Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Scourge of the Underworld

In one of the best executed cross-over events, a vigilante known as Scourge of the Underworld oversaw the assassination of numerous super-villains.

Granted, some of the villains Scourge targeted were as forgettable as Blowtorch Brand, who first appeared in New Defenders #135 and died in U.S. Agent #2.

But others were more significant.

A longtime enemy of the Avengers, Melter was plotting revenge against the group at the time of his death (Avengers #263). Melter previously joined an eclectic hoard of costumed criminals who claimed to be Defenders … until the real non-team stopped them that same day (Defenders #64).

Miracle Man, one of the earliest foes of the Fantastic Four, once seized more power by temporarily donning the darksoul of Daimon Hellstrom (Defenders #120-121). Ironically, the villain died while trying to boost his status by forging a criminal partnership with Rhino (Thing #24).

Ringer, who made his criminal debut battling Nighthawk (Defenders #51), was among a roomful of super-villains massacred by Scourge (Captain America #319) … although later issues revealed that Ringer survived the assault.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Defenders Remembered

When dangerous radiation levels mysteriously contaminated parts of the ocean, Prince Namor returned to the Earth's surface to seek help from scientific genius Reed Richards (a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic). But the preoccupied Atlantean wasn't quite himself. Although he recognized Hulk when they crossed paths on the street, only after a memory-jogging conversation with Nighthawk did Namor recall that he had once been a member of the Defenders and agree to accept their assistance instead (Defenders #52).

The Defenders last saw the Prince of Atlantis when he came to the aid of Nighthawk in Giant-Size Defenders #3. But what had he been doing ever since?

During that interim, Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #1-2 and Super-Villain Team-Up #1-13 featured the unlikely pairing of Prince Namor and Dr. Doom, ruler of Latveria. Reasoning that he needed the help of another monarch to successfully overthrow the rest of the world, Dr. Doom had tried to both entice and coerce Prince Namor in assisting him.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

The last survivors of their respective homeworlds, the Guardians of the Galaxy traveled from the 31st century to present-day Earth to obtain records about the Badoon, extraterrestrials intent on invading the planet. But the mission proved more existential than informative.

Charlie-27 (from Earth's Jupiter colony), was particularly taken aback by the current state of human civilization (Giant-Size Defenders #5).

A temporal distortion that coincided with the arrival of the Guardians of the Galaxy attracted the attention of Dr. Strange, Valkyrie, Hulk, and Nighthawk, while calling forth the monstrous Eelar.

An added complication involved a chance meeting between the heroes and young Vance Astrovik (whose adult counterpart would join the Guardians of the Galaxy after taking a thousand-year trek into space).

The adult Vance Astro later tried to persuade his younger self to forego any dreams of becoming an astronaut and thereby avoid the loneliness he would face as a man out of time (Marvel Two-in-One #69). Other original members of the Guardians of the Galaxy were Martinex (from Earth's colony on Pluto) and Yondu (native of Centauri-IV).

The team also made guest appearances in Defenders #26-29.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Through the Eyes of Agamotto

In place of the asterisks and footnotes traditionally found in comic book panels, Defenders (Volume 2) took a different approach to citations. Appearing on the letters page, a box titled Through the Eyes of Agamotto included reference information for certain issues. Some of the endnotes from that section appear below.

Defenders #3
Strategic Hazard Intervention/Espionage Logistics Directorate. Made you look!
Defenders #4
Attuma attacked in #2, the bum.
Defenders #5
The Headmen first appeared—as a group, at least—in DEFENDERS vol. 1 #21.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Missing in Action

At a time when the extraterrestrial Dire Wraiths became a matter of international concern, most costumed super-teams headquartered in the United States could not be reached for help. At the bottom of an image of the missing heroes (Rom #53), a footnote asked readers to turn to the Secret Wars limited series for details.

But not all of the heroes pictured as missing actually participated in the Secret Wars. The New Defenders, rather, were in the clutches of the Secret Empire while numerous other heroes were away during Secret Wars.

The same issue the New Defenders escaped from the Secret Empire, interestingly enough, they received official government clearance as a super-team (New Defenders #130). One can only imagine how the inability to reach the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men during a crisis time of might have factored into this decision.

New Defenders #130 and Rom #53 both had a cover date of April 1984. It's worth noting that Kitty Pryde (lower right) also was not involved in Secret Wars.

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