The Korean War continues. So far, Vanguard has had nothing to do with it.
FREEDOM FORCE is told by his CIA bosses that the Russians seem to have a new Red Star, or maybe it is the same one. Keep an eye out for her.
Despite the fact that the Russians have come back to the Security Council they have not yet put up a hero to fill Red Star's slot. The Russians, in fact, still want to know where Red Star is. They have little patience with claims about Olympian gods and other dimensions
GERARD calls in FREEDOM FORCE, SWIFTSURE, and BOXER. It seems that Chang Kai Shek wants to talk to WHITE LOTUS. Gerard has been gathering rumors that seem to indicate that (1) Sorcerer may still be around and on Formosa and (2) some Hellspawn people have been seen heading for Formosa.
The combination is such that Gerard wants a team to go to Taiwan/Formosa as an escort for White Lotus and, by the way, look around for whatever is going on. Oh yes, it would seem that EARTH SPIRIT, who was on her way to Japan on vacation, got derailed in the Phillippines and was last seen (by her brother, who she left in Manila) headed for Taiwan. The team should look for her, too.
Rounding out the team with CONQUISTADORE, HURACON, MOUSE and TIGER, most of the group left in one of the flying boats with White Lotus. TIGER and MOUSE go ahead in the flying wing to make sure there are no surprises awaiting White Lotus. Finding everything above board, they help escort the Mandarin mystic to the Generalissimo.
After an interview with Chang, they start investigating the area. Boxer and Huracon go to the other end of the island with the intent of finding out what is around there. Tiger and Conquistadore check out the docks and find that Earth Spirit was seen getting off the boat, then was attacked by winged demons who snatched her off the earth before she could activate her powers. She was last seen being carried into a cloud.
Swiftsure checks with the British embassy and is told that there are some rumors about winged demons flying around the other end of the island from Taipei, just the area that Boxer and Huracon are examining.
Boxer and Huracon, meanwhile, in a small foothill village that, like the rest of the island, is bursting at the seams from the refugees from the mainland, have seen a Chinese gentleman Boxer recognizes as an Immortal who tried to recruit him some centuries before. He doesn't say this to Huracon, but tells him that the man should be watched because he noticed that some of the Chinese servants are actually Caucasians in disguise (true), a suspicious circumstance. Huracon follows the Bentley carrying the man up a winding road. He sees that there are two large establishments near the top of the hill.
One is a Chinese villa that the car turns into, the other seems to be some form of temple/monastery.
As he observes the villa, he is attacked by a winged demon that looks much like the ones he fought in Sorcerer's private hell. He unleashes his new weapon (wind-driven flechettes) and shreds the armor and body of the demon. It dies in his arms. He takes it back to Boxer, who says that they should definitely put the area under observation.
He calls the central area being held down by Mouse and Freedom Force while Huracon takes off again.
As Huracon circles the area, he sees a familiar figure leap out from the steep hillside below the monastary and descend. He swoops down to rescue the figure, who looks more and more like Red Star the closer he gets. As he scoops her up and sets her down, she says that she needed no assistance, and Huracon should go help her companion, who was being killed on the hillside.
Huracon finds no bodies, just some blood and trampled ground. He returns to the woman, who is, up close, not Red Star but looks amazingly like her. She identifies herself as Red Star and wants to know what happened to her predecessor, but refuses to believe Huracon's explanations. She also says that her companion and she were investigating the monastary when they were ambushed by three super-powered Japanese, one of whom is Sorcerer's longtime aide, the martial artist Tenryukaze.
As they talk, the rest of the team finds Boxer and Boxer has observed a rather nondescript car go up the road and on to the monastery, going out of sight.
The group decides to take on the monastery area. Checking the actual temple, they find nothing. There is also a well kept up paper-walled house and a concrete garage. Deciding that the garage was the obvious hq, they approach it, finding Tenryukaze, a large brick, and a speedy type who was immediately dubbed Speed Demon because of his demonic features. There were also some relatively normal agents.
The immediate battle causes a reaction from the house. Three of the flying demons appear. They are shortly followed by RISING SUN from Hellspawn. Some women also look out, then duck back in.
When Red Star and Huracon attack the house, they run into SORCERER. However, this Sorcerer does not look like the old man they used to battle, nor like Wong Lee. It becomes obvious that this is an imposter using some magical items to make a name for himself. Red Star knocks Sorcerer through the rice-paper walls of the house and into the elaborate garden behind it.
