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Comics You Should Own flashback – Defenders #46-50

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!!!!!

1970s covers were AWESOME! I always dug Wonder Man's awful threads Hulk puzzled!

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 (penciller, 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.)

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

Hulk use passive voice! Why isn't Valkyrie showing more skin, man?

I’m not sure if SPOILER is the correct term for 33-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, 15 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.

Story continues below

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!

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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.

Story continues below

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 actually succeed in making Scorpio sympathetic. We can’t condone much that he does, but he 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!

Scorpio gets philosophical!

Scorpio gets philosophical!


YES! I love this period of the Defenders, which is so often overlooked.

I LOVED this run…back when my buddy and I would raid the spinner racks at 7-Eleven after school. I also think this is what got me ordering back issues through the mail, because I wanted more Zodiac! Good times.

Nice. I picked up Essential Defenders 2&3 for Gerber’s run, but I’ll definitely continue into this now.

Ya, that early Giffen stuff really is Kirbytastic. Particularly his use of Kirby-Dots and Kirby Crackle, and the way few draw the Hulk’s brow.

This comic series was brought to you by Anhueser/Busch.

I remember buying these off the rack each month (or every other month, I forget if these were bi-monthly)…couldn’t wait. Giffen, Slifer, Warner and Kraft (Ltd.) were doing some crazy, under-the-radar stuff at this time, and I don’t think the Zodiac has ever been better used. Wonder what Slifer, Kraft and Warner (who wrote some issues of Son of Satan I liked at about this time, too) are doing these days?

Finally! Now you’re talking my language!

I met David Kraft about a year ago. At the time I was dating a girl who’s grandparents owned a mountain house in north Georgia. Their neighbor was David Kraft. I was lucky enough to visit his home and get a tour of his very cool mountain house. Great guy, and extremely nice. But I think he is for the most part retired, unfortunately.

For the longest time, I thought of this as the Last Truly Great Defenders story, and just about the only one that even approaches the Gerber run.

Actually, thinking about it, nothing later was quite as good again for the book, even often-cited latter-day “good” periods (like the upswing around the six-fingered-hand story, or the New Defenders) were just better than some of the abysmal crap in the intervening years, without really reaching heights like this or Gerber.

I’ll gladly admit, though, to really liking the Busiek-Larsen revival, as they really showed a liking, respect, and understanding of the appeal of the team and the history of the book. Too bad about that whole “Order” thing, even though the character bits with the second-tier Defenders almost saved it. I was always sad that that incarnation never lasted long enough to bring back a certain non-superhero supporting character…
(Yeah, yeah, I forgot an “s” when registering the name, I know…)

To be fair, “Norriss” is a weird way to spell it, sir!

I finally got the entire Gerber run. I’ll have to get around to reading it, and maybe it will show up here down the line!

I could never accept that Namor, Hulk and Dr. Strange would hang out together.
When the Defenders title began, I purchased every issue like a good Marvel Zombie.
But the series always seemed mediocre, like the taste of Lite Beer when you’re used to drinking the real thing.
The Defenders, to me, was always a pale after-image of the Avengers.

Left-over heroes fighting left-over villains in stories created by left-over writers and artists.
And all the heroes, writers, and artists (and editors) kept coming and going through the revolving door…

The first sentence is just an argument against “Big Three-ism.” As someone who rolls his eyes and snorts with disgust every time someone assigned with reviving the book says smugly that it’s going to be Big Three-only, I don’t have much of a problem with that.

The rest… just ignorance.

I just knew Jack Norris would have something to say about this story.

#46 was the first Defenders I ever read. The Hulk was the only character I knew much about, and I didn’t know that much about him. I had heard of Doctor Strange and Luke Cage, who quit in this issue, and Nick Fury, but every other character was completely unknown to me. But I had no difficulty following the story. The only thing that puzzled me at all was the Elf at the end. ( You didn’t even mention him, but this was his death scene, but then DeMatteis introduced a replacement Elf years later.)

A few years later, I got #50 from a garage sale. Sadly, I no longer had #46 by then (but I still have #50, one of the oldest books I still own as measured from the time acquired). It was great to finally learn how the story ended, although I was a bit confused by some details I’d missed. (I didn’t know what LMD meant at that time, for instance. I thought it was the real Fury.)
I remember thinking all the mention of beer was pretty cool, and I liked the references to the Wizard of Oz. I was confused by the presence of Moon Knight at first, since he hadn’t been in part one. I’d never heard of him before, but I was intrigued enough to get Moon Knight #1 when it appeared some months later.

I’ve always liked this story, and I’ve always wanted to read the rest, but they’ve been three to five dollars on the occasions I’ve come across them. That’s right on the edge of my price range, and so far I haven’t been able to talk myself into getting them.

