The Defenders Fansite

Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.


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.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Priorities of Paladin

The mercenary Paladin, who served briefly as one of the Last Defenders, makes a worthy candidate for discussion of character class in Dungeons & Dragons. Historically defined as a royal knight, a Paladin in the classic rules for the D&D role-playing game was bound to a strict moral code described as Lawful Good. The D&D source book Deities and Demigods classified King Arthur as a Paladin.

The Marvel character Paladin, on the other hand, did not adhere to such narrow criteria. While Paladin's line of work regularly brought him in opposition to evil-doers, he was motivated by a desire to get paid by his clients rather than by a desire to do good deeds. When circumstances led Paladin to meet other superheroes, he wondered why they chose to fight crime for free. Unlike Luke Cage, who also made crime-fighting his professional career, Paladin described himself as a soldier-of-fortune rather than a hero-for-hire.

Given his cavalier disposition, it's unlikely that Paladin spent much time worrying if his code name was in fact a misnomer. He once joked, however, that Janet Van Dyne called herself the Wasp because she was a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #105).

Paladin got his first solo story in Marvel Premiere #43 (Aug. 1979). The character made his first appearance in Daredevil #150 (Jan. 1978).

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