Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Day the Defenders Stood Still

Although it read like a farce, Defenders for a Day became a defining moment in the team's history. This is the first of several posts discussing the foreshadowing and impact of that fateful day.

Nighthawk, Valkyrie, Hellcat, and Hulk were the core members of the group in Defenders #62. But when a well-intentioned TV documentary explained that the team lacked an official roster, numerous heroes arrived at the Richmond Riding Academy to announce their membership.

However, half of the superheroes featured on the cover of #62 didn't show up in the story. For starters, Spider-Woman and Human Torch were not Defenders for a Day. Neither was Angel, although he later joined in #125.

Power Man, a former Defender, did not return for this issue either. But his business partner, Iron Fist, was a Defender for a Day without him. A flashback in Last Defenders #3 (2008) pictured Luke Cage's future wife (Jessica Jones) among the Defenders for a Day. This was one of several attempts to situate her heroic alias into the history of the Marvel Universe.

As for the rest, Captain Mar-Vell, Falcon, Jack of Hearts, Nova, and Hercules were Defenders for a Day, along with many heroes not pictured on the cover of Defenders #62.

Iron Man finally arrived in #63. But instead becoming one of the Defenders, he alerted them that swarms of villains also had declared their membership!

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 62. August 1978. "Membership Madness!" David Kraft (dashing dialogue), Sal Buscema and Jim Mooney (pandemonius pictures), J. Costanza (lively letters), B. Sharen (cozy colors), Bob Hall (enthusiastic editing), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief).


Peter Cooper said...

FUN Story.

Anonymous said...

This remains a great storyline to me, even though it was done mostly for a gimmick. It was wonderful to see all the cameos they managed to sneak in there, and the White Tiger vs. Batroc fight was great (even if it was only 2 panels). Anything with Havok, White Tiger, Paladin, Jack of Hearts, and Iron Fist in it has to be a winner!

Rick L. Phillips said...

Sounds like it was a fun story. I wish I had read it. I was such a big fan of Nova at the time that I am surprised that I didn't read it.

Cease said...

We had many good laughs over subs reading this one recently; Angela Dawn wondered why Nighthawk was such a jerk (and why Hulk didn't change to Banner during repose, and how the coffee table held Hulk up during the "Hulk needs to pee" panel on page four. "Why didn't Nighthawk realize what $Bill would do with all that film if their secret was so important?" she asked. I simply offered her coffee.
Reminiscent, to me, of the later Giffen Justice League, without early 80s Defender scripter J.M.DeMatteis there playing the farce to the hilt.

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