Comics You Should Own – ‘Defenders’ #46-50

Hi, and welcome to Comics You Should Own, a semi-regular series about comics I think you should own. I began writing these a little over fifteen years ago, and I’m still doing it, because I dig writing long-form essays about comics. I republished my early posts, which I originally wrote on my personal blog, at Comics Should Be Good about ten years ago, but since their redesign, most of the images have been lost, so I figured it was about time I published these a third time, here on our new blog. I plan on keeping them exactly the same, which is why my references might be a bit out of date and, early on, I don’t write about art as much as I do now. But I hope you enjoy these, and if you’ve never read them before, I hope they give you something to read that you might have missed. I’m planning on doing these once a week until I have all the old ones here at the blog. Today I’m going back to the 1970s, with a comic that features perhaps the most beer-drinking in a mainstream superhero book in history! This post was originally published sometime in late 2005/early 2006. As always, you can click on the images to see them better. Enjoy!

Let’s go old school, people, to the days when Greg Hatcher roamed the spinner racks and bought stuff like this and LOVED it! Yes, it’s a flashback to … the Seventies!!!!!

The Defenders by Roger Slifer (writer, issue #46; plotter, issue #47), David Kraft (writer, issues #46, 48-50; plotter, issue #47; colorist, issues #48-49), David Warner (scripter, issue #47), Keith Giffen (penciler, issues #46-50; inker, issue #50), Klaus Janson (inker, issues #46-47), Dan Green (inker, issue #48), Mike Royer (inker/letterer, issue #49), Dave Hunt (colorist, issue #46), Don Warfield (colorist, issue #50), Irv Watanabe (letterer, issues #46, 49), John Costanza (letterer, issues #47, 50), and Annette Kawecki (letterer, issue #48). (No colorist is credited for issue #47.)

Published by Marvel, 5 issues (“Volume 1,” #46-50), cover dated April – August 1977.

I’m not sure if SPOILER is the correct term for 43-year-old comics, but here be SPOILERS!

Comics fans today often talk of “big, dumb superhero comics.” They may use this phrase as a compliment or pejoratively, depending on their mood. Even if they are using it as a compliment, it comes off as faintly condescending, as if there is something wrong with the book, even though they like it. As if they’re enjoying it in an ironic way, the way some people might take in an Ed Wood film festival.

I’ve used the phrase before, so I know that of which I speak. I try not to use it, though, because there is absolutely nothing “dumb” about good escapist art – and superheroes can be a lot of things to a lot of people, but first and foremost, they are escapist fantasies, and we shouldn’t belittle them. Especially when they are done well, which is a lot harder than it looks. Which brings us, in a roundabout way, to the first volume of Marvel’s Defenders, and a little tale called “Who Remembers Scorpio?”

I have to thank Wizard magazine, of all sources, for turning me onto these five issues. A few years ago [Edit: okay, 25 years] they ran an article about comics worth reading, and this forgotten gem was on the list. I figured the issues would be cheap (I was right), so I went out and got them. And what do you know, Wizard was right – these are good comics. From the beginning (well, page 11 of issue #46, when the action starts, as the first ten pages are the Defenders having an argument over who’s leaving and who’s staying on the team) to the end, we stop very few times to catch our breath. The various writers, aided by Giffen before his art got really weird (and, admittedly, much better, although it’s perfectly fine here), run the Defenders through their action-filled paces, and it’s fun to go along for the ride. However, we get very little character development of our heroes – Marvel trusts us to know who these people are, and how they interact with each other, and we’re just going to have to deal with that. We do get some nice moments between Valkyrie and Hellcat, and the Hulk ruminates on the (non-)team and how he just wants fried chicken (I kid you not!), and Kyle Richmond is suitably tortured after he becomes the group’s leader by default when Dr. Strange quits in the first issue of this story, but it’s largely surface stuff. Slifer, Kraft, and Warner don’t really care about delving into the hearts and minds of our heroes (joined in this story by Moon Knight). They care about the Hulk smashing things and the rest of the heroes generally wreaking havoc, because they have a threat to deal with. And isn’t that what heroes do – wreak havoc while dealing with threats?

