Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Defenders: Tier D

This month's series of posts comparing the power levels of the Defenders wraps up with Tier D. Candy Southern, the level-headed leader of the New Defenders, would default to this tier as she had no superhuman powers or extraodinary skills. Through her connection to Angel, however, Candy certainly had encountered her share of super-beings before joining the Defenders.

For an example of a costumed hero at Tier D, I'll turn outside of the Defenders and select the original Whizzer when he came out of retirement during the Bronze Age of comics. While Whizzer retained the super-speed he sported as a member of the All Winners Squad shortly after World War II, he now lacked the stamina to hold his own alongside other heroes.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Defenders: Tier C

To continue comparing the power level of Defenders from the original series, this post covers Tier C, which encompasses those heroes who were largely proficient yet did not necessarily stand out among other superhumans. Notable examples would include longtime members Nighthawk and Hellcat. Devil-Slayer functioned here too.

Although Red Guardian had no superhuman powers until she left in Defenders #53, her exceptional fighting skills and athleticism kept her on par with her teammates at Tier C. As a disciple of the mystic arts, Clea remained on the sidelines during much of the original series but her magical powers operated at this tier when she adventured with the non-team.

Among the New Defenders, Iceman and Cloud had powers with great creative potential yet still seemed scaled back to Tier C, in league with Beast and Angel.

These images of the Defenders come from editions of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

In the Shadow of Tier S

In this series of posts placing characters into alphabetical tiers based on their powers, I am not slotting any of the Defenders into Tier S: a penultimate tier directly above Tier A. This is because I see Tier A as the cap for Marvel heroes during the span of the original Defenders and New Defenders series (1971-1986).

In contrast, however, I would place Superman into Tier S during this time frame. His indestructibility and vast array of abilities made him recognizably more powerful than other DC heroes. Although the versions of Hyperion from the Squadron Sinister and Squadron Supreme were Marvel homages to Superman, their scaled-back strength fell far enough below Superman's to rest within Tier A.

Squadron Supreme #8 (April 1986) pitted Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme against his evil counterpart from the Squadron Sinister.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Defenders: Tier B

When evaluating the Defenders by their respective abilities, Valkyrie surely rose to Tier B beginning with Defenders #64, as she more fully embodied her true self. The supernatural nature of Son of Satan and Gargoyle also placed them both squarely in Tier B: a notch above most of their crimefighting contemporaries yet still below Tier A.

Even with a headband limiting her mental talents, Moondragon safely landed in Tier B during her time with the New Defenders. Without the headband (as illustrated below), Moondragon would surely slot herself in the loftiest Tier S.

These images come from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Defenders: Tier A

To capitalize on a recent trend, I'm placing many of the Defenders into tiers based on their relative power levels during the original run of the series. From Marvel Feature #1 through Defenders #125, Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner, Hulk and Silver Surfer consistently fell in the upper echelon of power and belong in Tier A. Other appearances, such as the Offenders limited series, emphasized the importance of these four characters all the more.

During his short time with the non-team, a heroic Over-Mind also operated in this tier. As a villain, on the other hand, his power level rose to the superior Tier S. Upcoming posts with discuss Defenders in Tiers B, C and D.

These images come from The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.