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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Defenders Key Comics Part 5

In terms of over-all importance to the Marvel Universe of comics, Part 5 has pretty minor keys on the grand scheme of things. However, in terms of Defenders key comics, there are some noteworthy considerations here.

Then again, the Netflix TV series seems to have very little connection over-all to this comic series. So far that is. It's still pretty early so who knows where they'll take it. Considering the line up it, it seems that it will stay street-level for the most part.

Click this link if you missed Part 4. If you're ready to go, here's more Defenders key issues.

Origin of Nighthawk
1st appearance of Ruby Thursday

Defenders #32 gives a more detailed origin of Nighthawk. Kyle Richmond is the original Nighthawk and was born to wealthy parents. His mother died early during his childhood in an accident, and Kyle was sent away to boarding school.

In college, Kyle was involved in a drunk driving accident which killed his college sweetheart Mindy Williams. He was kicked out of college and then tried to join the Army.

Richmond was rejected due to a heart murmur, but his father died in a plane crash and left Kyle Richmond Enterprises. Kyle Richmond would concoct a serum that enhanced his strength at night. He would then join the Squadron Sinister.

Not only does this issue tell Nighthawk's origin in detail, it's also the first appearance of Ruby Thursday and issue #33 just may be her first full appearance. Thursday is a scientist that grafts an organic computer to her head.

This computer is made of malleable plastic and can take any form she wills it to take. This character has appeared quite frequently in the Marvel Universe and her real name is Thursday Rubinstein.

Defenders #32 was published February, 1976.

1st appearance of 3rd Red Guardian

Dr. Tania Belinsky became the 3rd incarnation of the Red Guardian and makes her first appearance in The Defenders #35. Like Doctor Strange, she is a neurosurgeon and performed the surgery on Nighthawk to return his brain back to his body after Arthur Nagen removed it.

Tania Belinsky would join the Defenders as Red Guardian. She is able to generate, store and release  massive amounts of nuclear energy. Tania Belinsky would later go under the name of Starlight. May, 1976 is the publishing date for Defenders #35, and Tania Belinsky was created by Steve Gerber and Sal Buscema. There are 30 cent price variants for this issue.

Luke Cage joins team?

This is the issue where Luke Cage might officially join the Defenders. As I've been over-stating quite often on this key issues series, Luke Cage will be a member of the Netflix incarnation of this team.

Defenders #37 is completely under the radar in the current market so far, and it's key significance is not that known at all yet. Most likely because it's quite unclear when Luke Cage officially joins the team or is just aiding the team in a cross-over.

In his previous appearances in the titled series, he is wary about joining the Defenders and makes no such commitment. 

It is known that Luke Cage complains that his activities with the Defenders is compromising his paying work in this issue. Nighthawk suggests that Cage be put on a retainer in which he is paid for his services as a member of the Defenders in this issue also. Dr. Strange thinks it's a marvelous idea. Red Guardian is appalled by Luke Cage whining about money.

Luke Cage agrees with Nighthawk if the "numbers are right".

Issue #39 is considered as a new team line up by fans, in which the issue sees the Red Guardian join the team. It can be argued that it is issue #39 where Luke Cage officially joins.

However, according to some sources, the most popular indication of noting a member joining the team is when they first appeared in a related Defenders issue such as Luke Cage in Defenders #17 or Daredevil in Giant-Size Defenders #3.

Anyways, something to think about, but I tend to lean more towards when a hero is accepted, invited or inducted by other members like in the Avengers and accepts membership, or in this case, when they make some sort of an actual commitment.

I'll let you all decide and the key notation is marked with a question mark. This comic was published July, 1976, and there are 30 cent variants for this issue.

1st Defenders Annual

More Headmen mischief in Defenders Annual #1. When Doctor Strange learns that Jack Norris is on a mission to foil a plot by the Headmen and take on Nebulon as well, he dispatches the Defenders because he thinks Jack is in over his head.

Powerman and Red Guardian are still members of the team in this first annual. No first appearances of major or minor characters in this issue. Defenders Annual #1 takes place after the events of Defenders #40 and was published November, 1976.

1st appearance Emissaries of Evil
1st appearance of Omar Karindu
Formed by Egghead, the Emissaries of Evil consisted of the Rhino, Solarr, and Cobalt Man. The first appearance of this sinister super villain groups sees them go up against the Defenders in an attempt to steal the Star of Capistan.

Egghead's first appearance is in Tales to Astonish #38. Rhino first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #41, and Cobalt Man made his debut in X-Men #31. The Emissaries of Evil do not appear often in the Marvel Universe of comics as a team.

Omar Karindu is a good friend of Doctor Strange. He also does not appear that often in comics. The Star of Capistan is a gem and also makes it's first appearance in this issue. It is a sentient and searches for a host since it is immobile and needs to channel it's thoughts through them.

The host of the Star of Capistan becomes the Red Rajah and is the spokesman and protector of the Star. Dr. Strange is transformed into the Red Rajah by issue #44 and goes up against the Defenders. December, 1976 is the publishing date for this comic.

Hellcat joins team

Overstreet and just about everybody else notes this issue as when Hellcat joins the Defenders. However, I think her joining the team is really in the next issue where she actually decides to join the team by sticking around for a while as she puts it.

So, while it's noted by most in the industry, I scratch my head about why it is so. I'll let you make up your own mind.

Patsy Walker first appeared in Miss America Magazine #2 and first appeared as Hellcat in Avengers #144. The Defenders #44 sees Doctor Strange as the Red Rajah and goes up against the Defenders. This comic was published February, 1977.

Doctor Strange leaves team

In the last pages of the Defenders #45, Doctor Strange announces that he will be leaving the team. This was done to re-establish that the Defenders was a non-team group. 

Pun fully intended but strange. This shocking announcement would lead right into issue #46.

Apparently, his departure from the team would convince others to leave as well and a new team or roster would come about from this decision. Defenders #45 was published March, 1977.

The non-team concept is pretty confusing and convoluted as to when actual members join the team. For some, it's a lot more clearer like Nighthawk and Valkyrie but for others like Luke Cage an official joining is harder to pin down.

Probably why most just go by when they first appeared in the comic title, but like I pondered before, when is it an actual joining or just a mere cross-over with the hero just briefly aiding the Defenders for a spell. Dunno, and hell, maybe most could actually care less.

Definitely easier just to go that route as I'm quickly finding out. Anyways, good luck on your hunt or dumping, and Part 6 and more Defenders key comics are just a click away below.

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