Yeah, I don’t want to see Namor or the Hulk, or the Surfer, in any Defenders revival, either. They just don’t work on teams. Strange is acceptable, but I’d much rather see a later-style Defenders– Valkyrie, Hellcat, Beast, Gargoyle– people like that.

This was the period when I was a HUGE Marvel Zombie, and I read these issues wondering when Steve Gerber would come back to the book, since he left so many plot threads dangling…and basically resented the creative team for not being Steve Gerber and Sal Buscema. Now when I read them, I’m impressed with how they kept the flavor of Gerber’s stuff (deep character work and strange happenings around mostly normal Marvel characters) without just rehashing it. This could not have been an easy assignment.

Too bad DAK did so little work in comics, but he did give us the magazine Comics Interview, which was an amazing resource. Too bad they haven’t reprinted that magazine as a series of cheap trade paperbacks.

This was very early in Keith Giffen’s career and he only had a few hand positions he was comfortable drawing. Look at Scorpio’s left hand in the next to last picture in this article (Aquarius also cracks his beer with this hand position). Got it. Now try reading this run and every time you see this hand position, take a swig of an alcoholic beverage. It’s the Keith Giffen drinking game. Trust me, you’ll never make it to issue 50. If you make it that far you certainly won’t remember what you read.

“Moon Knight escapes, of course, and the cool thing about it is that we never find out how.”

You mean we don’t find out just then, since it is explained later. And the explanation is particularly clever at that!

If I recall correctly, the explanation of Moon Knight’s escape comes in the first few pages of issue #51. . . and if you love cans of beer, you might enjoy the explanation.

I have #5, but I’d forgotten about that explanation. I just now looked it up, and I remembered the moment I saw that page.

This is one of my favorite Defenders stories, and one of the few non-Gerber Defender stories to actually hold up pretty well.

Liked this so much I even put it on my list of 10 best Giffen stories last month – despite it being an example of Giffen’s really early, unpolished Kirbyesque art.
I suppose in some ways this was the last hurrah for the Defenders, although there was some good stuff here and there afterward. Nothing, though, came close to the Scorpio story, or the heights of the Gerber run.

RAB and Donald: Yeah, someone mentioned to me that you find out how Moon Knight escapes in issue #51, but I don’t have that issue. I always figured it had something to do with the beer can!

Mary: I didn’t mention Elf with a Gun because that was such a Gerber thing, and it was as if Slifer and Kraft were just dispatching him to separate themselves from the Gerber run. It’s incidental to the story, of course, and only makes sense if you’re a long-time Defenders reader. When I first got these issues, I had no idea who that was. But it didn’t matter, really.

Early Giffen is a fascinating creature and well worth a conversation, but having reread these in Essentials I’d like to point out how much Klaus Janson (also just starting out) was an unsung star of the series. The end results of his lush inks is a stark contrast to, say, Mike Royer, who really showcased the Kirbyesque period Giffen was in at the time. Seeing them for the first time in decades in black and white the differences really came out.

Hey, maybe Jack Norris can answer this; whatever happened to Jack Norriss?

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Jack Norriss turned up many moons later in the 1990s Nomad series, having been recruited by Nick Fury as an archivist and becoming bored being as he considered it, “SHIELD librarian.” He helped Jack Monroe in a number of missions, including arranging to fake Monroe’s death and return him to cryosleep when Nomad began going mad. He was last seen, so far as I know, in another Nicieza-penned series — Thunderbolts — where he turned up to help explain Nomad’s return in that series. He hasn’t been seen since.

I totally missed the whole Nomad era, but I had heard about him turning up in Thunderbolts, though I never found the issues.
Weirdest thing was, the only sample panels I’ve seen from then show him as not only gaining a bunch of weight since the classic years (Hey! Just like me!), but spontaneously turning blond and growing a beard, also blond (yeah, people bleach their hair, but their beard? Sure, it’s not impossible, but is it likely?)

Also, I remember being quite annoyed when, in some later era of the original Defenders book, a letter-writer asked if Jack Norriss (not used to spelling it that way…) would return, and got a rather snarky “no way/thankfully not!” type of response, like the character was particularly disliked around the office or by the current team, and was to be considered an embarrassment to the book’s history, no matter having been introduced at the peak of the title’s quality.


June 16, 2010 at 9:34 pm

As much as I dislike most of Janson’s inking, I think he really added a nice polish and texture to Giffen’s pencils. Was Giffen only doing layouts or roughs at this point?

