- Born of man and demon, despised by both, I shall at last triumph at the game of dominance and submission!
- -- Vera Gemini
Appearing in "Xenogenesis Day of the Demons Part 3: The Revenge of Vera Gemini!"
- Dollar Bill
- United States Air Force
- Francis Ford Coppola (Mentioned)
- Hela (Mentioned)
- Ort-Beast (Mentioned)
- Medusa (Mentioned)
- Vishanti (Mentioned)
- Seraphim (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- New York State
- A temple of the Agents of Fortune.
- Nighthawk's jet plane
- F-15 Eagles. Aircraft of the United States Air Force
Synopsis for "Xenogenesis Day of the Demons Part 3: The Revenge of Vera Gemini!"
The story opens at the Sanctum Sanctorum. Nighthawk's jet plane is hovering above the building, pressed to emergency service. Within the building, Dollar Bill, Hellcat, Hulk, Nighhawk, Valkyrie, and Wong, surround the unconscious and immobile body of Dr. Strange. Dollar Bill is surprised to learn that Strange is not dead after all, as his absent spirit is sojourning in his astral form. However, the Defenders believe that if his spirit fails to return to his body, Strange may truly die. Wong suggests transporting Strange's physical form to the location of his astral form, in order to reunite them. Wong admits, however, that he is unschooled in the mystic arts, and uncertain whether his suggested method will work.
Valkyrie recalls Strange mentioning that the Cult is located in Mexico, so she suggests traveling there. Dollar Bill volunteers for the mission, though Nighthawk has no idea who Dollar Bill is. Hellcat supports the idea of Dollar Bill joining them, because she thinks the man is cute. Valkyrie agrees to take her college friend with her, but only if he swears to avoid danger while on the mission. Dollar Bill agrees with her terms. The Hulk transports the body of Strange to the jet plane. Wong is somewhat disappointed that other people are trying to serve his master and planet Earth, while he is left behind and left alone.
The scene shifts to the temple in Mexico, where the members of the Cult are chanting. An arcane pyramid glows as the chant reaches its climax. These chanters are actually unwitting pawns, who merely lust for power. They are actually the victims, betrayed and offered as sacrifice. When the pyramid explodes, demons arrive on Earth. The dazed and exhausted human chanters are brutally slain by the demons.
The Demons celebrate their freedom after untold ages of exile. They want to conquer this world, to rule again, to destroy, and to feast on human blood. Vera Gemini celebrates that she managed to achieve in a single day what the demon overlords failed to achieve for eons. She prepares to triumph in an ancient game of dominance and submission. She gloats that Dr. Strange is trapped in a demon form, and Devil-Slayer is unable to stop them without others by his side. The Demon overlords themselves do not yet suspect the full extend of her duplicity, but she has plans against them.
The scene shifts to the Defenders and their jet plane. They are flying over the mountains of Mexico, but they are uncertain on how to locate Strange in such a big country. Valkyrie recalls Strange mentioning the coastal jungle region of the country. Dollar Bill is filming their journey, and is planning to create and release a film called "The Dynamic Defenders". Nighthawk does not trust Dollar Bill, though Hellcat likes the man. The jet is soon followed by F-15 Eagles, aircraft belonging to the United States Air Force.
A commanding officer order the pilots to shoot down the jet plane, claiming that it is transporting spies in possession of critical defense secrets. The officer is Belathauzer in human guise. The Defendrers soon realize what is going on. Hulk is not surprised, as "soldiers always attack Hulk sooner or later". Nighthawk tries to concentrate on how to handle the situation. Hulk replies that Nighthawk is neither smart, nor their boss. Hulk decides to take the initiative and jumps off the jet plane. He attacks the F-15 Eagles and manages to destroy them. However, he is unable to stop the two sidewinder missiles they had fired at the jet plane. The jet is destroyed and Belathauzer gloats.
The Defenders have actually managed to escape the jet plane without injury. Nighthawk uses his jet pack to fly, and transports Dr. Strange. The others are using parachutes, and Dollar Bill has continued filming with his camera. They have no idea why the Air Force attacked them, though Hellcat vows to never date flyboys again.
