The Defenders Fansite

Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Harder They Fall

Reading almost like an epilogue, Captain America #338 found the title character (then John Walker) and Buck (Lemar Hoskins) on assignment to recapture the escaped Professor Power and mop up any other at-large lackeys of the Secret Empire.

The biggest threat the duo faced was Leviathan (accurately shown here with black hair, as opposed to the white-haired rendition from the cover of New Defenders #126).

In the heat of battle, Captain America (Walker) killed Professor Power (who was already at death's door following his defeat in New Defenders #130). Ashamed at what he had done, the patriotic hero questioned whether he even deserved to wear the uniform of Captain America.

Captain America. Vol. 1. No. 338. February 1988. "Power Struggle." Mark Gruenwald (writer), Kieron Dwyer (penciler), Tom Morgan (inker), John Morelli (letterer), Gregory Wright (colorist), Ralph Macchio (editor), Tom DeFalco (the boss).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shambling Mound

A previous post likened several of the Defenders to characters (or monsters) from Dungeons & Dragons.

The D&D ad that ran in Defenders #98 accentuated the similarities between the fantasy role-playing game and the superhero comic book.

The comic-strip style ad that month depicted a party of adventurers encounter a Shambling Mound, a semi-intelligent creature composed of vegetation.

Coincidentally, in that very issue, the Defenders met Man-Thing, a semi-intelligent creature composed of vegetation.

In the ad, Grimslade the magic-user cast a charm spell to stop the monstrous Shambling Mound.

In the Defenders story, Dr. Strange entered into his astral form to face the demons that had gained control of the typically timid Man-Thing.

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 98. August 1981. "The Hand Closes!" J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin / Joe Sinnott (artists), Allen Milgrom (editor), Jim Novak (letterer), George Roussos (colorist), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief).

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dog Days

Canine characters were a recurring theme among the Defenders.

As Beast began to consider himself a mainstay member of the group, he decided to get a pet dog. Introduced in Defenders #122, Sassafrass would remain a loyal companion and provide (unnecessary) comic relief throughout the run of the New Defenders.

Determined to stop ex-wife Patsy Walker (a.k.a. Hellcat) from marrying Daimon Hellstrom, Buzz Baxter assumed the criminal identity of Mad-Dog (#125).

The hero Red Wolf helped the New Defenders on one occasion. Although Beast indirectly asked Red Wolf to become a regular member of the team, Red Wolf's strong ties to Cheyenne nation prevented him from uprooting (#139).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Love and Hate

Visiting her hometown of Centerville, New Jersey, was painful for Patsy Walker. Aunt Sofia complained that adventuring as Hellcat and marrying Daimon Hellstrom had tainted the image of Patsy Walker that previously appeared in comic books. Childhood friend Hedy Wolfe was unceasingly sarcastic, and neighbors threw a brick through a window to drive Patsy and Daimon out of town (Marvel Fanfare #59).

Much of the hostility toward Patsy came from a misperception that the super-heroine now looked down on her Centerville roots. She rectified the situation at a press conference near the end of her visit.

Marvel Fanfare. Vol. 1. No. 59. October 1991. "The Town and Patsy Walker!" Richard Howell (script, pencils, letters, and colors), Al Milgrom (inks and edits), Tom De Falco (editor-in-chief). Admiringly dedicated to that "prize" pair Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
The back cover of the issue pictured a genre-appropriate cover titled Marvel Romance.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Silver Lining

Members of the Defenders with a solid white appearance had extraterrestrial origins and began as reluctant villains. This held true for Silver Surfer as well as Cloud.

Moon Knight was more a friend of the Defenders than an actual member. But he, too, had an all-white costume with an astronomical motif.

Beneath his frozen armor, Iceman's actual costume consisted of a pair of light blue shorts and boots during his time with the New Defenders. This image of comes from New Defenders #132.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Purple Problems

Hulk and Gargoyle, the two Defenders with the most monstrous appearances, both wore purple.

Other heroes who wore purple had only temporary membership in the Defenders. Clea was the apprentice to Dr. Strange but seldom adventured with the non-team. Andromeda so idolized Sub-Mariner that she joined the New Defenders—just barely before the group disbanded.

Hawkeye, too, wore prominently purple. His short-term stay with the Defenders served largely to create conflict with the Avengers during an eight-issue crossover event among the two teams (Avengers #115-118; Defenders #8-11).

Jealous over the relationship between the Scarlet Witch and Vision, Hawkeye had resigned in Avengers #109 but would later rejoin.

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