Working as a security guard for Richmond Enterprises, Power Man first accompanied the Defenders in #17-19, when Nighthawk's corporation came under attack by the villainous Wrecking Crew.
Lacking the inheritance of Nighthawk, or the taken-for-granted resources of other heroes, Power Man kept a realistic approach to fighting crime. During his recurring adventures with the Defenders, Power Man often was the first to point out the bizarre nature of magic or superheroics in general.
When Bruce Banner telephoned Luke Cage in #24, requesting help on another mission, the hero for hire responded skeptically to Hulk's alter ego.
- Power Man: (Speaking into the phone) Bruce who? No , man, I ain't never heard o'--Oh, uh-huh. You're the Hulk--an' I'm George Wallace!
Although Hulk was more powerful than Power Man, Luke Cage had enough strength and invulnerability to save the team more than once, and without any hulkish drawbacks. Further, Power Man seemed physically stronger during his stints with the Defenders in the 1970s than he did in the 1980s, when Marvel Comics estimated that he could lift only a few tons (far less than most heavy-hitters at the time).