Ah, but what a threat. In their choice of villain, Slifer and Kraft struck gold, and the presence of Scorpio in this story is what elevates it from a decent-but-forgettable slugfest into a Comic You Should Own. Scorpio is the perfect postmodern, late 1970s-era villain: Chock full of angst, always ready to drink a beer, clever and resilient, scheming in a vague, comic-book-villain kind of way (we’re never exactly sure what he plans to do with the new Zodiac, although wreaking of havoc and robbing of banks is probably part of it), and not really a bad guy once you get past the murderous tendencies he has. He adds such a strange spark to this story that he completely takes it over and makes it his own. We know and learn very little about the Defenders in this story, but we do learn quite a bit about Scorpio.

The story begins in issue #46 on page 11, as Jack Norriss is tracked and blasted (in a non-lethal way) by Nick Fury and a couple of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. At about the same time, the Defenders head to Kyle Richmond’s ranch, where they find Scorpio, who fights them pretty much to a standstill (even the Hulk, which stretches credulity just a tad). Then he teleports away, vowing to return (just like a good villain). This, however, is just a prelude. Issue #47 is kind of an interlude, as Scorpio is absent throughout, and the Defenders fight Wonder Man at Avengers Mansion (don’t ask). The Norriss plot, which does eventually intersect with Scorpio’s, is picked up on, though, as Moon Knight stumbles onto Fury and his agents carting Norriss away. This is one of MK’s early appearances, but even I, who love the character, have trouble believing that Hackensack, New Jersey is “his territory,” or that he would simply throw himself into combat against S.H.I.E.L.D. – I suppose his explanation that S.H.I.E.L.D. treated Norriss badly is okay, but for all he knows, Norriss could be a violent terrorist and Fury was just taking precautions. It’s best not to think about it too much. Moon Knight kicks ass and rescues Norriss, who tells him, “I’m innocent” (of what, he’s not sure). Moon Knight, in full, wonderfully cheery 1970s-mode, says, “For now, that’ll be good enough.” Excellent.

I don’t mean to belittle the plot, because it is escapist literature, after all, and heroes know best, so I’ll ease back. Moon Knight takes Norriss to Doctor Strange’s place, where Valkyrie is hanging out, and they head over to Avengers Mansion to get Hellcat, who been fighting Wonder Man (I told you not to ask). When they see that Hellcat has been in a brouhaha, they rush in, with Norriss the voice of reason: “I realize my opinion doesn’t count for much lately … but aren’t we sorta rushing into this?” After some fisticuffs, all is resolved, but then Fury gets on the line telling the Avengers that if they find Norriss, they need to turn him over to S.H.I.E.L.D. at once!

This is where the story really gets interesting, as Scorpio returns in issue #48. On the splash page, Scorpio sits in semi-darkness, brooding like Odin in an art style that can only be called Kirby-esque (it’s amazing how influential Kirby is when you start noticing such things). In this issue we begin to delve into Scorpio’s twisted and rather pathetic psyche. Fury is with him, and we learn that the two men are brothers. In trying to capture Norriss, Fury is not working for S.H.I.E.L.D. – he’s working for Scorpio. In the opening dialogue, Scorpio tells us that he’s 52 years old and that he has always been an outcast from society. He launches into a rant about how society tells people what to do and how if you raise your head up and speak your mind, you get smacked down. It’s a fascinating pseudo-monologue (Fury gets a few words in) for several reasons. First, Scorpio’s age. The issue of age is rarely raised in comics – everyone is perpetually in their late 20s/early 30s and in peak physical shape. Scorpio doesn’t really look 52, but the point that Kraft is trying to make is that here is someone who has grown older and not participated in the sorts of things that make a life worthwhile. He can rant against society all he wants – he didn’t do anything that “society” says makes you “happy,” but he also didn’t try to do any of the things to change that society. His life has been a waste, it’s mostly his fault, and suddenly he realizes he’s running out of time. The rant reaches a triumphantly wacky climax, as on page 3, our villain shouts: “Thus, in order to survive, I have become my own creation – an image, an ideal! I have become Scorpio – and I shall succeed!” He then instantly calms down and says to Fury: “Now, it is time for you to collect Jack Norriss from those unwitting fools! Pick up some beer on the way over, too – I don’t want our hostage going thirsty!” I can’t make this stuff up – it’s pure villainous gold!

