciple and returns it to her finger before teleporting away. Feeling a surge of power, Moondragon believes that she can do anything and that she can cleanse the Earth of all evil, and (as the Dragon of the Moon once more takes possession of her) decides that the first order in that regard would be to destroy the Defenders.
As Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four tries to call the Defenders to warn them, they are beginning to regroup to battle Moondragon once more. They are surprised when Heather arrives seemingly free of the Dragon of the Moon. However, when Gargoyle attempts to come to her aid, she reveals her ruse. She plucks Issac's soul and tosses it away, using her power to transform his lifeless body into a more monstrous form to become a new host body for the Dragon of the Moon. As the Defenders attempt to fight back, they fail and Moondragon causes their headquarters to collapse on them. In the confusion, Candy is teleported away, and Warren -- even though he is still blind -- follows after her. Finding himself in some weird dimensional void, the Angel is happy that his vision is restored, but is shocked to see that Moondragon has suspended Candy in the air with a knife pressed to her throat that threatens to slice it wide open. He dives at Heather and the two are teleported away.
Pulling himself free from the rubble, Beast finds himself before the suspended animation chanber containing Chris Larmouth. Moondragon has removed the power cable, allowing his body to thaw and become victim to the organism living inside him to grow and feed on his body. When Hank attempts to attack Heather, he is also teleported away. Likewise, Iceman revives to find himself before the oxygen tents of Carol Faber and Danny Milligan, the two humans that were the templates for his former teammate Cloud. Moondragon has torn the tents open threatening their lives as well. When Bobby tries to attack her, he is also teleported away.
The trio of mutants emerge from three doorways to find the other Defenders before Moondragon, the Dragon-possessed Gargoyle, and the Dragon of the Moon. As Hank, Warren, and Bobby try to make up their minds what to do, the Interloper and the others resume their attacks individually but are once more fought off. Deciding a combined attack would be necessary to stop Moondragon, the Interloper asks Valkyrie to merge her life force with his and direct it at Moondragon. Valkyrie does so, however the power is still not enough and they convince Manslaughter and Andromeda to lend their life forces as well, even though it will mean all of their deaths. When the three former X-Men decide if they should help their endangered friends or give their life forces up as well, Valkyrie tells them to be Defenders and save their allies.
Rushing to their aid, Angel saves Candy, Hank rescues Chris, and Iceman rescues Carol and Danny. As they pass back through the portal, there is a flash of light and they are shocked to see that their comrades -- along with Moondragon and the Gargoyle -- have been reduced to statues made of ash. As they come to terms with their friends' sacrifice, they are surprised to see that Chris, Carol and Danny have been restored to full health. Carol and Danny explain that they were contacted by Moondragon, who explains that the Beyonder's plan was to have Heather -- in the throes of her own orchestrated death -- save those she had intended to endanger under the power of the Dragon of the Moon. As Moondragon's statue crumbles to dust, the surviving Defenders are about to leave when Beast's loyal pet Sassafras runs to him. Beast picks up the gentle creature and tells it that they have to go and mourn some real heroes.
Secret Wars II continues in Secret Wars II #8...
- As advertised on the cover, this is the final issue of Defenders (Volume) 1.
Links and References
- Grand Comics Database: The Defenders 
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