Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Defenders Dialogue: Odin's Eye-Patch

New Defenders #126 published this thoughtful letter and editorial reply concerning a scene with Odin and Valkyrie from #122 and upcoming limited series spotlighting other members of the Defenders.

Dear Gang,
DEFENDERS #122 was fantastic but (there's always a "but", isn't there?) I did find a Major Mistake. On page 15, panels 1 and 2, where we see Odin consoling the Valkyrie, one would notice that the All-Father has an eye-patch on his left eye. But we all know the eye-patch goes over his right eye (it even says so in MARVEL UNIVERSE #8).
But never fear. I have an explanation. Odin's visual image to Brunnhilda could have been like a trick-photographic image in which all things are reversed. Therefore, the mixed-up eyepatches. This does entitle me to a No-Prize, right guys? Guys? Guys?
Kevin Pfluger
Cherry Hill, NJ
P.S. Having the Gargoyle in his own mini-series would be excellent! How about Iceman getting one, too?
Iceman's getting one, Kevin — courtesy of the creative team that brought you this very issue of THE NEW DEFENDERS: J.M. DeMatteis and Alan Kupperberg. Look for it some time in '84. And, yes, Kevin, the No-Prize is on the way. We were inundated with letters from irate eye-patch watchers and yours was the only one to offer a solution. Thanks, pal — we really needed you on this one.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

In the Wings

Angel was basically benched from the team after New Defenders #143, when an attack from Moondragon left him blind until #152, the final issue of the series. If Angel seemed unfettered while wounded, he had already done his share of soul searching just before joining the New Defenders (#125), when the subterranean band of mutants known as Morlocks kidnapped him and clipped his pin feathers (X-Men #169-170).

No longer a prospective mate for Callisto, leader of the Morlocks, Angel was instead boyfriend to Candy Southern, leader of the New Defenders. This may have helped him maintain his perspective.

In this panel from Defenders #146 (Aug. 1985), Cloud verbally guides Angel as he practices flying without his eyesight.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Close Encounters

Cataclysmic visions of the future would prompt Dr. Strange, Hulk, Sub-Mariner and Silver Surfer to quit the Defenders. According to the mysterious, time-traveling Tribunal, the four heroes would investigate a crashed starship in October 1983 (cover date of Defenders #124). The ship's passengers, followers of saintly Prince Ch'kra from the planet Kamado, would then tragically commit suicide after mistaking the Defenders for agents of King Ch'kri, their planet's warmongering ruler. In the mid 24th century, an armada of Kamado starships would eventually destroy the Earth to obliterate any historical trace of Prince Ch'kra. Only by ceasing to band together could the four heroes hope to avert this fate (#125, which retitled the series as The New Defenders).

Although the Tribunal's warning would prove spurious at best, I'd like to think that Prince Ch'kra's followers managed to safely leave Earth while leaving no evidence behind.

This vision of the 24th century comes from the closing page of Defenders #123 (Sept. 1983).

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Case of the Missing Mutants

In Defenders #124, Beast reminded Iceman an an early plot orchestrated by the Secret Empire.

Beast: Or have you forgotten how the Empire kidnapped you, me, and half the mutants in the Western Hemisphere a few years back--and tried to tap our X-energies for their own ever-so nasty ends?

Beast wasn't exaggerating. After the Irish mutant Banshee feared that he might be the next one abducted (Captain America #172), Professor X, Cyclops and Marvel Girl of the X-Men enlisted the help of Captain America and Falcon to rescue the following mutants from the clutches of the Secret Empire:

  • Angel
  • Beast
  • Blob
  • Havok
  • Iceman
  • Mastermind
  • Mesmero
  • Unus
  • Lorna Dane (not yet Polaris)

Concluding in Captain America #175 (April 1974), the suspenseful storyline explained the X-Men's absence at a time when their own title published only reprints. The number of known mutants from the Eastern and Western Hemispheres would increase drastically in the year ahead, with the return of all-new X-Men stories in their series.

These images come from Captain America #172 (above) and #175 (below).

Friday, June 10, 2022

Defenders Fan and Games

The closing page of Fun and Games Magazine #11 (July 1980) said the next month's content would include:

  • Hulk
  • Spider-Woman
  • The Thing
  • Silver Surfer
  • The Defenders

Those characters, and more, did appear in various puzzles within #12 (August 1980). With regard to the non-team, the cover of The Defenders #73 (July 1979) was the basis for an activity titled "What's Missing?" The scene pictured Aragorn, Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hulk and Hellcat facing an extra-dimensional foe named Arisen Tyrk.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Lawful vs. Chaotic

Having previously posted about the alignment system from Dungeons & Dragons, I wanted to explore how some editions of the game understood the terms Lawful and Chaotic as descriptors for civilization and unbridled nature. Following a reconnaissance mission in the Northwest Territories of Canada, the members of Alpha Flight illustrate these competing positions in a panel from Contest of Champions #1 (June 1982).

Here, Northstar mentions how he looks forward to returning to the city of Ottawa. Along these lines, Aurora remarks that she'd like to get back to teaching school in Quebec. In contrast, Sasquatch says he prefers the wilds. Snowbird says that is her element too.

Team leader Vindicator is unsurprised when Shaman interjects that there is much to recommend about both worlds. Within D&D, Shaman's sentiment reflects a Neutral alignment between the extremes of Law and Chaos.