Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.


Friday, November 29, 2013

The World of Mutant X

The Mutant X series found Havok trapped in a parallel world where many of Earth's heroes suffered a fate far more tragic than their counterparts experienced in the mainstream Marvel Universe.

The group of heroes who formed the Defenders on that alternate Earth consisted of a cybernetic Stingray, a female Yellowjacket, a version of Doc Samson with green skin/hair, and a cryptic Dr. Strange with an affinity for the Nexus of All Realities (Mutant X '99 Annual). After the other Defenders perished while battling the powerful entity known as the Beyonder, Dr. Strange orchestrated a plan to send Havok back to the reality he called home (Mutant X #32).

This panel from Mutant X '99 Annual shows Havok's decision not to join the newly formed Defenders.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wonder Mania

Soon after she joined the Defenders, Hellcat dropped by Avengers Mansion for an unannounced visit. Letting herself in with the electronic passkey she had received as an Avengers trainee, Hellcat found that the only one home was Wonder Man (Defenders #47).

Since the two heroes had never met, Wonder Man reacted to Hellcat as though she were a dangerous intruder. Fighting ensued and then intensified when Valkyrie and Moon Knight came to Hellcat's aid. The skirmish ended when Hellcat accessed the Avengers computer records to prove to Wonder Man that was was in fact welcome at Avengers Mansion.

Wonder Man later allied with the Defenders in battle against an evil sorcerer seeking revenge against Devil-Slayer. This was Beast's first adventure with the non-team, and it was his idea that Dr. Strange ask Wonder Man to tag along (Defenders #104).

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 47. May 1977. "Night Moves!" John Warner (guest scripted), Keith Griffen & Klaus Janson (artists), David Kraft & Roger Slifer (plot), John Costanza (letters), Archie Goodwin (editor).
Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 104. February 1982. "Yesterday Never Dies!" DeMatteis (story), Perlin & Sinnott (art), Milgrom (edits), Albers (letters), Roussos (colors), Shooter (was here).

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dazzled

Hellcat and Valkyrie were at a nightclub listening to the singer Dazzler when all three of them were teleported away for the Contest of Champions. At the time, Dazzler was still getting accustomed to her own superhuman powers and served as a reluctant hero.

After the world learned the Dazzler was a mutant, the ostracized performer crossed paths with Beast while he was vacationing in Hollywood. Set during the run of the New Defenders, the Beauty and the Beast limited series showed Beast's concern not only for Dazzler but for the well-being of all mutant-kind.

Although Dazzler accepted Beast's emotional support during their four-part adventure, she largely ignored his romantic overtures until finally suggesting that they go their separate ways.

Ann Nocenti wrote the Beauty and the Beast limited series from 1985.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Symptoms

Feeling uncharacteristically under the weather, Spider-Man dropped by the home of Dr. Strange for a magical check-up. The master of the mystic arts diagnosed that Spider-Man's dizzy spells and upset stomach were signs of fowl play connected to the reptile cult they faced in Marvel Team-up #111.

In their investigation, Dr. Strange and Spider-Man joined forces with Scarlet Witch and Thing to overthrow at plot at Project: PEGASUS (Potential Energy Group/Alternate Sources/United States), where the metaphysical Serpent Crown had seized control of the hero Quasar and the entire research facility.

Marvel Team-Up Annual. Vol. 1. No. 5. 1982. "Serpent Rising." Mark Gruenwald (script), Jim Mooney (embellishment), Diana Albers (letters), Bob Sharen (colors), Tom DeFalco (editor), Jim Sooter (editor-in-chief).

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Counterparts

Notable episodes of the Justice League Unlimited animated series gave a nod to the Defenders by banding together a handful of DC characters with parallels to the earliest members of Marvel's non-team.

The two-part episode "The Terror Beyond" featured an unlikely alliance among Dr. Fate, Aquaman, and Solomon Grundy (acting as Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner, and Hulk), as well as Hawkgirl. A sequel episode titled "Wake the Dead" reunited the group with the addition of the android A.M.A.Z.O. (standing in for Silver Surfer).

As a weaponed warrior with wings, Hawkgirl worked as a counterpart for both Valkyrie and Nighthawk. Solomon Grundy even referred to Hawkgirl as "Bird-Nose" (aping Hulk's nickname for Nighthawk). The irony, of course, is that Nighthawk was designed as an homage to Batman in the Squadron Sinister and later Squadron Supreme (Marvel's looking-glass version of the Justice League).

Also of interest, when the Defenders faced the Squadron Supreme (Defenders #113), Valkyrie proved evenly matched against Power Princess (the Squadron's homage to Wonder Woman). Power levels notwithstanding, Valkyrie's origin as a female warrior from Norse mythology made her similar to Wonder Woman (an Amazon tied to Roman mythology).

Hawkgirl, incidentally, did not have a direct counterpart in the Squadron Supreme, but a member of that group called Cap'n Hawk was an homage to Hawkman.

This image of Valkyrie vs. Power Princess comes from Defenders #113.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tag Cloud

Like many blogs, this fansite features a Tag Cloud of labels for searching content (in the purple column on the right). The panel shown here from New Defenders #127 looked like a fitting image to place there as well.

No longer a pawn of the Secret Empire (#123), Cloud came to the Defenders for help. Gargoyle and Valkyrie were suspicious of Cloud's motives at first, but Moondragon knew they could trust her.

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