Rising Sun is knocked out. Suddenly Black Queen appears over him. Freedom Force manages to knock her out before she can teleport out again. At about the same time, Huracon and Swiftsure see one of the women reach Sorcerer's body and then teleport the two of them away. Swiftsure attempts to find them but they seem to get away.
However, they have captured all of Sorcerer's super-powered assistants, including MIND TIGER, plus Rising Sun and Black Queen, three of the flying demons (two of whom die before they can be revived), and three geishas. The geishas are led by a Lady Nogame, whom Boxer (unbeknownest to his teammates) recognizes as another of the Immortals who tried to recruit him a couple of centuries before.
About this time, White Lotus teleports to the site and calls on Freedom Force to uncover a cistern in the center of the courtyard. Therein they find Earth Spirit, who has apparently been used as some kind of magical power battery by Sorcerer.
Earth Spirit explains that she was lured to Taiwan with the story that Wong Lee had appeared there. She also has a sort of psychic certainty that, in fact, Wong Lee is around somewhere. Looking into one of the rooms of the house, the group finds that there is one room full of machinery that seems to be keeping two bodies in clone tanks alive. Both bodies are Wong Lee. Moreover, there is space for a third tank, but the tank is not there. It is obvious that the third tank was moved out recently.
About this time, three Nationalist Chinese heroes appear in a shimmer of motes. They are HU YING, a hero with a mystic 9-dragon trident and wings, JADE MASTER, a mystic with command of alchemical magic, and BLACK DRAGON, a young man in army fatigues who is said to be capable of shapeshifting to dragon form. Jade Master uses a potion to make sure that all of the villains are unconscious and another to check on whether either of the Wong Lee bodies contains an animating spirit. They don't seem to.
Rigorous interrogation of the agent-types reveals that a coffin-sized object was transported by truck to the villa further down the road. The entire group goes to talk to the proprietor of the villa, a well-connected Nationalist named CHOI LIN they are following . He explains that he purchased an antique chest from the monastery and shows the group a chest full of antique silks. It is obvious to the detectives in the group that the chest has not been moved in months.
Jade Master uses his teleportational powders to take White Lotus, the supervillains, the agents, Earth Spirit (who is still weak), Conquistadore (who got the short straw for being White Lotus's bodyguard), and his fellow Nationalist heroes back to Taipei. The Vanguard team decides to check out the villa again.
MOUSE goes in. Despite her lack of knowledge of the Chinese language, it is obvious to her that the household is packing up to leave and there is no sign of a clone tank with Wong Lee in it. She reports back and the group decides to watch the evacuation. The household departs in a surplus 2.5 ton Army truck and the Bentley very early in the morning. The two split company about 30 miles away and the team splits up to watch them.
That afternoon the truck stops in a small town and the crew, which is most of the household, goes in to have lunch. MOUSE, who is with this team, goes in and finds nothing resembling Wong Lee.
The Bentley, with Choi Lin, a driver, a bodyguard, and a female secretary, drives straight through to Taipei. The only stop is engineered by Boxer, who arranges for a tire to blow so he, Huracon and Swiftsure can look into the trunk of the car to look for a body. No body.
The truck team goes to Taipei and makes contact with White Lotus and Conquistadore. The Bentley team continues to follow their quarry, which ends up pulling into the parking area in front of an office of Williams (as in Bart) Engineering.
Boxer calls for support from the rest of the team, but the car pulls away with all of its passengers before anyone can get there. Huracon and Boxer follow the car again while Swiftsure intercepts the others and brings them along.
The car gets to the airport. Choi Lin, the bodyguard and the secretary go in and come out with tickets in hand. They all get into the car, then three people get out and go into the terminal again with luggage. It is obvious to some of the observers that "Choi Lin" is actually the driver.
At the same time, Mouse notices that a woman coming from the terminal is actually her old enemy, LE CHAT. She brings this to others' attention and FREEDOM FORCE realizes that the arabic gentleman she is with is actually SCIROCCO, the arab terrorist last seen in Israel. The two are met by a gallant Frenchman some recognize as their old sparing partner, PRIVATEER, who escorts them into a car.
The team again splits up to follow the two different cars, but see Choi Lin pull over a couple of blocks away and get into the car with the others.
Following this car, they see them go to the docks, get into a former PT Boat converted to private use and proceed across Taipei bay to a relatively unsettled area. There, the boat is lifted up (probably Scirocco's work) and beached, and the four interesting passengers go to a small shed, which doesn't look big enough for all of them. They go in. There is a guard outside.
