Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Dr. Druid and the Missing Link

Historically speaking, Weird Wonder Tales #21 (March 1977) contained the most unusual appearance of Dr. Druid. In the story, Dr. Druid led a scientific expedition in search of the missing link to prove that humans had evolved from apes.

In the mountains of Borneo, Dr. Druid got more than he bargained for when he encountered a giant primate called Gorgilla. After Gorgilla saved the explorers from a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Dr. Druid decided not to capture Gorgilla and instead let the creature live in peace.

Though pictured in costume on the cover, Dr. Druid did nothing superhuman within the issue. That's because the story initially ran in Tales to Astonish #12 (October 1960) and featured an ordinary scientist named Scotty—not a superhero. The reprint changed the character's appearance and name to Dr. Druid while keeping the other original material intact.

A flashback to a lecture he attended in college set Dr. Druid's expectations for how the missing link might look.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


The first installment in a five-part limited series, the recently released Defenders #1 provided a new take on early concepts of the non-team. The story began with the Masked Raider making the acquaintance of Dr. Strange by threatening the sorcerer with a gun. As the two men sized up one another, Dr. Strange used his oft overlooked skill as a brown belt to defend himself before offering to hear the Masked Raider's concerns over tea.

Relying on a Tarot deck for guidance, Dr. Strange identified with the Magician card and saw the Masked Raider as the Hierophant card. Oddly, both cards appeared upside down, as did the next three cards that Dr. Strange harnessed to mystically summon a fresh combination of heroes to face a looming threat.

The card of Judgment summoned the Silver Surfer, a former herald to Galactus (who promises to play a role in the limited series).

The High Priestess card summoned Betty Banner (née Ross). Now known as the Red Harpy, this unique identity harks back to her previous transformation into Harpy. I much prefer this take on the heroine over her former alias as Red She-Hulk, which felt derivative on several levels.

The most apropos reveal was the Lovers card for Cloud, a cosmic being metaphysically merged with a young romantic couple.

For those keeping track, this relaunch of the Defenders is officially Volume 6 with regard to publication history. I hope that the limited series adds momentum for the Defenders to continue as an informal group of magical, monstrous, and misanthropic heroes.

Defenders. No. 1. October 2021. "Eighth Cosmos: The Magician." Al Ewing & Javier Rodríguez (storytellers), Álvaro López (letters), VC's Joe Caramagna (inks), Wil Moss & Sarah Brunstad (editors). The issue inclues a MARVEL REMEMBERS page honoring influential Defenders writer David Anthony Kraft (1952-2021).