The Defenders turn Norriss over to Fury without blinking, but they soon learn that Scorpio has kidnapped him and demanded a ransom from Kyle Richmond. In another excellent line, Kyle gets the call from Scorpio just as he (Kyle) “was splashing [himself] with Windjammer cologne.” Scorpio wants $500,000, and Kyle convinced him to allow Nighthawk to deliver the money. Because he’s crafty like that. Over in New Jersey, where Scorpio has his secret lair (I’d say something about the Garden State being the home of a crazed villain, but I’m above that), he and Norriss get acquainted over cans of Schlitz (Norriss gets the cold one, because Scorpio is a swell guy). Norriss actually sounds like Scorpio in the exchange – he talks of people in positions of power simply using others, and Scorpio sympathizes. He then shows Norriss his grand design – the Zodiac Chamber, which he claims is “the salvation of the world,” which makes him “a savior.” In the chamber he is creating life, one person for each month of the year. What his plans for these life forms is not yet revealed (nor is it ever), but throughout this whole exchange, we get more nice glimpses into Scorpio’s mind. When Moon Knight shows up to save Norriss, he traps the hero in a standard death trap, but before sealing him in, he gives MK a beer, because that’s the kind of guy he is. Moon Knight escapes, of course, and the cool thing about it is that we never find out how. He just escapes, and the next time we see him (at the beginning of issue #49) he’s on his way to warn the Defenders. We’re just supposed to know how he got out. Scorpio goes to get the ransom money, and it turns out he knows that Nighthawk is really Kyle Richmond, and it was a trap to capture the hero. Nighthawk is just another part of Scorpio’s mysterious plan.

Moon Knight rushes off to get the Defenders, and Scorpio tells Norriss his “origin” story, which is brief and typically bizarre. The sibling rivalry with Fury is brought up, but Kraft leaves it to us to read into it what we want. Later Scorpio tells Norriss that he tried to emulate Fury, but that quickly turned to hatred. Again, Scorpio’s character development is prominent in this story, and we are realizing how twisted he is – Norriss accuses him of creating the Zodiac just to have friends, and he agrees. Alienation has been a motive in stories before this, but what’s interesting about Scorpio is how self-aware he is and how single-minded he is just to have friends. He activates the Zodiac Chamber prematurely, because he fears that the Defenders will arrive soon. Kraft then drops another bombshell – it’s not really Fury! It’s actually a life model decoy made to look like Fury, and Scorpio, interestingly enough, has the same love/hate relationship with the LMD that he does with his brother. He can’t see past the fact that the LMD is just reacting to him, and his envy of his brother drives Scorpio to abuse the LMD, who is, by design, devoted to him. It’s an interesting twist on the idea of split personalities – Scorpio could be talking to himself the whole time, and for all intents and purposes, he is. The pop psychological aspect of this story is what makes it fascinating – Scorpio is unhinged, true, but he wants to make himself and the world better, in whatever twisted way he can, but he’s so inept he can’t even defeat a simulacrum of his brother.

The Defenders, meanwhile, are trying to get the Hulk to help them rescue Nighthawk. Hulk is just hanging out in Central Park stealing picnic food, and – say it with me – wants to be left alone. Hellcat, Valkyrie, and Moon Knight goad him into following them across the river, causing major property damage along the way. They lead him right to Scorpio’s lair, and as issue #50 begins, the Defenders face off against the newly-created Zodiac! In the Mighty Marvel Manner, this is a huge fight issue, but once again, Kraft subverts our expectations. Scorpio really cares about only one member of the Zodiac – Virgo, whom he created specifically to be Eve to his Adam. Aquarius and Libra debate morality during the fight, while Aquarius has a beer. Scorpio reaches the Zodiac Chamber to find that Pisces, Capricorn, and yes, Virgo, did not survive the awakening process. Pisces gets a nice death scene – he asks Scorpio, “What happened? You have the answers … We all know you have the answers … But this pain … It was not … part of our programming.” Scorpio yells at him as he dies, “I care about you … and everytime I care, I get hurt.” Finally, he finds Virgo’s body, and that drives him over the edge. He no longer cares about the rest of the Zodiac, because he’ll never feel Virgo’s caress or embrace. The Defenders are busy fighting the rest of the bad guys, but they get unexpected help from Gemini, who switches sides in the middle of the battle. The rest are easily beaten, but Norriss and Moon Knight realize that Scorpio and the Fury LMD are still on the loose. So they head off to find them.

