The Defenders Fansite

Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dream Sequence

During a dream sequence in Alias #21, on-again, off-again hero Jessica Jones imagined herself standing among Sub-Mariner, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Dr. Strange, Nighthawk, and Valkyrie.

With the exception of Nighthawk, these were the same Defenders seen in flashbacks in Alias #25. Given her retcon history, of course, all accounts of Jessica Jones entail an added layer of subjectivity.

Monday, September 22, 2014

When Did Jessica Jones Battle the Avengers and Defenders?

Through a series of flashbacks, Jessica Jones described how she retired from her career as a costumed adventurer after the nefarious Purple Man emotionally manipulated her—inadvertently leading her into battle against two groups of heroes (Alias #25).

Jessica Jones: And, oh yeah, not only was it the Avengers that I happen to side swipe … But I pick a day where the Avengers and the Defenders, the old school classic Defenders, are doing some big team-up.

When exactly did this skirmish take place?

The following Avengers appeared in the flashbacks: Scarlet Witch, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Vision, Wasp, Beast, Jocasta, Wonder Man, and Ms. Marvel (Alias #26). That lineup loosely approximated the roster from Avengers #195-199 (May-Sept. 1980), including one or two heroes who were on leave but still appearing in the series at the time.

As for the Defenders, the flashbacks pictured Dr. Strange, Namor, Hulk, Silver Surfer, and Valkyrie (in her original costume). In other words, they appeared to be the non-team from Defenders #6 (June 1973). Perhaps time travel was responsible for the team-up between the "old school classic Defenders" and the later group of Avengers.

It's also possible that the early combination of Defenders temporarily regrouped around the time of Avengers #195-200. This simpler explanation requires some shoe-horning, however, since Clea used sorcery to redesign Valkyrie's costume in Defenders #47, and Valkyrie was magically unable to return to that original costume again until Defenders #89 (Nov. 1980).

After facing the Defenders and Avengers, Jessica Jones fell into a coma until receiving help from telepath Jean Grey of the X-Men. This would have occurred prior to the death of Phoenix (a.k.a. Jean Grey) in X-Men #137 (Sept. 1980) rather than after the return of Jean Grey in Avengers #263 (Jan. 1986), when all of the teams had vastly different members.

Brian Michael Bendis wrote the Alias series, which ran 28 issues.

Friday, September 12, 2014

His and Hers

A curse from the evil wizard Yandroth that compelled Silver Surfer, Sub-Mariner, Hulk, and Dr. Strange to band together later accentuated the most intimidating aspects of their personalities. Instead of protecting humanity, the four heroes set out to impose their own brand of tyranny as The Order, the title of a six-issue limited series packaged with Defenders (Volume 2).

Dressing the part, Sub-Mariner brought back his jacketed threads from Super-Villain Team-Up, and Dr. Strange returned to the masked costume he wore shortly before forming the original Defenders.

Appropriately enough, the gray-skinned Hulk appeared in The Order #1-4. Yet his hedonism proved so bothersome that Dr. Strange magically transformed Hulk into the green goliath who fought alongside the original Defenders. But when that brutish Hulk rejected the world-conquering ideals of the Order, Dr. Strange turned him into the "Professor" Hulk with the intelligence of Bruce Banner.

Perhaps because Yandroth had once taken the form of a woman (Defenders #119), removing the curse required a female analogue to each member of the Order.

To this end, Nighthawk, Hellcat, and Valkyrie (Samantha Parryington) sought help from Namorita and She-Hulk (cousins of Sub-Mariner and Bruce Banner), along with Clea, who leveraged a magical attack that caused Silver Surfer to "bleed" light, which took the form of a new cosmic heroine called Ardina (The Order #4).

Accompanying the Defenders on their quest to stop the Order was Dr. Christopher Ganyrog, Scientist Supreme on Yandroth's homeworld of Yann, located in the system of Geulischwarz (The Order #5). Furthering the theme of female characters derived from males, Ganyrog referred to his adventuring partner as Romantic Objective Pamela.

Jo Duffy and Kurt Busiek wrote The Order #1-6 (April-September 2002).

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Order of the Order

On one hand, The Order was a six-issue limited series featuring the Defenders. On the other hand, The Order was a continuation of Defenders (Volume 2), which ran for 12 issues.

Through a creative use of cover numbering, The Order #1 combined both perspectives and displayed 1 with 13 nested inside.

Likewise, The Order #2 displayed 2 with 14 nested inside. The pattern continued through the duration of the series, with The Order #6 displaying 6 with 18 inside.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Assembly Required

The alternate reality in What if? Age of Ultron #2 flashed forward to a speculative future where a salty Wolverine assembled a one-time team consisting of Spider-Man, Hulk, and a new Ghost Rider (a call back to the Secret Defenders from Fantastic Four #374).

Long retired from his crime-fighting days as Spider-Man, the Peter Parker in this future was living in Rutland, Vermont. He moved there, at least in part, because of the city's tradition of throwing memorable Halloween parades.

Hulk, meanwhile, was now decidedly non-violent and residing on Mount Song, China. Through the practice of Zen meditation, the green goliath had found peace of mind in his own right—without integrating the personality of Dr. Bruce Banner.

What If? Age of Ultron. No.2. June 2014. Joe Keatinge (writer), Ramon Villalobos (artist), Ruth Redmond (colorist), VC's Joe Sabino (letterer), Jon Moisan (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What If ... Defenders?

In a series of intertwined tales, What if? Age of Ultron (2014) explored how repeated attempts to travel back in time might cause the multiverse to come apart at the seams.

As one timeline unraveled, Wasp died inexplicably during a conversation with Henry Pym (then Giant-Man) about his initial plans to create Ultron. After that treacherous machine turned on him and the Avengers, Pym (now Yellowjacket) joined a team of Defenders consisting of Black Widow, Nick Fury, Falcon, Silver Sable, and Shang-Chi (Master of Kung Fu). But Ultron defeated them as well.

Another tear in the fabric of reality brought about the unanticipated death of Thor. The Defenders from before now included technologist Lieberman (a.k.a. Microchip) instead of Pym. While the team faced an army of Frost Giants and the Norse doomsday serpent Jormungand, Black Widow recovered the hammer Mjölnir that had belonged to Thor and earned the title of Thunder God.

The featured panels come from What If? Age of Ultron #1 (top) and #3 (bottom).

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