The team gives them a couple of minutes, then follows. After taking out the guard, they find the expected trap door going down and a shaft leading to voices. Descending on the voices they discover a couple of guards, who are knocked out without being able to give a warning. Boxer, who has seen one before in Korea, realizes that they are now in a tunnel with a Cretacian "living monorail." However, the rail seems to be dead and fossilized.
Following this, they realize that they are going steadily downhill and east, which means they are going out under the water.
They find a twisty tunnel and a couple of guards at the end of the rail tunnel. They take out the guards, then follow the twisty tunnel to a large room, where they hear a conversation. It is Choi Lin obviously talking to some underlings, demanding to meet their master. As they listen, the team hears someone enter and say "Senor, the Master will see you now." Senor?
Letting Choi Lin and his guide leave, the team attacks the room and takes out the guards without letting the alarm be given. They realize that they are in a ruined building foundation, with a strangely-fashioned dome holding out the water. They follow the simple electric light wire that leads out of one of the entrances to the room.
They find two side entrances going to other rooms, but hear a conversation ahead of them.
Mouse goes to see and evades the scrutiny of a couple of guards.
In another domed room, she sees Choi Lin arguing with another Chinese in Mandarin. Boxer moves up and hears them arguing about whether Choi Lin should own the complex, as his people have held it for centuries, or whether the other man, called only "your excellency," essentially holds squatter's rights. Both claim "the package." Also in the room is a Spanish-looking gentleman, Privateer, RIFLEMAN (another old foe), and someone in a set of armor that looks like that worm by the former German power suit villain known as Bismarck. However, the armor looks a bit different and is festoomed with strange grenades.
Suddenly, Le Chat enters the room, sniffs the air and says, "Excuse me, gentlehommes, but I think I smell a mousie!"
A fight begins.
The Spanish gentleman turns into a man-like werewolf. The elderly Chinese arguing with Choi Lin exhibits excellent martial arts technique. And, just as the entire team gets into the room, Sorcerer shows up from one of the side rooms. Grenadier catches Huracon in an entrapment grenade. Huracon turns into wind and evades the coils.
Then Scirocco enters the room.
To be continued.
Before the team stationed with WHITE LOTUS left to join the ones following CHOI LIN, White Lotus gave them an amulet to communicate with him. FREEDOM FORCE gave the amulet to BOXER.
Through the amulet, White Lotus realizes that the investigating team is outnumbered and needs help. He summons CONQUISTADORE and EARTH SPIRIT (who has recovered from her ordeal as a power battery) and tells them to prepare themselves for a teleportation to aid the others. He explains that he did a lot of the preliminary work on the spell before leaving for Taiwan.
The elderly Chinese turns out to have incredible strength and lightning reflexes. Only SWIFTSURE can even try to keep up with him. LE CHAT knocks TIGER out of the fight as the Burmese detective tries to protect MOUSE. SORCERER, however, fares less well, and MOUSE manages to keep him off balance and out of most of the fight. In the main room, most of the Vanguard team is not doing well. RIFLEMAN is deadly accurate, knocking HURACON out of the air. The Werewolf (who, unlike the Vanguard member of that name, actually looks like a half-man/half-wolf) manages to knock out FREEDOM FORCE with an assist from the German in the armor suit (later found to be code-named GRENADIER). PRIVATEER keeps Boxer busy.
White Lotus finishes his apportation spell and he, Earth Spirit, and Conquistadore find themselves in a room that contains the body of Wong Lee in a tub of strange fluid, connected to an object that seems to be part animal, part machine, and part crystal. The crystal parts keep lighting up and fading. Earth Spirit and White Lotus start trying to get Wong Lee separated from the pseudopods that encompass his head and limbs, while Conquistadore heads out to help the rest of the team.
Conquistadore does not make the difference, though he does managed to knock Le Chat out of the fight for a while. He is, in turn, knocked out by the werewolf.
Meanwhile, Choi Lin has worked himself into a corner of the room, then hit a hidden switch that opened up a secret door. When the werewolf knocks out the new RED STAR and throws away her shield, Choi Lin snatches up the shield and ducks out through the door.
Within seconds, everyone in the room realizes that the dome that is holding out the sea is starting to open! Apparently Choi Lin knows where the controls are.
Freedom Force, just waking up, snatches up Huracon and Conquistadore and races out of the room, yelling for others to follow. Swiftsure dashes away from his fight with the Chinese, grabs Red Star, and follows.
