The Defenders Fansite

Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.


Monday, October 28, 2019

The Making of a Witch

Though her "hex power" could defy the laws of physics, there was nothing inherently supernatural about the Scarlet Witch or her mutant ability to alter probability. At least not at first.

That changed in Avengers #128 when renowned witch Agatha Harkness offered to help Scarlet Witch better control her power through the study of witchcraft.

Having recently been the target of a mystical attack, Miss Harkness (as Scarlet Witch called her) recited this magical verse for privacy and protection within her new guest room inside Avengers Mansion.

Storm-clouds above us
And hellfire below--
May we here between you
Serenity know!
Dark powers of midnight--
Dark powers of day--
Envelop this chamber
And seal us away!

A moment later, the evil Necrodamus materialized within the room. A servant of the Undying Ones from Defenders #1-3, Necrodamus mystically stunned Agatha Harkness and her cat, Ebony. Alone against the intruder, Scarlet Witch used her hex power to open a magic box in Necrodamus' hands, unleashing a maelstrom of evil spirits that subsumed him.

Agatha Harkness trained Scarlet Witch until Giant-Size Avengers #4 (June 1975). The element of witchcraft gave more creative license to the character's unpredictable mutant power.

Avengers. Vol. 1. No. 128. October 1974. "Betwitched, Bothered, and Dead!" Steve Englehart (story & color), Sal Buscema (art), Joe Staton (embellishment), Tom Orzechowski (lettering), Roy Thomas (editor).

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Pegasus

With the Champions having recently disbanded, Marvel Two-In-One #44 found Hercules asking the Thing for assistance. Powerful monsters had overrun Olympus, and Hercules needed help rescuing his father, Zeus.

The story introduced Hercules riding a chariot drawn by winged white horse. Although the valiant stead resembled Aragorn, the unnamed animal would have been the Pegasus from Greco-Roman mythology.

Marvel Two-In-One. Vol. 1. No. 44. October 1978. "The Wonderful World of Brother Benjamin J. Grimm." Marv Wolfman (guest-writer/editor), Bob Hall (penciler), F. Giacoia (embellisher), J. Costanza (letterer), Michele W. (colorist), Jim Shooter (consulting ed.).

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Greenpeace

Public Service Announcements aren't commonplace in comic books, but an interlude from Defenders #75 read like a PSA for Greenpeace.

While walking along the shore of Long Island, Hulk spotted a beached whale. Muttering that he wanted to be left alone, the green goliath pulled the marooned animal back into the water, where it swam away safely. A footnote at the bottom of two panels contained the following message about Greanpeace, plus the organization's mailing address at the time.

 *IF YOU WANT TO HELP THE WHALES, TOO 
 WRITE: GREANPEACE

That same whale later rescued Bruce Banner when he fell overboard a ship in Defenders #88. Dr. Banner suspected that the whale sensed that he and the Hulk were the same person and was responding perhaps out of gratitude.

The Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 88. October 1980. "Lord of the Whales." Ed Hannigan (writer), Don Perlin and Pablo Marcos (artists), Joe Rosen (letterer), George Roussos (colorist), Al Milgrom (editor), Jim Shooter (leader of the pack).

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Nighthawk-eye

When the villain Foolkiller burned down Nighthawk's ranch in Defenders #75, the hero was understandably on edge. When TV news reporter Fia Lundstrom arrived on the scene to cover the story, she made matters worse by mistaking Nighthawk for Hawkeye (who had resigned from the Defenders shortly before Nighthawk joined).

Nighthawk reacted to the tense situation by announcing that the Defenders had dissolved. As a non-team, however, the Defenders continued without Nighthawk as their leader or his ranch as their headquarters.

The Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 75. September 1979. "Poetic Justice." Ed Hannigan (writer), Herb Trimpe (penciler), Mike Esposito (inker), I. Watanabe (letterer), Carl Gafford (colorist), Allen Milgrom (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief).

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Time Machine

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells must have been required reading for the Defenders. The characters discussed the 1895 novella without directly stating the title.

To escape from a horde of vampires in Defenders #95 (May 1981), Daimon Hellstrom recited an ancient chant to safely move his teammates several hours into the future. Afterward, Gargoyle asked if they had traveled through time like H.G. Wells. Hellstrom explained that they did travel through time, though not precisely in the way Gargoyle imagined.

When Dr. Strange suggested sending Spider-Man 20,000 years backward through time in Marvel Team-Up #112 (Dec. 1981), the wall-crawler said in jest that he was not H.G. Wells. Dr. Strange clarified that he intended to send Spider-Man's astral form to the ancient past while keeping his physical body in the present. The purpose of the mission was to find a cure to an illness Spider-Man contracted from the reptile cult in #111.

An adaption of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells appeared in Marvel Classics Comics #2 (1976). Set in the distant future, the evolutionary tale depicts two offshoots of humanity: the surface-dwelling Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks. Appropriately enough, a group of mutant outcasts introduced in Uncanny X-Men #169 (May 1983) called themselves the Morlocks.

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