Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Cover Versions: Hulk vs. Namor

Hulk and Sub-Mariner were at odds with each other since their first team-up in Avengers #3. As these covers show, the temperamental twosome remained sparring partners during the original run of the Defenders.

The second issue of Defenders Volume 2 showed Hulk and Sub-Mariner at odds yet again. Another cover version for that same issue spotlighted Valkyrie instead.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Micro-Management

Before he was Ant-Man, Scott Lang already had one foot in the door to becoming a superhero. In his debut appearance from Avengers #181, Scott Lang was the engineer hired to install a new security system at Avengers Mansion.

Returning from the movies, Wonder Man and Beast were the first to test out these new defenses, as they accidentally triggered a set of mechanical arms designed to stop intruders from entering the headquarters.

But mechanical arms weren't the only security measures introduced that issue. With a ballooning number of heroes coming and going from the mansion, including the Guardians of the Galaxy, the federal government decided to limit the Avengers to seven active members.

Government liaison Peter Gyrich announced the new lineup as Iron Man (chairman), Vision, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Beast, Wasp, and Falcon (recruited specifically to add an African-American to the group).

Of the heroes who didn't stay on, Hawkeye was the most outspoken against the government intervention. In a thought balloon, Wonder Man noted that Moondragon left without even saying good-bye.

When Falcon decided to step down in Avengers #194, Wonder Man filled the open slot (with no mention of maintaining racial quotas).

The team membership remained fairly consistent until Moondragon's abrupt return in Avengers #211.

Avengers. Vol. 1. No. 181. March 1978. "On the Matter of Heroes!" David Micheline (writer), John Byrne & Gene Day (artists), F. Mouly (colors), Elaine H. (letters), Roger Stern (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Last But Not Least ... Ant-Man

Harking back to comics published a generation ago, the cover of Defenders #10 featured mugshots in the upper-left corner (including the head of a not-so-friendly ant).

This issue, of course, welcomed Ant-Man into the ranks of the Defenders (the last of the characters foreshadowed from Point One to appear in the new series).

The dimension-hopping non-team encountered Ant-Man (specifically Scott Lang) when they returned to present-day Earth, only to discover that civilization as far as they could see lay in ruins. Only by inconspicuously remaining the size of an insect had the hero managed to avoid execution at the hands of the ominous Dark Celestial.

Defenders. Vol. 4. No. 10. November 2012. Matt Fraction (writer), Jamie McKelvie w/Mike Norton (artists), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), VC's Sabino & Cowles (letterers), Joe Quinones (cover artist).

Monday, September 3, 2012

Footnote

Perhaps the most footnoted item in the history of comics has been the full title of the organization S.H.I.E.L.D. Traditionally, when a character would pronounce SHIELD as a word of dialogue, the footnote would spell out that the six letters stood for Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division.

Defenders #9 turned the convention on its ear. Here, Dr. Strange stated the full name of the organization in a conversation with Nick Fury, and editor Mark Paniccia placed the acronym S.H.I.E.L.D. in a footnote.

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