Saturday, October 13, 2012

Star Power


Name This Marvel Villain??

You can't talk about the Red Rajah without also mentioning the Star of Capistan, a sentient gem that wished to end conflict and establish absolute harmony in the minds of man--by force, if necessary.  Unfortunately, being a gem, it's rather limited by immobility--so it enthralls a human host, transforming him into the Red Rajah to act as both its protector and the enactor of its will.

The Star hit paydirt when it was able to mesmerize Dr. Strange, thereby giving the Red Rajah all the powers of Earth's Sorcerer Supreme.  The Rajah then began to mentally dominate (and indoctrinate) the population of Manhattan--including the Hulk, Nighthawk, and Power Man, Strange's companions in the Defenders, who had come looking for him.  The female members at the time--Hellcat, Red Guardian, and Valkyrie--had been able to resist the Rajah's influence, and so the Rajah set the male members against them.  But the ladies had a plan--distract the Rajah by engaging in battle, allowing Strange's disciple, Clea, to sneak up on him mentally and help to free him from the Star's power.  As Strange re-emerged, he destroyed the Star, ending its threat--and thus any further manifestation of the Red Rajah.

Interestingly, it was his encounter with the Star that led to Strange formally leaving the Defenders, which was probably long overdue.  The fact that he so easily succumbed to the Star proved to him that he could no longer afford to divide his time between the Defenders and his studies.  That left the Hulk as the only original member, who chose to stay--or, rather, was kept on by the writers and editor, who probably realized that without the Hulk there were no characters left on the team (Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hellcat) who had any real drawing power.

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