On the last two pages, Scorpio’s saga comes to a depressing end. He gets one last rant, and he uses it to tell Fury that life is unfair. Yes, we all know that, but it’s interesting because Scorpio just gives up, unlike most comic-book villains. He says, “Every time I’ve ever believed in anything, or had faith that the future would get better for me, I’ve had that false hope knocked out of me …” Scorpio’s despair is palpable, and it becomes even more ironic when the Fury LMD tells him how much he’s always respected him. Scorpio has been so desperate for a friend that he never realized he already had one. It’s too late, though, and he asks Fury for his gun and shoots himself. Norriss and Moon Knight find him too late. Before he kills himself, Scorpio says, “A man must meet his own final defeat with class, with panache. Haven’t I always said that?” Throughout the story, Scorpio has been concerned with style, with doing things with class. He is an anachronism in this world, and unlike Kraven’s rather showy suicide a decade later, we understand this one better because we have seen how ineffectual Scorpio is and also how out of touch he is with the world and even those close to him. This suicide is more real than Kraven’s, because we have come to know Scorpio much better than we know Kraven. This is not showboating on Scorpio’s part. Norriss and Moon Knight don’t understand this – they think the Fury LMD killed him, and Moon Knight says, “Who’ll miss a maniac like Scorpio, anyway?” The Fury LMD gets the last words of the issue: “I will.” It’s a downer, sure, but it makes us realize that even crazed villains like Scorpio have a soul and have people who are going to miss them. It’s also interesting that the Defenders are nowhere to be found. They are incidental to this story – it’s about Scorpio and how he has failed to deal with his life, and we’re unconcerned with anything except examining this man’s spiral into suicide.

For all its goofiness, these five issues offer us something more than a superhero slugfest. Why is Scorpio a villain? Does he really have nothing to offer the world? He is obviously a brilliant scientist – he creates life, after all, which in the Marvel Universe might not be as amazing as in ours, but it’s still pretty impressive. He craves human companionship, doesn’t necessarily want to fight the Defenders or take over the world (it’s worth mentioning again that he never reveals his plans to anyone, so we can only speculate what he was going to do with the Zodiac), and he is in good shape. His self-esteem issues are what drives him, and it’s quite the dichotomy that he achieves so much while driven by an inferior complex. We don’t know Fury’s role in all of this, either. Is Scorpio just crazy and Fury never did anything to cause these feelings? Or was Fury not the best brother and tormented Scorpio to the point where he was consumed by his rage? Knowing Fury, it was probably a bit of both. In the end, despite his accomplishments, Scorpio cannot overcome his feelings and, instead of teleporting away, which he mentions that he could do, he commits suicide. In much the same way that Kevin Smith attempted to make Mysterio a sympathetic character before killing himself (and failed), the creators of this story attempt to make Scorpio sympathetic, and they succeed. We can’t condone much that he does, but we do understand it.

If you question whether these issues are collected in a trade paperback, my answer would be: “Are you kidding?” I can’t find any evidence that they are, but they’re ridiculously common and cheap – I think I bought all five for five bucks [Edit: They have, apparently, been collected in Defenders Essentials volume #3, which you can find pretty easily – but they’re not in color, man!]. They are very neat issues from a time when comics were less concerned with grittiness but still weren’t afraid to confront some tough issues. They certainly aren’t “dumb” superhero comics – they are simply superhero comics done excellently. Who remembers Scorpio? We do. He’s too tragic to forget.

And hey! Look at all those archives!

We are all Hulk

[As usual, I ignore the art to focus on the story, but Giffen’s art really is nice in this arc, especially when he’s inked by Mike Royer in issue #49 and when he inks himself in #50. Dan Green does a good job, and as much as I like Janson’s inks, when Janson inks someone, much like Bill Sienkiewicz, it becomes much more “his” work, so it’s not quite as Kirby-esque as when Royer, who often inked Kirby, and Giffen ink it. It’s still very good, and I wish I had spent more time on it. I also find my 2005 self amusing by being a bit shocked by how influential Kirby was, especially in the 1970s – I mean, by 2006 I had been reading comics for 18 years, but because I was still mostly reading current stuff, I hadn’t really fully appreciated Kirby yet. So Giffen’s Kirby-esque art is not a big surprise to me these days. I noted above that by 2010, these stories had been collected in Marvel’s “Essential” series, which were excellent black-and-white chunks of comics if you just wanted to read them and not worry about the lack of color, but Marvel doesn’t do those anymore and it appears this one is out of print. There’s a Masterworks of these issues (as well as the ones around them), but it’s hard to find. I would try to find the single issues – I very much doubt they’re that much money or that hard to find. I would also like to point out that I know that issue #51 shows how Moon Knight got out of Scorpio’s trap. I think I knew in 2010 when I reposted this but not when I originally wrote it, but I have seen the scene where he gets out on-line somewhere but I still don’t own the issue, so I don’t include it here. Sorry! Anyway, that’s “Who Remembers Scorpio?” Just balls-to-the-wall superhero action, with beer. As it should be!]

