“The New Defender!”
A Steve Englehart, author * Sal Buscema, artist bonanza! Frank McLaughlin, inker/ A. Simek, letterer/ Petra Goldberg, colorist/ Roy Thomas, editor
It seems the Enchantress had little difficulty in freeing herself from Zeus’s custody after the events of Avengers #100. After leaving Olympus, she returned to Earth, and used her powers of enchantment to bend the sometime Avenger Black Knight to her will. The two of them returned to the plane of existence where the Executioner had deserted the Enchantress. She, along with the Black Knight, fought the forces of the Executioner’s new girlfriend, Casiolena, but were overwhelmed and captured.
Over the course of several adventures across several titles, Namor, the king of Atlantis, Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, and Hulk, the strongest one there is, have formed an uneasy friendship. The trio have found themselves repeatedly going on adventures together under the name “Defenders”, although they all deny that they are a team. After their most recent adventure, they find themselves before a magic castle, in the company of a young occultist named Barbara, whom they have accidentally driven insane. They wander into the castle, and somehow find themselves teleported to the plane where Casiolena rules.
The three friends, along with Barbara, soon find themselves captured, joining Enchantress and Black Knight in the dungeons. The Enchantress uses her magic to turn Barbara into the Enchantress’s old persona, the Valkyrie. The six superpowered beings combine their might and escape from the dungeon.
Again they fight the forces of Casiolena, and this time it culminates with the Enchantress killing her rival for the Executioner’s affection. With his lover dead, Executioner returns to the Enchantress’ side. The couple teleport away, but not before the Enchantress turns the Black Knight into stone.
Doctor Strange returns his comrades to Earth. The Black Knight remains a living statue, while Barbara remains the Valkyrie, a fusion persona, equal parts madwoman, warrior, ultra-feminist, and villain. First, she breaks Aragorn, the artificially created pegasus of the Black Knight. and then she asks to join the Defenders, only to be told that not only is the Defenders not a team, but that she would not be powerful enough to join if it were.