This is an article with a difference. Instead of positing a theory, or giving a philosophy or a review, I want to ask some questions about The Defenders and see if you, my beautiful and well-read readers, can answer them in the comments.
I’ve been reading Marvel’s The Defenders (1972) recently, mostly in Epic Collection reprints.
I have Epic trades of #92-109, #110-125 and scattered other issues. (I’ve recently bought an Epic trade with #s 126-137, but it’ll be a while before I get a chance to read it.) Reading them, and things about them, makes me wonder. Oh, and it makes me wonder.
What’s with the ‘non-team’ thing? I’ve always heard The Defenders described as a non-team, both in and out of the comics, but nothing about them makes them stand out from other teams. A recent CBR article implied they had an unstable roster, but their roster is no more unstable than anyone else’s, that I’ve noticed.
I’ve also heard it said that it’s because the characters on the original team (Dr Strange, Silver Surfer, Namor, Hulk) are all individualistic. The trouble with that is, if you combine a bunch of individualistic people onto a team, you know what you get? A team. Not a non-team. So, what makes them a non-team?
Speaking of the original line-up, why did they need to be broken up forever? In #125, they were brought back together so they could be broken up. They hadn’t been the team in the entire run I own, and as far as I can tell, not for a long time before that. So why permanently break them up? (I’m asking about the behind-the-scenes reason, not the one that’s clearly put on the page. Yes, I’m aware they’re getting back together soon… did anybody actually think this was permanent? Anybody?) Were the fans of the time clamouring for Marvel to get the band back together, maybe?
Devil Slayer’s Costume
One of the team members is named Devil Slayer. Background characters are terrified of him in costume.
When I first ran into this in solo stories in Marvel Comics Presents, I thought it was just the writer being dumb; but it seems to be a running thing. It’s not even a particularly distinctive costume; if I saw somebody dressed like that anywhere near a beach, I’d assume they were a SCUBA diver. (I’d probably think the cape was a towel or something.) And yet, people are scared of him in costume – and only him. Not Gargoyle, not beast, just SCUBA diver man. Is there an enchantment on his costume to make it scary? Something like that?
These are my questions for now – can you answer them?