Defenders #16 began a tradition of placing a descriptive paragraph about the team at the top of Page 1.
- The mysterious DR. STRANGE! The vibrant VALKYRIE! The savage SUB-MARINER! The high-flying NIGHTHAWK! The incredible HULK! Evil-doers TREMBLE at the names … for these five form the crux of the greatest NON-TEAM in history, heroes called together only when the need arises … to battle MENACES that threaten the security … or the very LIFE … of the planet EARTH!
In later issues, "five" became "four" as Sub-Mariner (and then Dr. Strange) left the group for extended periods of time. Although numerous superheroes had brief stints with the Defenders, only one subsequent member ever joined the "crux" of the group. That, of course, was …
- The happy-go-lucky HELLCAT!
After Defenders #76, different descriptions of the non-team sometimes appeared instead, before the series dropped the opening block of text altogether.