Synopsis for “The Wasteland”
The Enchantress has trapped Valkyrie’s spirit within her sword, Dragonfang, and explains that she retrieved Valkyrie’s original body from Nifflehim and will restore her spirit if the Defenders bring her the Rose of Purity. Hellcat, Hulk, Sub-Mariner, and Son of Satan agree to do Enchantress’ bidding. But Dr. Strange, Gargoyle, Beast and Spider-Man refuse—partly because they do not trust the Enchantress, and partly because restoring Val’s spirit to her body would cause Barbara Norriss’ spirit to be banished to limbo, which they cannot condone. Enchantress departs with her four Defenders, while Dr. Strange and his group make other plans. In search of a mate worthy of her love, the Enchantress has taken Love itself and given it a human form, but she needs the Rose to purify herself before she can consummate their relationship. Enchantress transports the four Defenders to a desolated world where the Rose exists. The Defenders find the Rose, along with two alien beings who have come to worship it as a god ever since their spaceship crashed on this world. It has filled them with love and purity, turning the barren wasteland into a vision of Paradise. When they learn that the Defenders have come to take the Rose, the male alien becomes enraged and attacks the Hulk, Namor, and Hellstrom. Hellcat intends to use Dragonfang to cut down the Rose when the female alien begs her to stop. She can sense that Hellcat and her friends are not evil, but without the Rose, she and her lover will lose their idyllic life. From within Dragonfang, Valkyrie’s spirit also urges Hellcat not to go through with it, and Hellcat realizes that they have been wrong and tells the other Defenders to stop fighting. When the Enchantress’ image appears and asks why they have not taken the Rose, the Defenders tell her that they have changed their minds. Angered, she refuses to return them to Earth and leaves them on the alien planet. Back in Asgard, an enraged Enchantress intends to take her wrath out on Valkyrie’s body, only to be stopped by Dr. Strange. It turns out that Love summoned Strange and his group of Defenders to the Enchantress’ lair, because it realized that the Enchantress was motivated by wickedness and greed, not by true love. However, the time spent in human form has made Love realize the value of female companionship, so it frees the spirit of Barbara Norriss from Valkyrie’s body and merges with her instead. With Norriss’ spirit gone, the Valkyrie’s true spirit reunites with her body and vows vengeance on the Enchantress.
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