Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Monday, December 5, 2016


Several members of the Defenders have dropped in as guest stars in Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! The lighthearted series walks the line between romance comics and superhero comics, combining elements of Patsy Walker's past in a way previously joked about in What The--?!

Although Black Cat served as a surprising ally to a time-traveling team of Defenders (Volume 4), she returned to the role of unapologetic criminal in recent pages of Hellcat!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

So You Think You Know the Defenders?

A new installment of you You Think You Know Comics? provides an excellent overview of the Defenders.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Metal Men

Given that Luke Cage had steel-hard skin and became crime-fighting partners with Danny Rand, the following letter from Power Man & Iron Fist #88 seemed inevitable.

Dear Denny,

A battle I would love to see is Power Man and Iron Fist against Magneto. Since Luke's skin must have indeed taken on the properties of steel and Danny's "iron fist" may have taken on the properties of iron, both would be susceptible to Magneto's mutant ability.

By the way, Power Man must be a good teacher. He taught Danny to drive in only two days.

John DiMaio
Mineola, NY 11501

Two issues later, the duo squared off against Unus the Untouchable, who had worked with the master of magnetism as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Unus first appeared in X-Men #8.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pawns of the Purple Man!

With a TV version of the Defenders just around the corner, I've been looking for comic books that mirror the upcoming series centering on Power Man, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones.

Marvel Team-Up Annual #4 is the closest I've come. This issue featured Power Man, Iron Fist, and Daredevil, along with Spider-Man and Moon Knight. Their foe was Purple Man (later revealed as a nemesis of Jessica Jones in the comics and on her own TV show).

Marvel Team-Up Annual #4 was published in 1981.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Defenders: Apocalypse

What if? X-Men Age of Apocalypse #1 brought solo adventurers and the surviving members of other super teams into a new version of the Defenders. When leading these heroes into battle against the forces of Apocalypse, Captain America (Steve Rogers) cried out, "Defenders Assemble!"—borrowing from the historic catch phrase for the Avengers.

Brother Voodoo (Jericho Drumm), a secondary character throughout most of his career, replaced Dr. Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme of this alternate reality. In retrospect, it's surprising that the mystical hero had never joined forces with the Defenders until this point.

The most ironic addition to the apocalyptic Defenders was Sauron (Karl Lykos), a long-time foe of the X-Men. A mutant with the power to transform into a vampiric pterosaur, Sauron deliberately lifted the name of an evil wizard from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

The Defenders in this story also included Captain Britain (Brian Braddock), Colossus, Thing, Wolverine, and the otherwise villainous Molecule Man.

What If? X-Men Age of Apocalypse. No. 1. February 2007. Rick Remender (writer), Dave Wilkins (artist), Anthony Washington (colorist), Nate Piekos (letterer), Marko Djurdjevic (cover artist), Brad Johansen (production), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher).
The above image of Sauron comes from X-Men #60 (September 1969).

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ruby Thursday

Unlike her teammates in the Headmen, whose Golden Age origins were reprinted in Weird Wonder Tales #7, the villainous Ruby Thursday was undoubtedly an homage to the Rolling Stones' song Ruby Tuesday.

With the ability to reshape her ruby-colored head into various objects, evil scientist Thursday Rubinstein might have drawn inspiration from these lyrics.

"There's no time to lose", I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind
Ain't life unkind?

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you

This image of Ruby Thursday comes from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Miniature Son of Satan

I don't own many collectibles, but today I decided to purchase a miniature of Daimon Hellstrom on sale at Source Comics & Games in Roseville, Minnesota. The tormented hero has long been one of my favorite Defenders.

Son of Satan collectible figurine © 2010 Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Defenders

About a decade before the formation of the Defenders non-team, Dell Publishing launched a comic book version of The Defenders legal drama, which aired on CBS during the early 1960s.

Along with the main story within the comic book, here are some of the notes about legal terms and legal history appeared on the inside cover and back cover of #2 (February-April 1962).

