Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist…we know all of these characters from decades of excellent Marvel Comics titles, and, more recently, as the heroes (and also the anti-heroes) of the collaboration between Marvel Studios and Netflix. With Marvel and Netflix bringing these characters together as the new Defenders on the small screen, the comic books Marvel publishes are also emulating this lineup of heroes with the new Defenders comic book title “The Defenders.” UrlPreviewBoxAs As long-time comic book fans know, the recent successes enjoyed by Marvel in movies and television have led to changes in how characters and teams are portrayed in the comics. Tony Stark in the comics, for example, has developed a smart-ass personality to match the Robert Downey Jr. version of Tony Stark from the movies. Prior to the movie successes of Iron Man and the Avengers, Stark was a rich, drunk playboy with a serious side to how he interacted with other characters. Now, in the comics, a lot of the serious side is gone, as the comic book character channels Downey’s take on the character. The Defenders show, as noted above, features Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist (and probably will also show the Punisher, Patsy “Trish” Walker, and others), is another example of how Marvel changes the comics to fit their TV and movie universes. The original Defenders boasted a powerful lineup including: Hulk, Dr. Strange, Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Silver Surfer, Valkyrie, and Hellcat, among many others. Wait…HELLCAT? That is Patsy Walker, who is also in the Jessica Jones TV show….hmmmm…. The new Defenders show should be interesting, even though it will not feature the classic, comic-book lineup of Defenders heroes. The new Defenders comic drops on June 14, and is written by Brian Michael Bendis, who is known for good dialogue and great character development. Art is by David Marquez.
The Incredible Hulk was one of the founding members of the Mighty Avengers. Yet, it was clear that he did not belong among the other assembled heroes. He was nasty, brutish, and mean, and he made no attempts at hiding his true nature. The other Avengers, Thor and Iron Man in particular, also made no bones about their dislike of him. The Wasp clearly was repulsed by the Hulk’s manner and appearance, and was openly frightened of him. These emotions and inner fears were realized during an attack by the Space Phantom (see this ebook for more detail, summary and analysis of the events of Avengers #2), leading Hulk to leave the team in a fit of anger. Superhero Team Facts: Hulk Leaves Avengers In the history of Marvel Superhero Teams, this incident is particularly significant. While team members come and go with some regularity now, this was the first actual “resignation” and team lineup change in Marvel’s Silver Age. With the exception of a few team-ups, the Hulk would stay Not-an-Avenger well into the 21st Century. When he quits a team, he does it right! Of course, Hulk would have many other adventures with the Avengers, usually involving the chance to smash Thor in the mouth. Some of the best classic battles in Marvel history involve Hulk and Thor duking it out. Hulk and the Avengers in Avengers #2 Marvel writer and editor Stan Lee knew what he was doing, of course. The next issue of the Avengers has Hulk teaming up with Namor, the Sub-Mariner (both would later be teammates and occasional sparring partners in the Defenders), to fight the Avengers, who at that point were hunting him down, feeling some responsibility for any damage he may cause while on the loose. The conclusion of THAT issue would lead Namor to fling a block of ice into the sea in anger at the ways of the land-dwellers, not knowing that this block of ice contained his old war-time buddy, Captain America. The Avengers (in Avengers #4), were at sea, looking to finish their fight with Namor when they come across the (as Iron Man refers to him in the Avengers movie) “Capsicle,” and rescue the Sentinel of Liberty. And, at that point, the Avengers lineup changes again, as Captain America basically replaces the Hulk as an Avenger.
The Beast is one of the best known characters to long-time readers of Marvel Comics. His real name is Hank McCoy, and he is a mutant, an original member of the X-Men, and that team’s resident scientific genius. He also has the unique distinction of having been the first member of the X-Men (though not the last), to hop from his mutant-based affiliations to join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers. An X-Man Joins the Avengers After leaving the X-Men (and while their title was effectively on hiatus), he starred in his own series (called Amazing Adventures) until deciding to answer a casting call for a new team. McCoy first applied to join the Avengers in Avengers vol. 1, #137 (1975) when the Avengers put out a call for new members and held tryouts in Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets baseball team. He was put on probationary status and adventured with the Avengers for several issues before the team announced their official lineup change. The Beast became a full member of the Avengers in issue #151 (1976), becoming the first of the X-Men to join the Avengers. The image above is from Avengers #151, where the team announced a new lineup at a press conference at Avengers Mansion and the Beast became an official member of the Avengers. NOTE: Beast was not, however, the first mutant to join the Avengers…More on that piece of trivia later…’Nuff Said NOTE #2: The Beast has had a few changes in his physical appearance, starting out as a relatively normal-looking white kid with large hands and feet, and eventually ending up (due to some less-than-genius thinking on his part), experimenting on himself, and becoming, literally, a beast-like blue furred creature with pointed ears and an animal-like appearance. His intellect and unique sense of humor remained the same. This is part of an occassional series of articles in which we look at unique facts, trends, and news about Marvel’s superhero teams, their memberships, lineup changes, and other tidbits of trivia and info. If you want to stay up to date on this series of articles, as well as get our new comic book reviews delivered right ot your inbox, please sign up for our free newsletter. (see the form below).