Issue(s): Defenders #62, Defenders #63, Defenders #64
and meanwhile a large group of villains also declare themselves to be Defenders while doin' crime in NYC.
As a premise, it's stupid enough, but it is also handled very poorly, with all of the guest characters written very badly out of character. The whole thing is played for laughs in a "zany" type of way that would make Steve Gerber blush. Very very poor.
The Presence also gets a sub-plot dealing with the fallout of a previous genetic experiment. It's a little more serious than the main story but not enough to save the arc.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: This has been moved forward in time a little bit to get past the period where the Hulk is residing at Gamma Base. Ms. Marvel is wearing her new costume, placing this after Ms. Marvel #20. Ms. Marvel also says she is now an Avenger, but she can't be referring to her formal membership mandated by Gyrich in Avengers #183 since that won't be published for about half a year. She must be referring to her recent team-ups with them during the Korvac Saga. The other guest characters don't really have any context, and most of them don't even have books so fitting them in isn't really a problem.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (12): show
I'd guess that Kraft got tired of hearing suggestions that every unemployed B-Lister in the MU should be a Defender, so he shoved them all in this one, aided by Sal "I'll draw anybody!" Buscema. But he's giving absolutely zero effort on characterization (I can't even remember who just randomly decides to ride Nighthawk's horses) and even if you take that as a satire on team-up books, it still grates.
Also, the idea that the Defenders invite chaos by not having a formal structure (a la the Avengers bylaws or the Fantastic Four, Inc. charter) seems a bit elitist for a guy who was moonlighting as a taxicab driver.
Posted by: Dan Spector | February 3, 2013 2:15 PM
I got these issues from back-issue bins when I was a kid, and thought they were great fun at the time, but I'm sure they don't hold up well. (I was also unfamiliar with most of the B-listers, so didn't notice them being off-character.)
Posted by: Erik Robbins | September 6, 2013 11:11 PM
These issues shows what separates the Defenders from the rest of the Marvel team book. Would this happen in the Avengers? Of course not! That's the point. There was a time when Marvel group books had a distinct personality to them.
The Defenders were the weird, anything goes, out of control, non team.
It is shown in these issues to great effect.
Posted by: A.Lloyd | March 5, 2014 8:31 PM
I agree this story was terrible. It makes me wonder if it would have been worthwhile had the guests been written more in character or if that would have just been lipstick on a pig.
Posted by: Dan H. | December 20, 2014 11:54 AM
This story had a bad guy called Onionhead in it. Marvel's (probably) sole attempt at an onion-themed villain. He'd have had such potential if they'd just given him powers.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | March 4, 2018 2:13 PM
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