At about the same time, the recovered Tiger knocks Sorcerer into the main room, then withdraws with the others. Earth Spirit has come into the tunnel in time to start closing it down to protect the team, while White Lotus continues getting Wong Lee out of the tub. Wong Lee is just starting to wake up. Le Chat tries to stop them and is knocked out and dragged in with the heroes.
Boxer, meanwhile, has retreated in another direction, jumping over a force of Chinese sailors who are coming toward the room from the airlock where their submarine has docked. He realizes that he is trapped, with the chinese martial artist and Scirocco on his tail and more to come. Grabbing the amulet he got from White Lotus, he concentrates on an appeal for help. Just as Scirocco reaches out for him, he disappears into a shadowy Lotus shape, and finds himself in the room with White Lotus, who is holding the shoulders of Wong Lee. Wong Lee is looking with suprise at his hands, which still have the shadow of a lotus lingering on them. Apparently White Lotus used Wong Lee as a focus for his powers. Then both Lotus and Lee collapse.
Boxer calls for help and Earth Spirit rushes in. She carries Wong Lee and Boxer carries White Lotus out to join the others. The team makes its way out of the complex. Apparently the one dome is the only one being released, and Earth Spirit's ability to close the earth behind the team keeps them from being drowned.
When they get out, they notify the 7th fleet of the presence of the submarine, but there is no report of success in finding it.
Getting back to Taipei, they find that Helen Williams (BLACK QUEEN) and the Japanese known as Rising Sun have been released as innocent bystanders (there is a lot of evidence that Bart Williams, who is now in town, is a good buddy of Chiang Kai Shek's) who happened to be at the monastery when Vanguard arrived. Lady Nogame has also been released but Sorcerer's other henchmen, however, are still imprisoned and Chiang wants Vanguard to take custody of them. GERARD okays this.
The team returns to Treasure Island with the Japanese supers and Le Chat in tow.
WAR NEWS: General MacArthur shoved the North Koreans back to the Chinese border, but has been pushed in turn by millions of Chinese "volunteers" back to the Pusan perimeter and is desperately trying to hold this remaining foothold against the invaders. There has still been no use of chemical or atomic weapons or superheroes.
Things are quiet for months. There is still no interaction with the Korean action, none of Vanguard's enemies have popped up, and all the missions have been goodwill missions and rescue missions from natural disasters. Some of the more paranoid members are waiting for disaster to happen, others are enjoying the vacation.
DEVADASI and BOXER have gone to India to look through the ruins of her old temple. There, Devadasi has found descriptions of three Dance rituals:
1. The Dance of the Demon conjures up the demon who most hates the dancer and requires it to answer three questions truthfully. The problem is that the ritual also attracts various other demons.
2. The Dance of the Mind opens the dancer to psychic continuum and gives her some knowledge of about all of the beings therein that are more powerful than the dancer. Of course, if they become aware of the dancer, they may try to destroy her.
3. The Dance of Contact is a ritual dance that must be danced in the central point of the monastery and allows the dancer to contact any one human mind in the world. It also has some dangers, but they are not well explained.
Devadasi would rather that Boxer did not know about these rituals, but the inquisitive doctor managed to get a look at the descriptions before she could hide them.
They also discover a manuscript that talks of a future "Day of Doom" when the new gods must stand together against the forces of the Ravager of Minds, The Last One, The Timeless, and The Hellbreed. These titles strike certain chords of memory.
Boxer has also discovered a small stone with strange carvings on it. It looks like a bottle stopper. He takes it as a lucky piece.
While they are musing, FREEDOM FORCE is off on a speaking tour and MR. BOOMERANG is on vacation in Australia.
On call team members SWIFTSURE, PELOTA, TIGER, WEREWOLF, IRON CROSS, and HUSSAR are scrambled to investigate the disappearance of villagers on a remote pacific island. They find that all but one villager are gone and there are webbed-footed tracks all over. The one remaining villager is dead. In his hands he holds a stoneware bottle. Swiftsure pockets the bottle. They also find some interesting inscriptions on a rock. Tiger copies them down for future reference.
When the team arrived on the island, the radio in their seaplane broke down. Finally getting it working, they find that they have been accused of attacking a United Nations unit in Korea. GERARD is quoted as stating that they stole a seaplane and had been acting strangely.