The scene shifts to Devil-Slayer, who is locked in combat with the Agent of Fortune. They use their Shadow Cloaks to teleport across dimensions while fighting. Payne tries to convince the Agent that the leaders of the Cult are using him. The Agent does not believe him. He informs Payne that his cause is already lost, and his standard has fallen. The Agent explains that Xenogenesis has already begun, and demons have returned to Earth. Devil-Slayes sees the demons with his own eyes, and questions whether all his efforts have been in vain. He also questions whether mankind is doomed to eternal slavery, with the Demon hordes as its masters. The scene ends.
The scene shifts to a casino in Acapulco. Five demon lords in human guise are gambling in the roulette, with Vera Gemini as the croupier. The game will decide which of them will have the right to rule and to hold dominion over the Earth. They believe gambling is a civilized way to settle their differences. The result of the roulette is double zero, and the house wins. Vera as the croupier represents the house, and claims dominion over the demon lords. She warns them that they will share the fate of humanity.
Elsewhere, the Agent of Fortune starts a counterattack and manages to strike the Devil-Slayer with a weapon. He suspects that Payne is aiming to rejoin the Cult, and is determined to best his rival. A stunned Payne is surrounded by demons, who attack him. The Agent mockingly claims that Payne has fought his last crusade.
The scene shifts to the Defenders, who are wandering in the Mexican jungle. Nighthawk is worried about Dollar Bill's safety. He fears that if Dollar Bill gets hurt or killed, his family could sue Kyle Richmond and claim every dime he owns. The others are more focuses on their war against the Cult. Dollar Bill locates and films a flying demon. Hulk decides to wander off on his own, and Hellcat follows him. Nighthawk fails to stop them. Nighthawk questions what is the point of being the Defenders' leader, when nobody actually obeys him. Valkyrie comments that it takes more than mere desire to earn authority. Secretly, she worries that her preoccupation with personal problems is negatively affecting the team. She thinks she should have claimed command of the team when Dr. Strange offered it to her. Dollar Bill, Nighthawk, and Valkyrie suddenly come across the astral form of Dr. Strange. It has taken physical form, and merged with a number of demons. The demons are under the control of Vera Gemini, and prepare to attack the Defenders.
The scene shifts to the Hulk, who has located a large group of demons and attacks it. He transports Hellcat with him and she joins the fight. Hulk and Hellcat complain about the demons' foul smell as they fight. A flying demon captures Hellcat, and Hulk fails to notice what happened. The Hulk comes across Devil-Slayer, who is single-handedly fighting an army of demons. Payne asks for the Hulk's help, but Hulk is still angry with him. Hulk threatens to fight and crush Devil-Slayer. The Agent of Fortune comments that even Payne's allies are turning against him.
Hellcat has managed to defeat the flying demon, and chooses the Agent of Fortune as her next opponent. Based on his words, she believes him to be a leading figure in the Xenogenesis. As Hellcat and the Agent fight, she senses a psychic affinity with his Shadow Cloak. She plans to claim it for herself, and has already clawed loose the clasp. Elsewhere, Devil-Slayer manipulates the Hulk into toppling an obelisk. The plan works, and the obelisk falls on the demons below. Meanwhile, Hellcat defeats the Agent and takes possession of the Shadow Cloak.
As the battle continues, the demons flee in fear of the Hulk. Devil-Slayer wonders about the whereabouts of the other Defenders. Meanwhile, Nighthawk and Valkyrie fight the demonic version of Dr. Strange. Dollar Bill attempts to protect the true body of Strange from the demonic version. Valkyrie sees the eyes of the demonic Strange and discovers that he is pleading for death. He wants her to kill him. She struggles with the decision, but soon uses Dragonfang to deliver a killing blow. The "death" destroys the demonic form and releases Strange's spirit. He returns to his real body and thanks his friends. Dollar Bill announces that he has filmed the entire experience, and that he has risked his life for his art.
Elsewhere, Hulk continues to fight demons, and seems to outclass his opponents. Vera Gemini arrives and offers survival and power to Devil-Slayer, if he agrees to join her side. He is tempted but turns down the offer. She strikes Payne with her optic blasts. Vera Gemini comments that she is stimulated by the sacrifice of dignity to degradation. She claims to thrive on torture, on suffering, on the bleak subversion of the soul. Such are her abnormal appetites. She vows that both Demonkind and mankind shall squirm and die slowly, according to her whim. Vera fails to notice Hellcat spying on her from within the temple. Hellcat plans to stop Vera, but actually fears the female demon.
