The Defenders – The Worlds That Hunger, Part III: Godspeed



At the edge of Asgard, overlooking the glimmering Bifrost Bridge, the solemn watchman HEIMDALL stands, alone – at peace. Tonight, Asgard seems quiet.

Or it was, for a fleeting moment.

Heimdall hears a low rumbling. He looks up.

He doesn’t have time to say anything—only to grab his horn.



Inside a massive palace, Asgardian warriors revel in tales of conquest and adventure. Mead is hurled from a wooden stein as one particular soldier gestures wildly with his arms.


ASGARDIAN WARRIOR: Aye, there Ymir was, eyes red like warm blood, facing me head on…and in that moment, I drove my axe right into his frozen nose!


Across the table from him is another warrior—who, unfortunately for him, is Brünhilde, the VALKYRIE. She rolls her eyes as he continues to pontificate.


ASGARDIAN WARRIOR: Not impressed, lass?


VALKYRIE: Not particularly, no.


ASGARDIAN WARRIOR: I defeated the mighty Ymir! King of the Frost Giants himself!


VALKYRIE: Ymir’s eyes are white.




VALKYRIE: His eyes. You described them as red. They’re white.


ASGARDIAN WARRIOR: Well… perhaps that was just the light of the torch I was brandishing.


VALKYRIE: Perhaps. Where did you fight him, again?


ASGARDIAN WARRIOR: In Jotunheim. That is his domain.


VALKYRIE: Yes. I’m aware. Where, in Jotunheim?


ASGARDIAN WARRIOR: The, uh…the caves of…

At that moment, the call of Heimdall’s horn blares throughout the halls. Every warrior there grabs their weapons and charges out.


Valkyrie brandishes her sword—Dragonfang—and gives the grandstanding warrior one last look before she leaves. She can see the fear in his eyes.


VALKYRIE: Hope to see your axe on the battlefield.


He says nothing.




Valkryie exits the hall with the gathered warriors to a grotesque – perhaps indescribable – sight: in the sky, a planet – but with a gaping, toothy grin. Limb-like tendrils stretch all the way to the ground, scooping up matter and hurling it into the planet’s orifice.


It lets out a roar.


VALKYRIE: By Odin’s beard…


Pegasi and their riders charge into the planet’s face – but to no avail. The limbs grab them and throw them into the celestial maw.


And then – the clap of thunder! Lighting streaks across the sky! A hammer—the unmistakable Mjolnir—flies across Asgard in a streak of light, attached to its wielder, Odinson, the Mighty Thor!


The hammer crashes into what appears to be the planet’s nose. A world-shattering scream is heard as the living world’s tendrils curl around Thor’s legs and rocket him to the ground below—nearly flattening Valkyrie herself.


Infuriated, Valkyrie gives Thor—lying in a crater below—a dirty look.


VALKYRIE: Stubborn fool.


THOR: This…is not helping.


Thor slowly gets up and holds out his hand. Mjolnir flies back to him.


THOR: Whatever this foul thing may be, it will not live long enough to regret tainting the skies of Asgard!


He winds up his hammer and begins to fly up once more.


VALKYRIE: Perhaps we should formulate a plan.


THOR: There is no time for plans, only action!


Thor flies up toward the planet as Valkyrie boards her Pegasus.


He’s swatted out of the sky almost as quickly as he left the ground.


VALKYRIE: Odin help us…


Valkyrie flies upward, toward the terrifying visage in the sky…





Inside Dr. Strange’s Sanctorum, the BEAST has—since our last chapter—gotten a small lab set up. In the main hall, a large, spherical spaceship sits, its windows glowing.

STRANGE floats in through one of the walls, wearing a bathrobe.


STRANGE: How goes the work, Hank?


Beast, intent on finishing his work, doesn’t take a look up at Strange.


BEAST: I think I’ve finally got this thing up and running.


The goggle-clad Beast finally lifts his head and takes a gander at Strange.


BEAST: I see we’ve both been burning the midnight oil.


STRANGE: The jokes are unappreciated.


BEAST: But not inaccurate.


STRANGE: Just tell me what this is.


BEAST: I’ve prepared a small craft that – thanks to our colleague over here –


Beast beckons toward the ship; MANIFOLD emerges and gives Strange a sheepish wave.


BEAST: Will take us to whatever coordinates I choose. We just need to track the energy signatures of the planetoids.


STRANGE: You say that so casually.


BEAST: Another day, another…


A beat.


BEAST: Whatever this is.


