The Defenders v. The X-Men #3
Writer: John Flint
Webmaster: Liam Gibbs
Changeling began to sweat as, her body an almost perfectly ovular
cocoon, the werewolf trapped within her began to slow down his
slashings. She continued to pummel him with hardened hammer-fists
formed from various parts of her body, mass tightly packed in the
absence of any muscle or bone as her pliable bodily cells contorted
and twisted to her will.
"It's about time," She finally said, as the werewolf stopped and
passed out with a thud. She reshaped herself, returning to normal
human form, and looked down at the unconscious man at her feet,
wearing nothing but a torn pair of pants. He was a bit skinny for her
tastes, but not bad overall. The scar on his face was oddly
"Changeling!" Storm's voice; Changeling turned her head and with it,
her neck stretched out, her eyes widening to take in more light. The
X-Men's leader was fighting with a white-haired white woman who was
throwing electricity at her, scorching the trees and grass with narrow
"No problems, boss-lady," Changeling said as her legs telescoped to
send her hurtling forward towards the two combatants. Until the recent
team reshuffling, Andrea had never known Ororo. She quickly found that
she enjoyed working with Storm and admired her greatly. Even without
her powers, if she was having trouble with her foe, it was a foe worth
caution; Changeling landed several yards away, collapsing into a
puddle as her legs zipped forward to catch up to the rest of her,
before she reconfigured herself back into a human shape.
Not caring to be double-teamed, especially against such physically
aggressive enemies, Clea threw a quick vertigo spell at the Changeling
before she could engage her. Changeling squirmed and squished as she
lurched, trying and failing to maintain her equilibrium. She
collapsed, slinking down and unraveling.
While Clea watched her successful spell, however, Storm took the
opportunity and delivered a roundhouse kick to the face which
effectively knocked the sorceress out. Storm ran over to her teammate,
finding her body sluggish now that the Transmode virus was dead-weight
on her body, thanks to Clea's anti-technology spell which momentarily
disabled it. The mechanical parts in her body weighed more than she
"How are we doing?" Storm turned to see the Scarlet Witch walking up
"Andrea is down," Storm and Scarlet Witch both looked down to see the
Changeling's fluidlike chest moving up and down, "but she and I have
subdued our combatants. Can you get in touch with the others?"
Scarlet Witch attempted a quick mental-scan of the island; though no
world-class psychic, mystics learned to develop whatever meager
psionic talents were theirs. "Guido and Clarice are out cold. Antoine
is still dead-even with his opponent, halfway across the island."
"Can you--" Storm started to ask.
"Read their minds? No," Scarlet Witch admitted, looking down at Clea.
"Their mental shields are just as strong as ours. Maybe even stronger.
We would have to bring Charles or someone of his caliber along to
unlock their secrets."
"Ahem," A woman cleared her throat, and the two X-Men turned to see
Topaz standing with her arms crossed. "I take it that you are two more
of this group who sent a child out to fight for them?"
"Be careful, Ororo," Scarlet Witch whispered to her teammate, "I can
sense that this one is much stronger than she looks. Magic;
Topaz smiled. "You soldiers are outclassed."
She gave a quick look up into the air behind the X-Men, and the
Scarlet Witch and Storm could both feel the change in the air, the
static hiss of energy.
The Silver Surfer had returned to the fray.
[The Xavier Academy for Higher Learning.]
"Cable has the children safely hidden away in the Danger Room,"
Charles Xavier announced, as sweat slid down his slick head. "I
realize this may not be the best time, Stephen, but if you could
explain what we're dealing with..."
Doctor Strange held out his arms before the doorway to Xavier's
office, a field of red energy replacing the door which had just been
shattered in the demons' attempt to enter. "I'm afraid not at this
moment, Charles. It requires my full concentration to maintain this
"They... they just went nuts," Dice Preston explained, hunched over on
the carpet, back against the desk, arms wrapped around his legs pulled
up to his body. "I went down to bring Longshot his food, and... and
they were... demons?"
"That appears to be the case, yes," Valkyrie said, sitting beside him,
holding Dragonfang on her other side. Though she craved action, she
understood that Dr. Strange was attempting to avoid any unnecessary
bloodshed, and that this boy, in his current state, would not last a
minute in battle with the demon-possessed mutants on the other side of
the door. "Have no fear; there is good reason Dr. Strange is the
Sorcerer Supreme of this realm, and I am the Chooser of the Slain!"
"You... you what?" Dice's face widened in horror. "You kill people?"
