The Defenders Fansite

Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mental Block

In Dr. Strange #59 (June 1983), the master of the mystic arts learned that Dracula was again at large. The disturbing news jogged the sorcerer's memory of his initial encounter with Dracula in Dr. Strange #14 (May 1976).

Seven years elapsed between the publication of those two issues, but characters within the world of comics tend to experience time at a slower rate. According to Dr. Strange's account in #59, barely two years had passed since he met the Lord of Vampires in #14.

Yet only after summoning the all-seeing Eye of Agamotto from his mystic amulet did Dr. Strange recall a more recent encounter from Defenders #95 (May 1981), when Dracula had invaded the Sanctum Sanctorum under the influence of the Six-Fingered Hand. How could Dr. Strange have forgotten such a pivotal event? The sorcerer suspected that Mephisto was responsible for obstructing his memory and numbing his awareness of Dracula.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dire Consequences

The New Defenders joined forces with several other super teams to stop the extraterrestrial Dire Wraiths from conquering the Earth in Rom #65.

In the aftermath, Valkyrie was the first to ask how the captured Dire Wraiths should be punished. While other heroes hemmed and hawed, Rom the Spaceknight ultimately followed his modus operandi by using his Neutralizer Beam to banish the Dire Wraiths to Limbo (#66).

ROM. Vol. 1. No. 66. May 1985. "The Day After!" Bill Mantlo (story), Steve Ditko & Steve Leialoha (art), Janice Chiang (letters), Petra Scotese (colors), Mike Carlin (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief).

Monday, June 30, 2014

Distress Call

In an indirect cross-over, Yellowjacket received a call in Avengers #189 that his wife, the Wasp, was stranded in Las Vegas following her adventure in Defenders #76-77.

Borrowing an Avengers Quinjet, Yellowjacket arrived to find that Wasp, Hellcat, and Valkyrie had stumbled into a plot orchestrated by the Mutant Force and a band of warrior women obeying the commands of Mandrill. The predicament drew attention to a seldom-mentioned curse that limited Valkyrie's fighting skills against other women at this point in her crimefighting career.

The villains soon captured Yellowjacket (#78) and then trapped Wasp in a jar like an insect. Fingers covering the air holes in the lid prevented Wasp from succumbing to Mandrill's mutant pheromones, but Hellcat and Valkyrie fell under his power to bend the will of most women (#79).

Wasp managed to escape, and Nighthawk arrived late on the scene to rescue the other heroes (#80).

Ed Hannigan wrote Defenders #78-80.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Original Gargoyle

Years before Isaac Christians became trapped in the body of a demon, a Soviet scientist briefly used the codename Gargoyle (The Incredible Hulk #1).

Like countless masterminds who would follow, the original Gargoyle was intent on enslaving the Hulk. After seeing that the subdued Hulk had reverted to the form of Dr. Bruce Banner, Gargoyle confessed that he longed to be rid of his own mutations—side effect of bomb research he had conducted for the Soviet government.

Lo and behold, Dr. Banner explained that through the selective use of radiation he could in fact return Gargoyle to an ordinary human being. Although this meant losing his superhuman intelligence, Gargoyle agreed to the procedure.

Dr. Banner, meanwhile, was just beginning to understand his own transformations into the Hulk, which resulted from exposure to gamma rays while risking his life to save teenager Rick Jones.

The Incredible Hulk. Vol. 1. No. 1. May 1962. By Stan Lee + J. Kirby.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ode to Etrigan

Daimon Hellstrom and Gargoyle likely owed some creative debt to The Demon, a series that Jack Kirby created for DC Comics soon after leaving Marvel.

The debut issue introduced readers to Jason Blood, a demonologist with a conspicuously long lifespan. During one of his supernatural investigations, Jason entered a crypt protected by living gargoyles.

Within the crypt, Jason felt compelled to read aloud a mystic inscription that would cause him to involuntarily change back and forth into the demon Etrigan.

Although Etrigan had previously served Merlin the magician and continued to fight against the forces of evil, Jason largely despised transforming into the inhuman creature.

The above images come from The Demon #1 (September 1972). Jack Kirby wrote and illustrated the original series, which ran for 16 issues. Supporting characters throughout the run included Jason's friends Harry Matthews and Randu Singh (who had E.S.P.), and romantic interest Glenda Mark.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Avengers/JLA/Etc.

The highly anticipated Avengers/JLA limited series merged two publishing universes in a four-issue crossover. The final issue of the reality-bending event included cameo appearances of other heroes.

One panel showed Nighthawk, Red Guardian, Gargoyle, and Valkyrie rescuing children from a natural disaster. It was noteworthy to see Red Guardian flying (one of the powers she gained from the Presence only after leaving the Defenders) but without the the energy glow that routinely accompanied all of her superhuman abilities.

Avengers/JLA #4. © 2003. "The Brave & the Bold." Kurt Busiek (writer), George Pérez (artist), Tom Smith (colorist & separator), Comicraft (letterer).

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