Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Four Heads Are Better Than One

The four criminal geniuses known collectively as the Headmen were a group of super-villains the Defenders could truly call their own.

In their first major storyline, the Headmen kidnapped Nighthawk (Defenders #32) and abducted Dr. Strange, Hulk, and Valkyrie as part of a twisted plot to swop minds and bodies (Defenders #33). Although the other Defenders escaped intact, Nighthawk required surgery to place his brain back inside his head (Defenders #35).

With their plans foiled, the Headmen to turned against each other. Known for their distinct appearances, Shrunken Bones, Gorilla-Man, and Ruby Thursday experimented on their teammate, Chondu the Mystic. The operation changed Chondu from the most conventional looking member of the Headmen to the strangest of them all.

  • A horn protruded from his forehead.
  • His teeth became fangs.
  • His tongue was that of a serpent.
  • Clusters of lampreys replaced his arms.
  • Crimson bat-wings spread from his back.
  • His legs ended in knife-sharp talons.

Chondu was so horrified when he awoke to discover his altered form that he went berserk.

Reading between the lines, the villain's magical influence might explain why the police arrested Valkyrie for using excessive force when apprehending Chondu. Any bias against Valkyrie was short-lived, however. After Valkyrie broke out of jail (#39) a judge dismissed all charges against her (#40).
Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 33. March 1975. "Webbed Hands, Warm Heart!" Steve Gerber (story), Sal Buscema (layouts), Jim Mooney (finished art), Annette K. (letterer), Phil. R. (colorist), Marv Wolfman (editor).
Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 35. May 1975. "Bring Back My Body to Me, To Me…!" Steve Gerber (writer), Sal Buscema and Klaus Janson (artists), John Costanza (letterer), Petra Goldberg (colorist), Marv Wolfman (editor).

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