The Defenders Fansite

Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Friday, September 23, 2022

The Defender: William Shatner

In New Defenders #128 (Feb. 1984), Beast lamented that his VHS tapes of the 79 episodes of Star Trek were ruined. I wonder if Beast was also a fan of The Defenders television series that ran 1961-1965 on CBS. Before William Shatner became Captain Kirk, the actor appeared five times on the courtroom drama. Far from being typecast, Shatner played a different role in each of those Defenders episodes:

  • "Killer Instinct"
  • "The Invisible Badge"
  • "The Cruel Hook"
  • "The Uncivil War"
  • "Whipping Boy"

Shatner previously starred as a young defense attorney in a television play titled The Defender, which aired in two parts on CBS in 1957.

Friday, September 2, 2022

The Second Cosmos

Defenders #4 (Vol. 6) announced that the final installment of that five-part series would list the Marvel heroes and villains who were the basis for the archetypal characters in the Fourh Cosmos. Instead, those answers appeared at the end of Defenders: Beyond #2, reinforcing how intersected the two limited series happened to be.

Often reading like a travelogue, Beyond #2 brought the latest group of Defenders to the Second Cosmos, described as a multiverse of possibility and infinite instability. In a fitting touch of continuity, the issue brought back the Omega Council and Concordance Engines, credited in Defenders #11 (Vol. 4) for the impressive number of improbable events that happen on Earth.

This page comes from Defenders: Beyond #2 (Oct. 2022).

Friday, July 22, 2022

The Making of Mad-Dog

Published two decades before Patsy Walker become Hellcat, Patsy and Hedy #46 reads almost like an origin story for Buzz Baxter becoming the supervillain known as Mad-Dog.

Patsy dated Buzz regularly in high school. But when his car kept breaking down, Patsy insisted that Buzz get a new car. Pressured by Patsy and a handful of their friends, Buzz traded in his car at Mad-Dog Cur Used-Cars. The new car, however, proved almost as unreliable as his old jalopy had been.

Later that issue, Patsy turned down Buzz when he asked her to go for a drive—or on any kind of date for that matter. Classmate Hedy Wolfe, who also pined for Buzz, spoke to him about Patsy's behavior.

Hedy: Can't you see how she treats you? She takes you for granted like you were the family dog!

To make Patsy jealous, Hedy suggested that Buzz start dating her instead. Hedy then told Patsy that it was Buzz who had come up with the scheme. Patsy responded by making a date with a stranger who had whistled at her on the street. When Buzz saw the two of them out together, he slugged the unsuspecting fellow. In hindsight, these story elements set the stage for Buzz taking the name Mad-Dog and plotting to disrupt Patsy's wedding to Daimon Helstrom (New Defenders #125).

These panels come from Patsy and Hedy #46 (Oct. 1956).

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Stacking the Deck

Dr. Strange was dead. But before he departed, the sorcerer cast a lingering, final spell that would strong-arm Blue Marvel into leading a new combination of Defenders in a five-issue limited series. A magical Tarot deck would identify who would join this version of the non-team. In addition to Blue Marvel, the desk selected Ms. America Chavez, a young version of Loki, Taaia of the Sixth Cosmos, and Tigra, the Were-Woman (Defenders: Beyond #1).

Although a Ten card from each of the traditional Tarot suits (Wands, Swords, Cups, Coins) would represent four of these Defenders, the card representing Tigra was the Ten of Crowns (a fifth suit that doesn't exist in any other Tarot deck). While a standard Tarot deck has 78 cards in all, we can only imagine how many unique cards might appear in this magical deck—and what that could mean for the Defenders.

This image of Blue Marvel comes from Defenders: Beyond #1 (Sept. 2022).

Friday, July 15, 2022

Stilt Man

Stilt Man made a dramatic debut in Daredevil #8 (June 1965), towering above the street-level hero. The version of Stilt Man to appear in Spidey Super Stories #47 (July 1980), however, was far less intimidating than the original. In place of a full-fledged battle suit, this rendition of the criminal wore a pair of ordinary stilts as he faced Spider-Man and Spider-Woman. Even in a series designed for young readers, it is hard to imagine the reasons for stripping Stilt Man of any semblance of superpowers in that story.