16 Comments

  1. Peter

    If I was trying to define my ideal superhero comic, it would be hard to come up with a better exemplar than this little run of Defenders and the late 70s/early 80s X-Men. I wouldn’t say that they are my favorite comics, but they provide all the key elements that I think make superhero comics so compelling – there’s a ton of action, as you mentioned, but the characters also feel like multidimensional people and there’s a little bit of subtext, too. They’re perfectly appropriate for kids, but there’s enough thought put into them that there’s going to be some stuff best appreciated by adults, too. The ubiquitous cans of Schlitz in this issue are a great example of that latter point. When I first read these stories in my teenage years, I thought all the beer did a pretty good job of humanizing Scorpio (sure, he’ll put you in a death trap, but he won’t let you die thirsty!) but being a little bit more knowledgeable with age, the brand choice is a nice, obvious-if-you’re-looking symbol for Scorpio’s whole character: in 1977, Schlitz, too, was far past its prime and spiraling rapidly into irrelevance with every passing year.

    I also think that the ending gets sadder every year – unlike a lot of comic book suicides, which, though always grim, tend to be matters of twisted pride/honor/what have you, Scorpio’s death is really a death of despair – uncomfortably realistic in its motive. It’s even worse that the title characters don’t exactly prove his feelings of insignificance to be wrong.

  2. DarkKnight

    I’m surprised Wizard recommended these as they usually seemed to dismiss anything that wasn’t published past 1980.

    I preferred the Gerber run but these are right up there. I also agree on Scorpio’s suicide being handled much better than Kraven’s but then again I’ve never been as big on Kraven’s Last Hunt as most people.

    The Masterwork that contains these issues and the single issues are both on comiXology if anyone is interested in reading these digitally.

    1. Greg Burgas

      DarkKnight: Wizard was such a weird magazine. 90% of it would be dedicated to “what’s KEWL!” and then 10% would be really cool stuff about indie books, off-the-beaten-path current superhero stuff, or weird and cool Bronze Age or even Silver Age stuff. They didn’t get into the Golden Age or, say, more indie stuff from the 1960s, but I was always frustrated by them because it was clear they had people on staff who knew about all this stuff, yet they would dedicate ten pages to whatever Rob Liefeld was planning to get to, stuff that would never see the light of day because he was too busy making jeans commercials.

      1. DarkKnight

        Yeah that pretty much sums up Wizard. 🙂 I first started reading in 96 and between the magazine and the various specials, I was exposed to a lot of comics I wouldn’t have known about. Pretty grateful for that since we didn’t get the internet in my house until X-mas 98. Funny enough I never went near the “KEWL” books they promoted and haven’t to this day.

        Man they put Lieield on a huge pedal stool but as soon as he had that falling out with Image, it all most seemed like they couldn’t wait to dump on him like the rest of industry.

  3. This is the only time I read a Kraft book I didn’t hate (including the rest of his Defenders). It’s way better than his usual.
    Your mention of Scorpio’s age reminds me of Victorious the Super-Soldier who took on Ka-Zar. A scientist who devoted his life to replicating the super-soldier treatment, he succeeds but realizes he’s got nothing else — never had any excitement, wasted his youth, no family, no kids. So he takes the formula, becomes a super-villain and after Ka-Zar kicks his butt, gets religion and joins the Cult of Entropy. Reading it for the first time a few years ago, I was able to appreciate it better than I probably would if I’d read it as a teen.

  4. conrad1970

    Slightly off topic but wasn’t it The Defenders that featured The Hulk crying because Bambi had been shot by hunters?
    Man, Marvel comics were kooky back in the 70’s but I just love that era. Will have to go and re-read these now, thanks Greg for adding more to my To Be Read List.

    1. Greg Burgas

      No problem! I always like to make people’s reading lists longer!

      I’ve heard of that Hulk thing, but I’ve never read it and don’t know if it’s an urban legend. If it exists, I wouldn’t doubt it’s in the Defenders!

