Synopsis for “The Hand Closes!”
Continued from last issue…
Wong and Clea are interrupted from their meditations when the phone rings. Wong answers it just as Dr. Strange and the other Defenders teleport back to the Sanctum Sanctorum following their battle against Hyppokri in Israel. Passing the phone to Dr. Strange, the master of the mystic arts learns that it is Captain America. He, Iron Man, Beast, and Wonder Man of the Avengers were called out to investigate the disappearance of the entire town of Citrusville Florida. They decided to call in the Defenders when they found a six fingered hand shaped crated in it’s place and decided the threat was more up the Defenders line of work.
Discussing it with the Defenders, Dr. Strange explains that Citrusville is near the Nexus of all Realities and that the Six-Fingered Hand seeks to disrupt all of existence. They all agree to go and attempt to stop this menace from happening except for Nighthawk. Finally taking into consideration his current crippled-by-day state he had decided to leave active duty with the Defenders and before departing tells the group that he will try to help them out whenever he can. After he is taken away by his hired nurse and chauffeur back to his mansion.
While at the ruins of Patsy Walker’s New Jersey home, some young boys playing in the rubble come across her Shadow Cloak. One of them puts it on and soon finds himself teleported away and replaced with a reptilian demon that scares the other children away.
The Defenders teleport to Citrusville where they meet with the Avengers, who report that the crater is getting bigger each moment and that at it’s current rate of growth it will swallow up the United States by nightfall. Given time to investigate the situation, the Defenders rush to the base of the crater to examine it. While there, Hellcat once more succumbs to the evil influences of the Six-Fingered Hand and scratches Daimon’s face. When Daimon refrains from striking her, she mocks him before she eventually breaks down in tears once more. With Devil-Slayer detecting a strange presence, Dr. Strange uses his magic to reveal a rift in the Nexus of Realities that risks to destroy all creation. Before they can deal with this problem, they are confronted by Unnthinnk, one of the Six-Fingered Hand who has possessed the Man-Thing, transforming him into a gigantic monstrosity.
As the Defenders attack the creature to no avail, Hellcat hears a distant call and walks away from the battle. Dr. Strange realizes that the only means of stopping Unnthinnk is internally and sends his astral form into the Man-Thing’s body. There he faces against Unnthinnk, feigning weakness when in reality he was using his magical powers to free the consciousness of Ted Sallis, within the Man-Thing. Sallis uses his dominion over the Man-Thing’s body to drive Unnthinnk out. With the battle over, Dr. Strange overs to keep his consciousness on the forefront, but Sallis refuses not wishing to live a conscious life as a muck monster if there is no sure fire way to cure him of his condition.
Returning to his body, Dr. Strange and the Defenders watch as the Man-Thing returns to normal and wanders off into the swamp once more. In the aftermath, Devil-Slayer notices that his Shadow Cloak has been taken and Hellcat has gone missing. Deciding to press forward, the group travel into the rift in the Nexus of Realities. They are guided through the Nexus by a six fingered hand, leading them to a hell like realm that is a transformed Citrusville where they come face to face with the gathered Six-Fingered Hand. Their leader, Maya, introduces himself and shows off his captors: The Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Clea and Silver Surfer.
This story is continued next issue…