"Only if they deserve it," Valkyrie replied, "but my primary duty is
to escort those who die in worthy battle to Valhalla, to await Ragnarok."
"Those who die in worthy battle," Dice laughed, nervous and afraid of
things both outside and within the office, "must not have much of
"Sadly, no," Valkyrie agreed, and gave him a gentle grin, as it seemed
to lift his spirits somewhat.
"I can't contact their minds," Xavier informed Strange, "something is
clouding it over, whatever it is that has possessed them."
"I'm not surprised," Dr. Strange said, as the corner of his cloak of
levitation wiped his brow for him. "I'm going to attempt a
counter-spell which might serve to--"
The power of the force-shield weakened for a split-second before it
was pummeled with a beam of solid ice which smashed through it and
hammered the frail Dr. Strange, sending him flying back into Xavier's
desk, sliding past its surface and slamming into his swiveling chair.
"Hey, Baldy," demon-possessed Iceman snarled, licking his icy lips
with a long, forked ice-tongue, "Guess what we're having for dinner? You!"
"Stay here," Valkyrie advised Dice, as she hurled herself into battle
with the demon-possessed Iceman, rushing him with Dragonfang to keep
the others, Longshot, Psylocke, and Chamber, out of the office.
"It won't be long now," Baron Mordo said to the half-delirious woman
strapped to the table. She had no idea where she was or what was going
on; she barely could remember the essential details of her own life,
as they seemed like a long-forgotten dream now. All she knew was the
burning pain inside her, the disgusting, deviant lifeform growing
within her rapidly expanding belly.
Unknown to the baron, the Adversary watched him and the pregnancy he
observed. Being a mystical entity, he could see with a sight beyond
the ocular, and saw the demon-fetus developing within her. He saw what
it was and what it would mean, if it were allowed to survive.
The baby was Dormammu, lord of the Dark Dimension.
If allowed to be born, he would gain a powerful foothold in this
dimension, this dimension which the Adversary had been looking to turn
to his own advantage for so very long. He struggled with the
implications as he looked on it.
He could not simply kill it himself, as he had made an agreement with
it, through the baron. Their deal was to mutual benefit, to destroy
the X-Men and the Defenders, those foes most likely to undo their
Now, the Adversary realized, it was in his best interest to see the
Defenders live and thrive, to stop Dormammu from hatching in this
dimension. Thus, he concocted a plot; Chaos is Chaos, but a being who
was Chaos as the Adversary was could easily manipulate Chaos towards
his own sinister ends.
And thus it was that the improbable was made probable and the
invisible strings that kept the Adversary and Baron Mordo's macabre
spells entwined began to vibrate and eventually to unravel.
The spells burst forth, spitting apart, and the Adversary looked on in
approval as he faded from one scene to reemerge in another time and place.
The Silver Surfer and Topaz advanced on Scarlet Witch and Storm, who
stood back-to-back with nowhere to go, the conclusion seemingly
Scarlet Witch faced the Surfer, and began to use her hex power to make
the improbable much more probable around him. The Silver Surfer could
feel the changes in the dynamics of the space around him but thought
little of it.
"What can you do against me?" Topaz asked Storm. "Without any powers?"
Storm tried to lunge, but had to roll away as fire spat forth from the
ground before her. Topaz tried to suppress a wicked laugh, a light
chuckle emanating from her throat with unusual gravel. "You're
finished before you've even started. You should have at least thought
to bring guns."
"I need no such weapons to deal with you," Storm announced as she
suddenly pounced with the grace and speed of a wild cat, tackling
Topaz and sending them both rolling down a hill before Topaz could
react, the rolls keeping her disoriented.
"I am returned," Rintrah announced as he set down for a landing near
the Scarlet Witch and Silver Surfer. He prepared to open up his amulet
once more upon her, when he was suddenly tackled from the side by a
dripping wet, suitably annoyed Strong Guy.
Elsewhere, Blink had awoken and was looking for her teammates.
Following a trail of destruction, she came across Jack Russell just as
he was groaning back to consciousness, the pain in his head erupting
into a full-scale transformation into his were-beast form.
Blink did not move as the werewolf howled and scrutinized her. She was
to be his next meal. He could smell the fear on her as, powerless, she
could not flee in any direction. The werewolf leapt, jaws wide to snap
at her neck...
Blink closed her eyes and winced, ready for the pain to come.
The werewolf yowled in pain and Blink took another two seconds to open
her eyes again.
The werewolf rolled on the grass, clawing at a silver crescent lodged
in his chest. It would leave a scar.