The team decides to go to a nearby island where there is a long range radio transmitter. But on the way, they intercept another message stating that they are suspected of being under mind control or cloned, and that a Vanguard team has been sent to track them down. It is also stated that the Vanguard base is now guarded by a "Clone Detector" devised by WHITE LOTUS.
The radio commentator also states that, with Vanguard members apparently going rogue, President Truman has taken on a new superhero team called the Defenders of Liberty to defend them. The description of the "heroes" as Dr. Time, The Count, Defender, Regis, Sunfire, and Shifter make them seem a lot like Hellspawn.
Devadasi has been having terrible dreams in which all the members of Vanguard seem to be against her except for certain ones. When she and Boxer hear the radio announcements, she is fearful, because these members are some of the ones who she has dreamed of as being friendly. She uses the Dance of Contact to contact Iron Cross, who tells her their side of the story. The team in the seaplane decides to head for India.
Boomer, meanwhile, has been getting some very bad dreams and warning visits from his grandfather and the Watanabe. Leaving Wayerpui and the kids with the tribe, he heads for civilization. In New York, he runs into Freedom Force, who had been taking a camping break from his tour and had just heard the news. As Darrel Hale and Jack Delaney they fly to Vanguard. When they arrive on Treasure Island, though, the clone detectors point to them as clones! They run, barely evading such pursuers as Stellari and Princess Phoenix.
Knowing of Devadasi's trip, and thinking she and Boxer might be next, they take the next plane for India.
The Pacific team reaches the monastery just ahead of a team consisting of DR. KONG, MUJAHEDEEN, BEARZARK, and GAUCHO. There is a fierce fight, in which all but Dr. Kong are captured. Shortly thereafter, the three captives explode, leaving no trace of themselves. Werewolf is confident is that they are clones. She says that Mujahedeen tastes much different than when she last bit him.
The next arrivals are Freedom Force and Boomer. They are followed by a radio report saying that Devadasi and Boxer have attacked another Vanguard team and that the Indian authorities are being asked to assist in capturing the rogue Vanguard members.
At Vanguard base, CONQUISTADORE arrives just in time to be put into a team sent to capture the Vanguard team in India. Others include EL DORADO, EARTH SPIRIT, RED STAR, SALAH-ED-DIN, PRINCESS PHOENIX, JANNISSARY, NIGHTINGALE, AURIC and ZEEBREIS. FOX teleports the team to India and a fight ensures. The Devadasi team wins, deep probing of EARTH SPIRIT's mind shows that she is indeed a clone, and she and all but Conquistadore blow up. Conquistadore is for real. Seeing what has happened, he joins the team to find out what is going on.
The refugees first go to the Pacific Island where the core group had been before, but aside from looking at the inscriptions again and finding that the stopper BOXER found does fit the bottle SWIFTSURE found, and that it seems to be inscribed with runes that should hold in demons, there is not much found.
Putting everything including the prophecy found in the monastery together, the team decides that their probable opponents are "The Hellbreed," obviously Hellspawn, "The Last One," probably the last Rakshasa, "The Timeless Ones," probably one branch of the Immortals, and "The Ravager of Minds," who is likely Psi-Storm, who cloned various members like Boomer, Hussar, and Pelota before. They decide to go to San Francisco, to the ruins of Psi-Storm's previous base, to see if they can get a line on the situation.
They fly the seaplane to off the California coast, then ditch it. They dig into the base and find that some of the machinery is still intact enough to study. There are aspects of it that are entirely alien. What kind of entity is Psi Storm, anyway?
Devadasi finally decides she must dance the Dance of the Demon. The demon summoned turns out to be the Raksasha, which seems to have grown greatly in power from its last appearance. As she dances, the members find themselves in conflict with a half-dozen or so demons that appear as Devadasi asks her questions. Devadasi's questions elicit the answers as follows:
1. The cloning equipment is in Vanguard base, heavily guarded.
2. The Immortals who took away the bodies of the real Vanguard heroes are based in Long Island.
3. The clones can be exploded by a radio signal that the Raksasha cannot give them, as he does not bother himself with such technological details.
Devadasi also finds that she is now able to sense the approximate direction of the Raksasha at all times.
The demons are driven off with only Pelota badly hurt. She is amazed to wake up to find Boxer's needles sticking in her and fully healed.
After much discussion, the team decides to raid the Immortal's base in New York. Devadasi reaches out to FOX, insinuates herself in his dreams, and controls him into coming to them, then taking them to closed down alternate Vanguard base on Ellis Island in New York. Fox is then sent back to Vanguard with post-hypnotic suggestion to return at a certain time.
