The Defenders Fansite

Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Lost Signs

When the Defenders battled the Zodiac, not all twelve signs were there. Leading the cadre was Scorpio, brother of S.H.E.I.L.D. agent Nick Fury. The rest of the Zodiac were Life Model Decoys that Scorpio designed using S.H.I.E.L.D. technology. But activating these androids prematurely caused three of them to malfunction: Capricorn, Pisces and Virgo. I am uncertain of the astrological implications of losing these particular signs, but Scorpio had designated Virgo—the only female in the group—as his love interest. The heartbroken criminal killed himself (Defenders #50).

Two of the androids, Sagittarius and Libra, would return to lead other supervillains pretending to be Defenders for a Day.

This image of Scorpio (Jake Fury) comes from Defenders #50.

Friday, September 1, 2023

What's Up, Doc?

The title Doctor can be confusing in comic books. Whereas Dr. Strange and Dr. Druid both earned medical degrees (Strange was a surgeon and Druid a psychiatrist), that wasn't a given. In the case of Dr. Spectrum of the Squadron Supreme, the hero's alter ego Joseph Ledger was an astronaut with no suggestion that he held the title Doctor out of costume.

In contrast, the Squadron's enemies in the Institute of Evil included Dr. Decibel (a physician). Additionally, the secret identity of Dr. Spectrum from the Squadron Sinister was Dr. Obatu (Iron Man #63), revealed slightly before his first battle against the non-team (Defenders #13-14).

Under the entry for the Squadron Supreme, the original edition of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe listed Dr. Spectrum's profession as teacher.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Leadership Leanings

Before he began vying to lead the Defenders, Beast gained some practical experience in X-Men #137. During a showdown against the Imperial Guard, the mutant heroes split into two teams, with Beast leading Colossus, Storm and Wolverine. While Beast had demonstrated his ingenuity on plenty of occasions, this may have been his first time acting as a group leader.

Introduced in X-Men #107, the initial Imperial Guard consisted of thinly veiled stand-ins for the Legion of Superheroes from DC Comics. Not until #137 did the Imperial Guard add a handful of unique members.

This panel from X-Men #137 (Sept. 1980) shows the mutants' first encounter with Warstar, a symbiotic addition to the Imperial Guard.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Cat out of Hell

Hellcat #4, from the character's 2023 limited series, included a callback to Defenders #94 (April 1981). During the non-team's crusade against the Six-Fingered Hand, the demon Avarrish briefly transformed Hellcat into a devil-like monster. That frightful version of Hellcat stood in contrast to the happy-go-lucky veneer she long projected as Patsy Walker.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Orrgo the Unconquerable

Defenders #9-10 (Volume 2) featured the powerful extraterrestrial named Orrgo the Unconquerable! After briefly siding with the Headmen, however, Orrgo decided to depart from Earth. Orrgo promised that no one from his planet would return until humanity was destroyed by others—or had destroyed itself.

A version of Orrgo originally appeared in Strange Tales #90 (Nov. 1961). In that fateful tale, Orrgo exhibited vast control over mind and matter, eventually placing humankind in a mental trance. But Orrgo's actions had unintended consequences. A circus gorilla broke out of his cage after his hypnotized master neglected to feed him. Sensing that Orrgo was somehow responsible for the predicament, the enraged ape slew the extraterrestrial as he slept.