Blink smiled as she saw her newest teammate, La Nuit, striding
forward. She paused as she saw the silver-armored foe he'd been
fighting for the last twenty minutes walking by his side.
"Do not worry," La Nuit advised her as he formed a cushy chair of
Darkforce energy for her to slump down into, "this is the Moon Knight.
We have been tricked, Clarice. We are fighting the Defenders."
"Oh," Blink said, relaxing in the chair while Moon Knight took the
fight to the werewolf, punching him repeatedly in the face and telling
him what a bad dog he was. "Who're they?"
"They are the foot-soldiers of Doctor Strange," La Nuit said with a
grin, "they came for the very same reason that we came here for. I
think that we need to find the others."
"I think you and I should be able to handle separating the two teams,"
Changeling said, as she strolled up to them, rapidly shifting forms.
"It is getting dark," La Nuit said, looking up at the sky, "I do not
believe that shall be a problem, Changeling."
"You can call me Andrea," She said.
"Very well," La Nuit corrected himself, "Andrea."
[The Xavier Academy for Higher Learning.]
"Keep moving!" The Valkyrie practically carried the semi-conscious Dr.
Strange out the front door with her, as Charles Xavier and Dice
Preston ran through the lawn towards the front gates. The
demon-possessed X-Men had blocked off the other exits with
ice-barricades, apparently wanting them to go this way.
"Something is wrong," demon-Longshot said, "I feel my presence slipping."
"I feel it, too," demon-Psylocke growled, "filthy mutants! I'll tear
"No," Charles Xavier said, planting his feet firmly on the soil, "I
don't believe that you will."
The demon-possessed X-Men strained against the mental assault, as the
Adversary and Baron Mordo's magics began to dissipate and the demons
found their hold on the mutants slipping by the second.
"Why?" Dr. Strange asked in a voice barely above a whisper. "What
The Adversary appeared at the gate, nearly twenty feet tall. He held
out his palms and the demons' essences were sucked into them in a
mighty swirling spiral of smoke.
"The charade is over," Adversary declared, "I have come for my prize."
Iceman, Chamber, Psylocke, and Longshot all collapsed, exhausted from
the demon possession. Dice looked on in fear, barely able to maintain
consciousness, while Dr. Strange considered spells, Valkyrie prepared
to send her allies to Valhalla, and Charles Xavier steadied his mind.
Suddenly, a portal interrupted the showdown, screeching, exploding
with light and energy and darkness and truth and lies and hellfire, as
the combined forces of the X-Men and the Defenders burst forth, their
combined resources working to overcome the still-degrading spells of
"The Adversary!" Scarlet Witch immediately recognized him as they
returned to the earth.
The Adversary laughed. He could fight them all off now, of course,
with everyone in such a weakened state, but it would not suit him to
destroy the Defenders, and the baron would be on to him if he were to
leave only that non-team alive.
"A misdirection," He announced, before vanishing in a burst of yellow
"I am sorry we could not help you," Rintrah told Storm, as his own
spells proved useless against the Transmode infection in her body.
"It is alright," Storm said, "I have had to weather worse curses, and
I have persevered. I shall do the same now."
"Can I borrow your board sometime?" Guido asked the Silver Surfer, who
was not amused.
"My powers are back," Blink announced before blinking out.
"So," Dice asked the Valkyrie as they walked towards the others, "are
we going to team up again in the future?"
"Perhaps," the Valkyrie said with a sad look on her face, attempting
to make a smile. "We shall see."
"Cool," Dice said.
The rest of the X-Men and Defenders socialized as Xavier and Strange
shook hands, apologizing for the confusion. "We'll have to configure
some way of verifying a mental summons," Xavier suggested, "something
our enemies would not think of."
"I agree," Strange said, "We'll discuss it on that mountain pass
"Certainly," Xavier agreed.
The Valkyrie sliced Dragonfang through the air before her, opening up
a new tear in the fabric of space and time, and the Defenders made
their way to it. Jack Russell made a longing face, as though he had
something to say before thinking the better of it, and they walked
through the hole before it sealed itself back up as though by magic.
"So," Strong Guy started, "Umm... what was that all about, again?"
"The Adversary is toying with us," Scarlet Witch said. "Nothing more."
"I think he has something big planned for us," Storm said, looking up
into the sky as thunder sounded, a few moist droplets quickly becoming
a shower. "We shall be ready for whatever fate has in store for us."
[To be continued, in The Uncanny X-Men & The Defenders.]