Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Changing Corners

Reprinting Defenders stories for readers in the United Kingdom, the weekly series Rampage followed the Marvel Comics tradition of picturing the heads of superheroes in the upper-left corner of each cover. The three founding members of the Defenders—Hulk, Dr. Strange and Sub-Mariner—appeared in there on issues #1-21.

Beginning with #22, the series replaced Sub-Mariner with Nighthawk (matching a change that took place with Defenders #19). In making that switch, Rampage added the names of the featured heroes beside their faces, something the original Defenders series hadn't done in the United States.

Aside from changing the background color behind the characters each issue, Rampage did not make other alterations to the corner design through #34, the final issue of the series.


Saturday, March 26, 2022

In Summary

Published weekly in the United Kingdom, the series Rampage reprinted early issues of the Defenders. With the covers promising a complete Defenders story each issue, the series took a novel approach to the multi-part Avengers-Defenders War. Instead of reprinting the historic event over the course of several issues, Rampage #10 (Dec. 21, 1977) summarized the events from Avengers #115-118/Defenders #8-10 as two pages of background text and then reprinted Defenders #11 (Dec. 1973), the closing chapter of the crossover.

On the cover of Rampage #10, Dr. Strange refers to his teammates as comrades. When the word balloon originally appeared on the cover of Defenders #11, he called them Defenders.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Fun and Games

Fun and Games Magazine #4 (Dec. 1979) had a lot to offer Defenders fans. The opening page featured Nighthawk above a bird-word puzzle. Among the hidden words were other characters with bird names, including Falcon (of the Defenders for a Day) and Lady Lark (from the Squadron Supreme).

Red Guardian appeared a few pages later with a fill-in puzzle of words beginning with red, plus these similarly named characters: Red Ghost, Red Rajah, Red Raven, and Redwing (Falcon's pet bird).

Another activity used a grid to show readers how to draw Hellcat. A two-page wedding game asked readers to match the first names of various couples, including Buzz and Patsy (Hellcat's alter ego), Jack and Barbara (Norriss), and Glenn and Betty (Talbot).

The wedding image of Patsy Walker and Buzz Baxter shown on the cover of Fun and Games Magazine #4 originally appeared as a flashback in Avengers #144, as the couple had already divorced.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Tigra's Tagline

Tigra effectively inherited her own series in Marvel Chillers #3-7 (Feb.-Oct. 1976), when she received cover billing as Tigra, the Were-Woman. Perhaps because she gained her powers through scientific means and not lycanthropy, the character received a new tagline in Marvel Premiere #42 (June 1978), headlining instead as as Tigra, the Feline Fury.

For curiosity's sake, I decided to see what Advanced Dungeons & Dragons had to say about weretigers at this time. In keeping with Tigra, the Lycanthrope entry in the Monster Manual described weretigers as most often female and very rare to encounter. Werewolves, on the other hand, were relatively common by comparison.


Monday, March 14, 2022

Secret Wars II

Although the New Defenders did not participate in the original Secret Wars limited series, New Defenders #152 was a tie-in issue to Secret Wars II. Telepathically sensing that the Beyonder was on Earth, Moondragon called out to the godlike being. When the Beyonder materialized and offered Moondragon a chance to be his disciple, she accepted. As deeply as Moondragon craved such cosmic validation, she still harbored vindictive thoughts toward the New Defenders, who justifiably regarded her as evil. Immediately after the Beyonder left, Moondragon returned her loyalty to the corrupt Dragon of the Moon as though nothing had happened.

Friday, March 11, 2022

The Case for Mantis

After much anticipation, Mantis became the Celestial Madonna because she had learned humility whereas Moondragon had not. What evidence worked in Mantis' favor? On a superficial level, Mantis seldom used the word I, typically referring to herself instead as "this one" (and, as a result, the first time I read a comic book featuring Mantis, I thought she was speaking of another character).

While giving lip service to a form of detachment, Mantis was not without flaw. Unhappy in her relationship with the Swordsman, Mantis made romantic overtures toward Vision by saying that others suitors were unworthy (Avengers #128). Already in love with the Scarlet Witch, Vision rebuffed such advances. When Mantis came to regret her behavior, Vision gladly accepted her apology (#131). Ultimately, Mantis' willingness to acknowledge when she was mistaken gave her an edge over Moondragon.

Mantis joined the Avengers in #114 (Aug. 1973). As the Celestial Madonna, she married an intelligent plant that took on the physical appearance of the Swordsman.