Here is what I basically learned about the Defenders; the entire concept (of a loosely-affiliated team unlike the tight-knit Avengers and X-Men) is a lot more fun and neurotic than an organized team, that Steve Engelhart and David Anthony Kraft clearly wrote the best issues, and – most importantly – EVERYONE LOVES FORCING THEMSELVES ON VALKYRIE.
Valkyrie has the dubious honor of being Marvel’s first “liberated female” superhero, except that she actually was the Enchantress in a secret super magical disguise and was using women’s lib as a tool to trick the female Avengers into turning against their male partners. Listen, hey, I’ve read those old Avengers comics, I’m 100% behind Scarlet Witch and the Wasp slipping Ben-Gay into Black Panther’s speedos, those guys was DICKS.
Anyway, many a years later, Doctor Strange transferred the soul of a woman named Barbara Norriss – who had been trapped in an alien dimension and driven totally bazonkers – into the body of the Valkyroe FOR SOME REASON, from which point on Valkyrie became essentially the first dedicated member of the Defenders.
Valkyrie was supposed to be a new vanguard of female character, was probably a transparent piss-take on Wonder Woman (who’d been lauded earlier by Gloria Steinem and either awkwardly or ironically embraced by the feminist movement even as she was sort of a palsied mess of a character in the Seventies), and was the model of the self-possessed Seventies’ woman – except mostly she just got made out on by all her teammates when she wasn’t looking.
Unsurprisingly, the first guy to take advantage of Valkyrie was then-ex-Avenger Hawkeye, a guy you can imagine eats every meal at Hooters and has a subscription to both Maxim AND Stuff.
Naturally, Val ends up sort of liking the attention, because that’s … I dunno, irony? Base condescending tripe? Something?
Next up is teammate Nighthawk, who has to ruin a nice moment by reminding us all that he’s the privileged son of a billionaire and he can do whatever he wants.
Valkyrie starts to finally get sick of dudes cramming their tongues down her gullet like they’ve got worms on the end of ‘em and are angling for sturgeon in her abdomen. Problem is that this time the tonsil-hockey all-star in question is Barbara Norris’ (that’s Val’s braindead host body) estranged husband and full-time schmuck Jack.
Jack trying to get into Valkyrie’s pants turned into one of the single most annoying subplots in Defenders history – and this is the comic that brought you the elf with a gun (see a later entry) and an evil deer (ditto). Nick Fury eventually showed up to induct Jack into SHIELD, and then ideally shot him on the way back to that magic barbershop where SHIELD used to have their headquarters, and fed his body to the Hulk. I can dream.
Engelhart was hilarious enough to acknowledge that his “Valkyrie trapped in a women’s prison” storyline was directly lifted from exploitative B-Movie dreck, and where would those films be without the warden trying to make it with the fresh meat?
Lastly, Valkyrie ends up hanging out with - as near as I can tell – an extra-nerdy film school dropout version of John Byrne and hanger-on Jim Shooter, meaning that she’s been so soured on all experience with men that she’s just giving up. This doesn’t stop the advances of exciting new villain LUNATIK, whose primary weapon is … LOVE.
Now, see, the thing is, there might be more occasions of dudes getting in cheap tongue-locks on Valkyrie, but these are all the incidents from the issues I’ve read so far. Who else tried to slip her one, do you think – Hulk, Doctor Strange, Namorita? They’re all possibilities, because if I’ve learned anything from the Defenders it’s that … EVERYONE LOVES FORCING THEMSELVES ON VALKYRIE.