The team then goes to Long Island and hits the base, which is under a Long Island mansion. Most of the Immortals are out, so the duty officer and the agents are easily disposed of. The Vanguard members find the locations of the real Vanguard heroes. They are set up in groups of seven, which reminds Boomer, Freedom Force, and Conquistadore of their alternate world adventure when the sacrifice of seven heroes was needed to bring the anopheles "mosquitoes" to that world. Why would Hellspawn or the Immortals want to bring the mosquitoes to the world?
While they wait for Fox, several members try to get some sleep. BOOMER finds that the dreamtime is very much like the anopheles world. His grandfather tells him that they must have "Knowledge of your foes." HUSSAR's ancestral ghost cries out that "only three days remain now!" Conquistadore's ancestor who first wore his armor cries out, "The Dancer must dance. It is the only hope."
Boxer, meanwhile, takes a flying trip to the Columbia University library and uses the facilities to decipher the inscription from the island. It describes a ritual dance that can bring two entities minds together, so that they know all about each other. Could this be useful?
The lists from the Immortals base show Perth, Australia, as the place that Gerard is being kept. They use fox to get them to Australia, and Boomer uses his hometown fame to get them a plane to go to Perth. They touch down before they get to Perth and Devadasi decides that they must know more about Psi-Storm. She does the Dance of the Mind, which brings the entire group into the Psychic Plane. They, they find a big purple entity that she insinuates her thoughts into, prompting it to think of various things. She finds:
1. PsiStorm is an interstellar entity that lives to ravage the terror in sentient minds. He intends to unleash the anopheles (whom he has utilized before) into this world to reap his rewards.
2. The only entity he respects is the Raksasha, but still he disdains the raksasha because the Indian demon has convinced itself that the anopheles cannot harm it and they will be a proper scourge for the world that has destroyed all of his kind. In fact, Psi Storm knows that the anopheles can subjugate the raksasha, too.
3. Hellspawn and the Immortals are dupes, tricked into thinking that Psi Storm only wants to take over the world, not destroy it.
About this time, the entity realizes what is going on and sends minions to attack the Vanguard members. However, Devadasi manages to blanket them with protection and they fight there way through a symbolic gate which allows them to get back to the material world.
The master plot has been revealed, now the heroes have to deal with it. They debate whether to try to free Gerard first or have Devadasi dance the new dance Boxer found and reveal Psi Storm's plot to the Raksasha. They decide that Gerard could not give them any more direction than they have, so Devadasi takes the bottle and stopper and dances right there in the Australian desert.
Demons appear again, attracted by the power of the dance. But the Vanguard members fight them off easily while Raksasha and Psi Storm appear and swirl about them. Devadasi dances and watches as the two entities pick pieces of each other away until there is little of each left. Then she moves, scooping them into the bottle and slapping shut the stopper. Both entities are captured!
The group then moves on to the Immortal's Perth base and finds the inhabitants quirte demoralized. super-powered defenders have lost their powers, the psychic traps and tricks no longer work, and the agents remaining are no match for the Vanguard supers. They find and free Gerard, then use the radio apparatus to blow up every Vanguard clone within range. They stage a set of lightning raids on the other areas, blowing away clones as they go. In a couple of days, all the Vanguard members have been returned and the Immortals have pulled in their horns.
However, there is still no explanation for the missing villagers in the Pacific and Hellspawn is still masquerading as the heroic Defenders of Liberty, though the hero known as Shifter seems to have become a female (probably Aphrodite/Ishtar). However, the Defenders are now operating out of New York, no longer guarding President Truman.
A team consisting of BOOMER, BOXER, FREEDOM FORCE, MOUSE, TESSARACT and SWIFTSURE is sent to the upper Scandinavian peninsula. Something about the mission has to do with an old Nazi supervillain called Der Uberman and a superbeing known as The Troll, who disappeared together in 1945 while fighting in a Nazi war rocket headed for the North Pole.
Through a series of events that is a fog to your chronicler, they meet a race of trolls in which the women are all beautiful sorceresses and the men are, well, trolls. There is a confrontation with Hellspawn (acting as Hellspawn, not the Defenders of Liberty) in which the villains get the Der Uberman armor (and Uberman himself? I don't recall) while the entity known as the Troll turns out to be a human who can assume troll-like appearance and power. They take him back with them. When last seen, he was applying for Valkyrie's old spot in Vanguard.