The cover of Contest of Champions #3 (August 1982) may have felt oddly familiar to fans of the Defenders. The image of heroes circling the skull of Death was strikingly similar to the cover of Defenders #107 (May 1982).
Yet the purple-cloaked, skeleton figure of Death who introduced herself in Contest of Champions had not appeared in Defenders #107. Rather, the skull and dark background on that Defenders cover merely set the tone for the haunting story that issue, which mourned the apparent deaths of Nighthawk and Valkyrie. (Both characters, incidentally, were alive during Contest of Champions and among the numerous heroes to appear in the three-part series.)
Covers of the first two issues of the Contest of Champions appear below.