  5. Alaric

    This was my absolute favorite post-Gerber Defenders story (sorry, nobody can compete with Steve Gerber as a Defenders writer, in my opinion. This comes incredibly close, though). Excellent story. I have to point out, though, that there’s an epilogue to this story in #51 that has to be read to get the whole story.

  6. Jeff Nettleton

    I wrote reviews of the whole Defenders run, over at the Classic Comics Forum. Scorpio was introduced in Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD, in the first issue, though he seemingly dies. He turns up again a few issues later and ambushes Nick Fury, who is resting before the demonstration of a new Life Model Decoy field agent, who will go through a gauntlet of deathtraps. Fury is dressed up in the LMD’s uniform (with helmet and mask) and forced through it. Meanwhile, early in the story, Fury was in contact with a man who knows of his path. Fury wins, Scorpio disappears and Fury is able to identify himself (he had been drugged and was incapable of speech. That was all Steranko. So, the LMD with Scorpio is the one he stole when he put Nick in its place. Within the Steranko story, it is alluded that Fury knows Scorpio and has since his youth, though being brothers isn’t completely clear.

    Giffen reversed the color scheme on Scorpio’s uniform. In the Steranko story, it is orange, with yellow trunks, and his mouth area is red. In the Defenders story, it is a red uniform, with the orange mouth area.

    This story followed on the heels of Gerry Conway’s short-lived hijacking of Defenders, when he became EIC. He wrote issues 42 and 43, starting a story with the Emissaries of Evil, then quit Marvel and Roger Slifer scripted the last issue, over his plot. DAK scripted #45m then Slifer & DAK co-plotted 46. Conway had broken heavily with where Gerber had been going and DAK was trying to get back into that territory. Scorpio’s despair fit in with the character types Gerber had been using, where most of the villains were losers and the Defenders weren’t exactly doing much better.

    Giffen was heavily in his Kirby phase and is greatly aided by Klaus Janson, who made him more polished. Giffen stuck around for a couple of more issues; but, had problems with deadlines and maturity (in his own words) and kind of went off and came back to comic, leading to his Legion run, where he was channeling Druillet and Munoz (well, swiping, really).

    I bought these new and reacquired them later, in my collecting days (most of my original collection was gone, before I went to college and entered my first comic shop and nearly fainted). Giffen did a decent Kirby and was starting to forge his own style. He had done a more Adams-ish style, at DC, on Claw. DAK was the last decent Defenders writer, in my opinion. Peter Gillis had some nice ideas, but a lot of them never really got developed and the Book was turning into an ZX-Men offshoot (what wasn’t). JM DeMatteis had some decent issues and ideas; but, art suffered after Giffen and they never really got another “great” artist on the series.

    1. Greg Burgas

      I know Giffen has been accused of swiping, but I don’t see it as much as some. Sure, there are similarities, but there are similarities between a lot of artists. I wouldn’t be surprised if Giffen was influenced by Druillet and Munoz (the latter perhaps more than the former), but I hate to call it swiping, which implies nefarious intent.

      As I pointed out, I think Royer did a better job inking him than Janson. To me, Janson is such a strong artist himself that I think he takes over. This is clear from Daredevil, when the difference between Janson inking Miller and Janson drawing it himself is negligible. I like Janson’s inks, but Giffen was much more “Giffen” when the others were inking him. Of course, you may disagree! 🙂

  7. dbutler69

    I read these several years ago, and they were fun. The main thing I remember is Scorpio’s obsession with beer!

    I have to disagree about Giffen’s art. I think his 70’s art is excellent, and his art from about the mid-80’s in is unreadable (unwatchable? unlookable?). I think he pretty much ruined the Legion of Super-Heroes.

    1. Greg Burgas

      I do like Giffen’s 1970s art, but he was so clearly aping Kirby that it gets distracting. I know he’s been accused of swiping Munoz as he evolved, but the idiosyncratic weirdness of his later art is just terrific. It’s so oddball yet still effective. Different strokes, however, so I get your preference!

  8. Hi Greg, Greg, Travis & gang, I remember you well from CBR days. Good to see you’ve pitched up well here.
    I love this arc and appreciate the love you’ve given it. I prefer the Royer inks of Giffen here, the more Kirbyesque it got, the better, IMHO.
    Giffen had some interesting early and strong inkers: Wood on All-Star, Janson, etc. And outside of the Gerber run, this is the Defenders story I liked most. The title didn’t reach these heights again.
    Pete (finally got around to logging in but lurked here for a while).

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