The definitive, chronological, and up-to-date guide on collecting Defenders comic books via omnibuses, hardcovers, and trade paperback graphic novels. A part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics. Last updated November 2018 with titles scheduled for release through March 2019.
Who are The Defenders? Or, perhaps the better question is, what are The Defenders?
The concept of this unofficial team of heroes originated with the cancellation of Dr. Strange’s 1968 series, itself an outgrowth of Strange Tales. When a multi-part story teaming up the Doctor with Namor and Hulk was slotted to begin in what turned out to be the final issue (#183), the remaining chapters wound up running in Sub-Mariner #22 and Incredible Hulk #126.
Later, the Namor/Hulk team-up added Silver Surfer to the mix in Namor #34-35 as “Titans Three.” Then, the entire foursome assembled in Marvel Feature #1-3 before spinning off into their own title.
This quartet of characters worked so well together because they are all massively powerful loners. Each one of them could easily battle a Silver Age Avengers line-up to a stand-still single-handedly and they’d each bristle at trying to remain a member long-term.
Together, they kept that curmudgeonly attitude, which made the main draw of The Defenders that it was a team that wasn’t a team – all while battling enemies from other dimensions and outer space. It latter added other unlikely members like Valkyrie, Luke Cage, Moon Knight, Hellcat, and Daimon Hellstrom.
The original, 1972 Defenders volume has been collected in a variety of formats as a key part of Marvel’s transition from Silver to Bronze age. Over the years the original team has seen many revivals of its title and concepts (both of loners and of protecting our dimension).
In 2017 the title took a left turn as it was co-opted for Marvel’s Netflix team of Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones – who could have easily been deemed Mighty Avengers based on those characters’ recent publication history.
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