The Dynamic Defenders #34: "Team-Up"
Reborn from the trauma of Onslaught, The Defenders; Doctor Strange,
Andromeda, Gargoyle, Valkyrie, and Ultron-12 reform to fight the
threats of the world that many would not know about. Saviors of the
world in the shadow of many heroes.
[New York City...]
"Another of them mutie terrorists!" A man named Ben pulled out his
pocket knife. "Bet ya plan on messin' me up, huh? You done messed
with the wrong man, freak!"
The large, gray-clad entity whom the man was speaking to stood
there, unresponsive, watching the man.
"Your kind is always trying to mess with us decent folk, ain't ya?"
The man slowly advanced towards the gray-clad being, "All the
terrorist attacks your type do... you freaks were probably behind
that whole 'Sirius 2' thing, weren't ya?" (1)
The man named Ben plunged the knife into the other being's chest.
The knife snapped upon impact.
At that moment, a police officer came into the alley, shining his
flashlight down it, piercing the veil of darkness. Ben saw that the
gray-clad man was wearing something like a combination of Captain
America, Iron Man, and Hawkeye's costumes. The face had no nose or
mouth. Probably a robot, not a mutant as he had previously
"What's going on here?" The officer asked as he quickly approached.
The Super-Adaptoid had patiently listened to the mutant-hater's
speech. Recently, he had lost his control mechanism (2) and had been
flying across the country, devoid of purpose. Thanks to this man, he
finally had one.
He was to destroy humanity.
The Super-Adaptoid lifted an arm up, pointing straight towards Ben.
Emulating Iron Man, he fired a high-intensity repulsor ray through
the center of Ben's chest. The ray went through with little
resistance and struck the police officer behind Ben, blowing his
chest open as well.
Ben looked up from the ground, his hands trying desperately to stop
the flow of blood quickly evacuating his body. The Super-Adaptoid
stared down at him passionlessly.
Then, he stepped down on Ben's head with the strength of the Hulk.
[Meanwhile, in Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum...]
Wong presented Namor and Machine Man to the Defenders and Doctor
Strange. "Thank you, Wong. That will be all."
"Thank you," Wong replied. Doctor Strange respected his request for
tonight off. Everyone needed a person day off, occasionally. The
Sorcerer Supreme could acknowledge that, even if he wasn't allowed
to do so himself.
"The Order brings good tidings," Namor spoke, "we have succeeded in
the mission you sent us to Detroit for. (3) In the course of said
mission, we have acquired a new member, Machine Man."
"Hello, Doctor Strange," Machine Man bowed, "It is an honor to serve
with your Order."
"Thank you," Doctor Strange said. The Defenders still weren't sure
why Doctor Strange needed two teams anyway, but whatever...
"It's good to see you again, King," Andromeda spoke.
"Aye," Namor responded, "the pleasure is mutual."
"You're injured," Machine Man observed, scanning Gargoyle.
"Nothing serious," Gargoyle replied, "I'll be fine in a day or two."
"Might I ask what he's doing here?" Namor asked, pointing to Ultron-
"He's a Defender now," Doctor Strange explained, "Don't worry, he's
one of us. (4) Unlike the other Ultrons, he's actually good."
Namor wasn't sure of what to say and thus remained silent. Machine
Man was also unsure of Ultron-12, but assumed that the Defenders
knew what they were doing.
"So, where is the Hulk?" Valkyrie inquired.
"He said he had some personal business to attend to," Namor
replied, "though I haven't the slightest as to what it might be."
The Defenders and the Order quit conversing as something outside
made a large noise, like ...something metal slamming into a
"Our work is never done, is it?" Gargoyle sighed.
Though still exhausted from all the recent exertions he had
performed, Doctor Strange got up and led the two teams out of the
building. "Let's try to keep it away from my Sanctum Sanctorum this
time, shall we?"
"You're the boss," Gargoyle replied as he took to the air outside
Everyone stopped a few steps out of the Sanctum Sanctorum as they
saw their foe. It was the Super-Adaptoid... with gray 'skin'?
"Hulk," Namor blurted.
The teams watched as the Super-Adaptoid tore a building down with
his bare hands. All the pieces of buildings, personal items, and
people came cascading down together. The Super-Adaptoid fired his
repulsors into the conglomeration of nouns, blowing some things up
and setting most of the rest of it on fire.
"He's trying to kill them," Andromeda observed.
"No, he's not trying. He's succeeding," Doctor Strange
proclaimed, "Let's stop him, Defenders!"
"It's no 'Avengers Assemble,' but it shall suffice," Namor replied
as he took to the sky. As the Earth-bound Defenders rushed towards
the Super-Adaptoid, Namor and the Gargoyle dived at him from the sky.
The Super-Adaptoid quickly turned and fired an explosive arrow
directly in their path, momentarily blinding them. He then used Iron
Man's jet boots to fly up to them and the Hulk's strength to knock
them down, into the crowd of Defenders.