LouReedRichards: He’s credited as “penciler,” and Marvel doesn’t get into more specifics. I think back then they would say if someone was just laying out the pages, but I could be wrong.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 17, 2010 at 7:38 am

Marvel usually does credit layouts and finishes as opposed to pencils and inks in those situations; it’s been that way ever since the days when Kirby was doing layouts for Dick Ayers and Don Heck on Avengers stories.

Also, Greg: Defenders #51 is basically an essential epilogue chapter of this story, to the point that I was vaguely suprised you didn’t include it. (Of course, not owning it does make that rather difficult.) It’s the sort of story we expect nowadays, a breather issue in which characters actually react to what’s just happened.

Yeah, 51 is a nice capper to this story. It’s also a perfect place to say goodbye to the book for at least a good forty or so issues, as things just go downhill from here, and don’t get better for quite a long time.

There are a few moments here and there in the rest of Kraft’s run, but never quite at the level of this, and you really don’t want to stick around for Devil Slayer or the over-armoring of Nighthawk’s costume.

And once Hannigan takes over the writing, you want to keep the hell away from this comic…

There’s some fun stuff with Dollar Bill (who later showed up in an issue of Solo Avengers, but I haven’t seen him since) and his membership drive, but yeah, the Hannigan stories I’ve seen are horrible. But then the DeMatteis and Gillis stories later on are the best Defenders stories ever

Well, they’re definitely an improvement, but they can’t touch Gerber, or the storyline covered in this article, so I can’t quite agree with your last statement…

It’s amazing how much Giffen’s work here looks exactly like his current OMAC work. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Lee Kirby Oswald

March 6, 2014 at 11:07 am

The first half of Defenders #48 featured excellent uncredited dialogue by Don McGregor, who was thanked on the final page.

Just peeking in, someone just turned me on to this review. As others have already commented, the explanation for Moon Knights escape was included in the epilog and related directly to…the beer.

The Scorpio saga, including epilog, is collected in color in the Moon Knight Epic Collection: Bad Moon Rising. Thank you, Marvel!

Also, the COMPLETE COMICS INTERVIEW has been announced as a multi-volume reprint set by CO2 publishers. Currently, the first three GIANT Cerebus-like phonebook volumes are available from http://www.comicsinterview.com in both trade paperback and hardcover editions. Get the hardcover — it lays open flat like a bible, the trade doesn’t.

Finally, since someone wondered, what I’m up to these days: editing and co-writing Yi Soon Shin (available on Amazon) — my best work yet! There will be three graphic novels. The first, YI SOON SHIN: WARRIOR & DEFENDER has a foreword by my old pal, Stan the Man, even tho it’s unrelated to Marvel or any of his projects; he just liked it that much! The second graphic novel, YI SOON SHIN: FALLEN AVENGER, will be available next year…we’re just finishing work on the double-size final issue of the story arc. And besides having done some TV scripting and storyediting with my much-missed friend Slifer, I am currently at work with my co-writer Onrie Kompan on a movie treatment about a venerable character updated to the modern world, an action comedy, for an accomplished Asian producer. Th-th-that’s all, folks!

Marvel’s experimentalists reflect the questing, more adult-oriented fare attempted in its fringe books. Scorpio has a sympathetic point of view, undercut, really, by his blame on society and others for his lack of happiness. His iconoclast attitude seems realistic- in that manner you find in essentially escapist fare.
Hulk’s team mates are positively awful here! But their dilemma also reflects the difficulty of working with Hulk. For all his power he doesn’t share super hero type motives. But don’t we love watching heroes make gut-wrenching decisions in their efforts to save the day? Kraft always wrote against expectations whenever possible: taking the obvious way a conflict could play out and messing with the certainty of everyone’s motives.

Roger Slifer worked in cartoons and had a Kickstarter with Rich Buckler when Roger was struck by a hit and run driver in California. He died of brain-damage related injuries about this time last year.
Thom- isn’t Screamer Mountain the bee’s knees?
Finally: DAK is back! He’s co-writer and editor of a book CBR should really review: a trilogy
based on Korean admiral Yi Soon Shin. It’s the most action packed title I may have ever seen, and it’s gorgeously produced. The energy of the visuals reflects its superhero comics kin, while ordinary mortals fight for their lives within the framework of war and natural laws. You’ll find writer and visionary Onrie Kompan in Chicago-area conventions, slaving away at one of indie comic’s inspirational efforts. Yi himself is reminiscent of Captain America- but with a badass sword- and heroes and villains alike get developed along the way in a manner not so big & dumb. Vol. 1 has a foreword by Stan the Man that makes an eloquent case for the appeal of non-superhero comics drama for superhero fans. It’s about the conflict, fellow babies!

Wowie, complete Comics Interview? Way cool!

And I read this run fairly recently in the Essential Defenders. Good stuff, Mr. DAK, and glad to hear you’re still kicking!

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