The scene shifts to the other Defenders. Dr. Strange claims that Nighthawk is their only hope. He is supposedly the only one able to survive the demon dimension in physical form, to fly the full distance, and to get out in time with the Eye of Agamotto, before the alien environment kills him. Strange will accompany Nighthawk in astral form to offer instructions. Strange opens a portal to the Demon dimension and Nighthawk immediately enters. Nighthawk discovers there is no air for him to breath, only sulfur.
Nighthawk locates the giant Eye of Agamotto, which serves as a gateway to Earth. Legions of demons are still waiting to cross the gateway. Nighthawk briefly fights with the demons. Strange attempts to take control of the Eye, but the Eye does not respond to his simple counterspells. He fears that only an elaborate enchantment can reverse its growth to giant size. But Nighthawk would probably die before the completion of such an enchantment. Strange tries an elaborate spell anyway and they Eye shrinks to normal size. He instructs Nighthawk to grab it. Nighthawk obeys, but he is exhausted and passes out.
Back in Mexico, the demons have finally defeated the Hulk. Vera Gemini instructs her demon hordes not to kill Devil-Slayer and the Hulk, because she has other uses for them. As Vera speaks, Hellcat approaches her from behind. She covers Vera in the Shadow Cloak. Vera disappears, teleported to an unknown location.
Back in the Demon dimension, Nighthawk is still unconscious. The auto-pilot in his jet pack is returning him to Earth and safety. Dr. Strange is impressed with the "wizardry of science". With return of the Eye to Earth, the demons are returned to the Demon dimension. Xenogenesis has ended. Hellcat celebrates over her new Shadow Cloak. Hulk and Devil-Slayer recover from unconsciousness, and she hopes they will not start fighting again. The story ends.
- Dollar Bill mentions that he likes the films of Francis Ford Coppola (1939-). Coppola is an Italian-American film director, whose career started in the 1960s. He rose to prominence in the 1970s with the critical and commercial success of his films "The Godfather" (1972) and "The Godfather Part II" (1974). He was one of the most acclaimed film directors of the decade. His career has lasted for several decades, but he is considered semi-retired in the 2010s.
- Hellcat compares Vera Gemini to Medusa.
- Vera Gemini was simply teleported away and is apparently not dead. She may yet return.
- It is unclear what happened to Belathauzer, who was last seen in human form. He might be one of the unnamed demon lords who lost the gambling game to Vera Gemini. He might have returned to the Demon dimension with the other demons of Xenogenesis.
- The Agent of Fortune disappeared following his defeat by Hellcat. What happened to him is unclear. He was not identified as a demon.
- This is the last issue for a while featuring Dr. Strange and Devil-Slayer within the ranks of the Defenders. They both left the team in the intervening time between this issue and Defenders Vol 1 61 (July, 1978).
- The Marvel Chronology Project, which covers character appearances, includes the following information about the issue's characters:
- Devil-Slayer next appears in Defenders Vol 1 97 (July, 1981).
- Dr. Strange next appears in Doctor Strange Vol 2 29 (June, 1978).
- The Hulk next appears in Incredible Hulk Vol 1 223 (May, 1978).
- Nighthawk next appears in Doctor Strange Vol 2 29 (June, 1978).
- Wong next appears in Doctor Strange Vol 2 29 (June, 1978).
- The "Xenogenesis" story of Defenders #58-60 includes numerous tributes to the rock group Blue Oyster Cult. Vera Gemini, the name of the principle villain of the whole story, derives her name from a song, "the Revenge of Vera Gemini" (also the title of this issue). The first panel of page 15 shows Vera Gemini and several Xenogenesis lords disguised as humans surrounding a roulette table. This is a fairly meticulous homage to a promotional photo for the album "Agents of Fortune". In the panel, one of the demon lords exclaims "The stakes are life or death..." which resembles the tagline for the promo photo: "How very much there is at stake!" Furthermore, the name of Vera Gemini's cult "the Harvester of Eyes" is the name of a song from BOC's third album.
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