The Defenders Fansite

Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

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.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Green with Antipathy

Hulk's skin. Prince Namor's swim trunks. Moondragon's costume. Among the Defenders, the color green was inherently suspect. Heroes in green had a tendency to change sides and turn on their allies.

Underlying the dualism of each of these green-clad characters was a recurring frustration with puny humans, surface dwellers, or mere mortals. Through this lens, it's not surprising that the New Defenders refused to let Frog-Man join their team (New Defenders #131).

Perfectionistic to a fault, Moondragon long considered herself morally beyond reproach (Avengers #149; #211; #219-220). When Odin felt Moondragon finally learned humility, he removed the headband that limited her powers (New Defenders #139). Within comics, changing costumes often symbolizes a change of heart. True to form, Moondragon temporarily replaced her green costume with a black-and-white costume (#140).

But the lesson of humility was short-lived, as Moondragon ultimately betrayed her teammates just the same.

This image comes from New Defenders #128.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Orange and the Occult

The color orange carried a unique subtext among the Defenders. Devil-Slayer and Gargoyle, the two Defenders with unmistakable amounts of orange in their appearance, both had origin stories tied to the occult—and both were intent on battling demons.

Daimon Hellstrom, the begrudging Son of Satan, had similarly colored hair when he made his debut in Marvel Spotlight #12.

Although Hellstrom appeared blond in Marvel Spotlight #13-19, his hair color was consistently red (a.k.a. orange) from that point on, including his appearances with the Defenders.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Reading Red

As many comic book readers have already observed, superheroes tend to wear primary colors while villains tend to wear secondary colors.

Dr. Strange, Valkyrie, Nighthawk, and Hellcat are among the heroes who follow this pattern, as each of their costumes happens to consist largely of red, yellow, or blue. Red Guardian also follows suit, although her color scheme was decidedly patriotic rather than incidental.

Plenty of villains, of course, have draped themselves in primary colors as well. Dr. Strange once assumed the diabolical identity of the Red Rajah when a mystical presence seized control of his body and sought control over all human consciousness (Defenders #44-46). On a superficial level, the red costume was a nod to a ruby metaphysically tied to the Red Raja persona. Yet when Red Guardian stood against the Red Rajah, the color red came to represent the underlying struggle between individual freedom and social control.

This is the first in a series of posts examining the topic of color symbolism among the Defenders.

This panel comes from Defenders #45.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Offenders

In one of his cosmic challenges, the Grandmaster plucked Dr. Strange, Namor, Hulk, and Silver Surfer from different points in the past to battle the Offenders, a team of antagonists from the present.

If the heroes won, the Grandmaster would spare the lives of their romantic interests. But if the Offenders won, they could kill the heroes (Hulk #10).

  • Fighting for Clea, Dr. Strange faced rival magician Baron Mordo.
  • Fighting for Dorma, Namor battled the cybernetically enhanced Tiger Shark.
  • Fighting for Jarella (not Betty Ross), the Incredible Hulk defended against Red Hulk (a.k.a. General "Thunderbolt" Ross).
  • Fighting for Shalla-Bal, Silver Surfer clashed with Terrax.

Still loyal to Galactus at this point, this early version of Silver Surfer was in disbelief to hear that he would one day break his allegiance to Galactus and that Terrax would become the world-conquerer's next herald (#11).

In an act of betrayal, Red Hulk stole the scythe from Terrax and absorbed his teammate's cosmic energy, and then seized control of the Silver Surfer's board. These actions did not bode well with Galactus, who easily depleted Red Hulk's energy. As a further penalty for breaking the rules of the competition, Grandmaster returned the four heroes and the Offenders to their proper times with no memories of the events that had transpired (#12).

Jeph Loeb wrote Hulk #10-12 (April, June, July 2009). Ed McGuinness pencilled those issues.

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