STRANGE: Shall I gather the troops?


BEAST: Not dressed like that.


Strange snaps his fingers. His costume appears on him in a flash of light.


BEAST: Sure, now.


Strange snaps his finger again. The previously assembled team – CAPTAIN MARVEL, SILVER SURFER, BRUCE BANNER, AND NAMOR – appear, once again.


CAPTAIN MARVEL: You could have at least give us a warning, Stephen.


STRANGE: I apologize, Captain.


The group notices that Namor’s hands are covered in green blood.


NAMOR: I was just about to rip out the serpent’s heart, Strange!


STRANGE: Eloquent as always, Prince of the Seas.


BRUCE BANNER: That’s quite the pod, Dr. McCoy.


BEAST: Yes, well, it’s not Hulk-proof. So, please, try to keep the stress down.


BRUCE BANNER: Will you be piloting this, Hank?




BRUCE BANNER: Then the forecast isn’t good.


A crack of thunder. The Sanctum doors burst open – a chunk of rock is hurled into the center of the hall, nearly mowing the top of Beast’s ship clean off.




Thor and Valkyrie enter.


BEAST: For the love of god, please don’t destroy the hardware!


VALKYRIE: You’re fine, McCoy.


BEAST: Nice to see you too, Brünhilde.


NAMOR: Who called these oafs?


VALKYRIE: What’s that on your arms, Namor?


NAMOR: I was just about to rip out the serpent’s heart.




STRANGE: I called them, Namor. I was informed of Asgard’s similar pest problem…


VALKYRIE: Your help was appreciated.


STRANGE: …After the fact.


THOR: Indeed, thanks to the mighty warriors of Asgard, I—and Mjolnir—


Thor tosses Mjolnir up. It crashes into the ceiling, and then lands softly in Thor’s hand.


THOR: Plucked it from the sky!


BRUCE BANNER: I assume we’ll need his particular brand of brawn on our journey.


STRANGE: Yes. Thor and Valkyrie have agreed to join us. Hank?


The Beast presses a button; a hologram map of dozens of galaxies appears.   


STRANGE: Our furry compatriot has found a cluster of cosmic energy right here—one that we assume is the source of our problems.


Strange points at a galaxy in the far reaches of space.


STRANGE: Attaching himself to the core of the ship, Manifold will get us as close to this area as he can. Then—


THOR: We strike!


MANIFOLD: It’ll be a cinch.




MANIFOLD: No. It’ll be incredibly painful. But I’ll get it done.


SILVER SURFER: What of Ronan?


STRANGE: Wong will keep an eye on him, as will Agent Brand. He’s in no condition to fight.


Bruce walks over to the map of the cosmos.


BRUCE BANNER: What is that cluster, Hank?


BEAST: It’s a solar system.


BRUCE BANNER: I can see that, but –


BEAST: It’s six days old.


A beat.


SILVER SURFER: Wyndham built himself a star system…




The motley group has squeezed inside Beast’s small pod. Manifold is hooked up to a huge machine; he’s bracing himself for what will surely be immense pain.


NAMOR: I have hardly any room to breathe, simian.


BEAST: Yes, well, I didn’t design this to fit your ego, Namor.


NAMOR: I’ll wring your neck!


VALKYRIE: You’ll do no such thing, fishman.


NAMOR: I am King of Atlantis! You will address me as such!


CAPTAIN MARVEL: Shut up, King Fishman.


Namor just pouts.


STRANGE: Quiet. All of you. Hank?


Beast flips a few switches. The ship’s controls begin to light up. A “ping” can be heard—the ship locks on to its coordinates.


BEAST: Ready for takeoff.


STRANGE: Manifold?


Manifold takes a deep breath.




Beast flips a switch. A whirring can be heard.


Manifold braces himself—energy begins to emanate from his body. He screams, a bright flash of light, and then —




BOOM! The pod emerges on the outskirts of a solar system—its planets all bright and massive.




Inside the pod, Manifold breathes a sigh of relief.


STRANGE: Are you alright?


MANIFOLD: I think so. I just need a breather.


The Surfer turns around and looks out of one of the pod windows.




The Surfer takes a closer look at the planets – they all bear the same snarling faces as the ones that attacked Hala, Earth and Asgard.


STRANGE: What crazed game is Wydham playing?


The pod grows dark—it’s engulfed in shadow.


BEAST: Oh, my stars and garters…




Outside the pod, a massive, bearded planet has emerged. It opens its mouth, a light emerges…


…and blows up the pod.