In medieval times, it was customary for animals to be tried and condemned for violations of the law. Faulty evidence brought against the defendants gave rise to a phrase which exists to this day … "insufficient to hang a dog!"
Go without Day—An expression signifying that a case has been dismissed from court.

Although The Defenders ran four seasons on TV, the comic book was cancelled after two issues.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Antecedent to Arcade

The Defenders never faced the villain Arcade and his Murderworld amusement park, but they came close. In a trip to the 31st century, the non-team instead encountered the host of Super-Death Sweepstakes (Defenders #28). With his showy personality, bow tie, and technological traps, the future game-show host was cut from the same cloth as the modern-day assassin.

Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 28. October 1975. "My Mother, the Badoon!" Steve Gerber (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Frank Giacoia & John Tartag (embellishers), Joe Rosen (letterer), Al Wenzel (colorist), Marv Wolfman (editor).
Arcade made his comic book debut more than two years later, in Marvel Team-Up #65 (January 1978).

Monday, February 29, 2016

Rainbow Connection

Incredible Hulk #267 (January 1982) had long sported one of my favorite covers of that series. While looking for back issues recently, I spotted Justice League of America #151 (February 1978), which featured a similar cover four years earlier. A key difference between the covers was that the JLA rainbow enveloped seven of Wonder Woman's teammates while Hulk's rainbow spotlighted his enemies.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Devil-Slayer's debut appearance established that the character's real name was Eric Simon Payne (Marvel Spotlight #33). Considering how few comic book characters ever receive a middle name, why did Devil-Slayer get a middle name off the bat?

I suspect that the initials E.S.P. were a subtle nod to the character's paranormal abilities. If my own extra-sensory perception was stronger, I might have figured this out a long time ago.

This image of Devil-Slayer originally appeared in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Love Triangle

As manipulative as Moondragon could be, sometimes she was right. Take for example a biting remark she made about Iceman's attitudes toward women (New Defenders #132).

Moondragon: Mr. Drake, if you continue to demonstrate your subconscious hostility towards women, I'm afraid you'll never emerge from adolescence.

Although Iceman did not see himself this way, a pattern of chauvinism played out in his reactions toward Cloud. All of the New Defenders were startled at first when Cloud initially transformed from the woman they originally met (#123) into the form of a man (#136). Yet Iceman was particularly brusque whenever Cloud became male.

Iceman wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with the female Cloud and treated her male self as interference. The fact that Cloud typically was nude when transforming back and forth undoubtably made the situation all the more complicated for Iceman.

What Iceman couldn't fully accept, however, was that Cloud's female and male selves saw themselves as the same person—and that, male or female, Cloud's feelings toward Iceman were merely platonic.

In many ways, the situation with Cloud harked back to Iceman's earlier disappointment with Lorna Dane. During his time with the original X-Men, Iceman couldn't accept that Lorna Dane loved Havok instead of him. Rather, Iceman blamed Havok for interfering with his potential relationship.

This image of Cloud and Iceman comes from New Defenders #138.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Cold Shower

One of the first posts on this site looked back at a humorous remark Beast made about kissing Iceman before introducing him to the rest of the Defenders (#122).

Iceman discarded his Champions uniform and returned to simply wearing trunks, boots, and gloves as a member of the New Defenders. Although the hero might have looked more comfortable, his personal life remained deceptively complicated.

Soon after joining the New Defenders, both Iceman and Angel became sexually attracted to teammate Moondragon (#126). But those feelings were not real. The self-proclaimed goddess later revealed that she had been using her telepathic powers to plant those thoughts in the minds of both men (#140).

During his four-issue Iceman limited series, Bobby Drake was immediately drawn to a woman he bumped into on the street. But Bobby again was being played. The seemingly perfect Marge Smith (codenamed Mirage) had orchestrated this "chance encounter" to lure Bobby into using his Iceman powers against her father, the entity called Oblivion.

Marge Smith had no connection to Danielle Moonstar (the member of the New Mutants originally called Psyche, who would later use the codename Mirage).

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