"Allow me," Machine Man stepped forward and canceled gravity for the
Super-Adaptoid. The Super-Adaptoid studied Machine Man for a moment
before undoing the Machine Man's work and returning to the ground.
The Super-Adaptoid then stretched out his arm with the Machine Man's
ability and punched him with the combined strength of the Hulk and
Iron Man. Machine Man's face chipped as he went flying into a
Gargoyle tried firing a bio-blast at the Super-Adaptoid to no
effect. The Super-Adaptoid found that the Gargoyle was apparently a
mystical being of some sort, and could not as of yet assimilate his
Ultron-12 jumped at the Super-Adaptoid, firing his encephalo-ray at
him, also to no effect. The two robotic lifeforms fell to the
ground, wrestling with each other, landing in the flaming heap of
The Defenders watched as the pile of flaming debris shifted side to
side, back and forth, up and down. After several minutes, there was
a pause. Silence. No movement.
"Did... did they take each other down?" Gargoyle asked, peering at
The Defenders collectively nearly jumped back as Ultron-12 went
flying straight up out of the pile. Quickly, he faded from view.
"Did he just punch him into... orbit?" Gargoyle asked as the entire
group tried to see any hint of their fellow Defender coming down.
The Super-Adaptoid emerged from the rubble, now a shining, silver
coating over him. Adamantium.
"This just got harder," Namor deduced.
Meanwhile, Machine Man tried to get up, but his systems were still
too low for him to realign his balance circuits. He was stuck there,
Namor and Andromeda attacked from the sides. Though they couldn't
pierce him, perhaps they could smash some internal part, assuming he
The Super-Adaptoid again used Machine Man's antigravity abilities to
propel Namor and Andromeda into the air. Namor was able to quickly
stop himself in midair and flew over to Andromeda, catching her and
bringing her back down to a building top.
The Super-Adaptoid looked to Valkyrie and Gargoyle, now preparing to
attack. He fired an encephalo-ray at each of them, knocking them
Doctor Strange was now the only one left. The Super-Adaptoid
couldn't take on his abilities, since they were mystical in nature,
but he didn't need to...
Namor covered the Super-Adaptoid's eyes from behind and slammed his
head into the ground. The Super-Adaptoid fired a full-intensity
repulsor ray, which slammed full force into Namor's stomach,
knocking him back several feet in the air.
"You think to subdue a Prince of the Blood?" Namor growled,
indignant as the steam rose from his stomach.
Doctor Strange knew that he could be the deciding factor in this
battle, but wasn't yet sure exactly how to go about it. Transport
the Super-Adaptoid to another dimension? Confine him within the
Crimson Bands of Cytorrak? Try to convince him of the error of his
ways with the Eye of Agamotto?
Machine Man finally rebooted his systems and discovered that Ultron-
12 was missing from the battlefield. Since the Super-Adaptoid was
now metallic, presumably adamantium-covered, it was safe to assume
that the Super-Adaptoid had fought Ultron-12 and defeated him
What power would he have used?
Machine Man canceled gravity for himself and took off towards outer
space in search of the new Defender.
The Super-Adaptoid slammed both fists into Namor's face, spider-
webbing large cracks in the ground beneath him. The Super-Adaptoid
was now using the combined strength of Ultron-12 and the incredible
Hulk, too much for even the Avenging Son himself to contend with
while he was on land.
Doctor Strange summoned a shield to keep the Super-Adaptoid from
reaching Namor again. "While I appreciate a temporary respite,"
Namor said as he yanked his bleeding face out of the ground, "the
Avenging Son can fight his own battles."
"Somehow, I sense that the spell I used against Ultron won't work on
this one," Doctor Strange informed the fellow founding
Defender, "but it's the best shot we have, so..."
"No," Machine Man replied, slowly coming closer to the ground with
Ultron-12 beside him, "I know of another way that may work, and
would not require you to overexert yourself."
Ultron-12 leapt to one side of the Super-Adaptoid, grabbing its arm.
Namor grabbed the other, keeping him restrained. For a few minutes,
The Machine Man touched his hand against the Super-Adaptoid's face,
connections clicking into place between their hardware. Machine Man
saw that the Super-Adaptoid was without purpose and, due to some
unexplainable malfunction, desired to serve some purpose in living
and finally realized it when the man in the alley with the knife
The Machine Man erased the memory of that man in all of the Super-
Adaptoid's memory files. He was almost done erasing memory of the
properties of adamantium and the Machine Man's powers, when the
Super- Adaptoid finally broke free of Namor and Ultron-12.
Everyone stood still for a moment, waiting to see what everyone else
would do, how everyone else would react. The Super-Adaptoid was
again without purpose, again desiring one.
He flew off, still possessing Machine Man and Ultron-12's abilities
Machine Man stopped Namor from following. "Let him go. Even an
automaton must find his own destiny."
1. See recent issues of ROM.
2. In The Incredible Hulk issue 41.
3. See The Order issue 15.
4. See recent issues of this book!