Friday, March 4, 2016

Defenders of the Earth 01x04: A House Divided

Two months ago we looked at 1963's Gold Key "The Phantom" #2, which included an unusual story involving the Phantom taking on aliens. That got me thinking about other examples of the Ghost Who Walks in a scif-fi element which led me to look at an issue of Marvel/Star Comics "Defenders of the Earth" series. I had flip flopped on whether to cover the comic or the cartoon, and chose the comic...until I noticed an episode of the cartoon with a very similar story. So sit back and get ready for another brother versus brother battle as the Phantom faces N'Dama again, for the first time, in the fourth Phantom focused episode of "Defenders of the Earth" titled "A House Divided".

Deep below the sea, in an underground base, Ming the Merciless plots his next move against the Defenders of the Earth. One of his robots suggests he use more robots, but Ming believes he has a human that will do the job far better...a human who seeks revenge against the Phantom. 

Ming bestows the power of N'Dama, the Weather Demon, on the man and sends him out to destroy the Phantom!

Back at their base, the Defenders get reports of over a foot of snow in Africa! Understanding that the attack on their home may be personal, the Defenders allow the Phantom and his daughter, Jedda, to take on the threat alone, only assisting if it is needed. The father and daughter duo take off in a helicopter for the Deep Woods, determined to set things right. Meanwhile N'Dama addresses the Bandar people, telling them he'll only stop if they obey him. 

N'Dama attacks the Phantom's helicopter, leaving the hero to pursue him on foot. Back in the village the Bandar debate what to do, should they count on the Phantom to help, or submit to the Weather Demon? When the Phantom finally makes it to the village he's informed that N'Dama is waiting for him at the Skull Cave. He has no idea who N'Dama is, but Guran, the Phantom's friend and chief of the Bandar assures him he'll remember...and that N'Dama certainly hasn't forgotten the Phantom! They ride to the cave on Hero, the Phantom's horse, dodging lighting the whole way. 

At the cave, the Phantom now recognizes the his own brother, Kurt Walker! Kurt felt that he should have been the Phantom and resents Kit for being chosen by their father. For the sake of explanation, Kit relates the story to Jedda. As boys, their father tested them to chose his successor. 

He sent Kurt and Kit to retrieve a gem from a mountaintop. Along the way Kurt intentionally left his brother behind, in danger, to get the gem and the glory himself. Because of his deceit, their father chose Kit instead.  

Once the story is told N'Dama goes on the attack, knocking both Kit and Jedda back with blasts of wind and hail! The Bandar people try to come to their aid, but are quickly dispatched. Standing over is fallen brother, Kurt declares this his moment of triumph, until the ghost of their father appears calling it a moment of shame! 

In response, Kurt suggests another race...the winner to become the one, true Phantom. Jedda asks him not to do it, but with innocent lives at stake Kit must agree. As Kit and Kurt race off, Jedda decides she too must go to help her father. Kit takes the lead, but Kurt uses his powers to ice the path, causing his brother to fall. When Kit catches up and over takes him, Kurt again uses his powers to gain an advantage. He creates a storm which frightens a herd of elephants and causes them to stampede, but the Phantom uses his acrobatic skills to vault over the animals and run accross their backs! 

Delayed but not down, the Phantom summons the power of 10 tigers to help make up the time he lost. It's only when both Kurt and Kit make it to the mountain that N'Dama finally seems to have the edge...that is until Jedda arrives. She psychically bonds with Hero, the horse, and charges at her uncle, knocking him over the edge of a cliff. 

He survives, and vows to return another day, warning the Phantom to watch over his shoulder! From his base, Ming sees the outcome and he too is confident that there will be rematch, N'Dama will be back!

So there you have it. If not for the fact that in both stories the Phantom is meeting N'Dama for the first time I suppose they could almost be sequels to each other, but they're not. Very similar, but different enough to stand on their own. What do you think? Leave comments below!


  1. Another fun post! I've never seen this show so I have to pick this up on DVD. Thanks Tim!

    1. Thanks Darrin! Honestly, I found my box set at a Five Below store. $5 for a box full of King Features goodness...can't go wrong!