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This page is about the group started by Doctor Strange. For the Defenders popularized by the Netflix series, see Defenders (Manhattan) (Earth-616).

Quote1 Well, we're not a team. We're a universe Quote2
Blue Marvel[src]


Quote1 The record of the Defenders has been a proud one so far. I am certain that whatever the future may bring, nothing will ever change that. Quote2
Stephen Strange[src]


While trying to defend Earth from the extra-dimensional, demonic beings called the Undying Ones, Sorcerer Supreme Dr. Strange manipulated Prince Namor into aiding him,[3] and then teamed with the monstrous Hulk to ward off the demons.[4] Later, when the Yannian scientist Yandroth menaced Earth with the Omegatron doomsday device, Dr. Strange persuaded a reluctant Hulk and Namor to help him thwart Yandroth's scheme, forming the "non-team" known as the Defenders.[5] After Yandroth's defeat, Hulk and Namor vowed never to work together again, but Strange managed to hold their informal alliance together over time. Unlike other super-teams, these Defenders had no charter or by-laws, no permanent headquarters, no fixed roster, and little affection for each other.

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The Defenders' ranks soon grew. Due to the group's unofficial nature, any individual who assisted them could be considered a member, but only a select few fit the two major criteria of true membership: that they consider themselves Defenders, and that they are accepted by the continuing core group as Defenders. Strange's disciple, Clea, assisted the team on an irregular basis. The alien Silver Surfer's longtime link with the Defenders began when they aided him against Calizuma and his Warrior Wizards, agents of the Undying Ones.[6] The Asgardian warrior goddess Valkyrie became a mainstay of the team (first in the mortal host body of former Undying Ones follower Barbara Norriss and later in her own form) after helping them defeat Casiolena.[7] The archer Hawkeye fought several battles with the group before leaving their ranks.[8] Nighthawk, a reformed villain and head of Richmond Enterprises, became a long-term core Defender after a near-fatal battle with his ex-partners, the Squadron Sinister, and their extraterrestrial employer Nebulon the Celestial Man, who became one of the Defenders' most enduring foes.[9][10][11] The half-demonic Daimon Hellstrom helped rescue the Hulk from Hell[12] and aided the team in other matters, eventually becoming a full Defender. Mercenary super hero Luke Cage reluctantly aided the team in several battles[13] until Nighthawk placed him on retainer to secure his full-time services,[14] though Cage felt out of place and soon quit the group.[15] The dissident Russian heroine Red Guardian became a member after being allied to the US to assist in an operation on Nighthawk,[16] and Barbara Norriss' ex-husband Jack Norriss became a regular - if sometimes rather unwelcome - associate of the group, at one point even occupying Nighthawk's body for a time.[17] Occasionally, their paths (almost) crossed with the mysterious, murderous Elf with a Gun, though they somehow never actually encountered him; another Elf later become mixed up in their affairs though, as an agent of the alien Tribunals.

The team also attracted an eclectic array of recurring associates and occasional members such as Daredevil,[18] Yellowjacket,[19] and Devil-Slayer. Hellcat, a former model turned superheroine, was the next major long-term recruit.[15] The Gargoyle, an elderly man trapped in a demon's body, joined the Defenders in their quest to prevent the grouping of minor demons known as the Six-Fingered Hand (Avarrish, Fashima, Hyppokri, Maya, Puishannt, and Unthinnk), who were being manipulated by an alliance of powerful demonlords (Mephisto, Satan Marduk Kurios, Satannish, and Thog), from merging the realms of Hell with Earth.

The ever-shifting ranks of the Defenders battled menaces such as Dormammu dread lord of the Dark Dimension;[20] Xemnu the Titan, the psionic alien conqueror; the Headmen, megalomaniacal scientists whose experiments warped their own bodies;[21][11] Shazana who took control of Nighthawk's ex-girlfriend Trish Starr;[22] Egghead's Emissaries of Evil;[23] Null the Living Darkness and the Undying Ones, who threatened Earth yet again. The Defenders were even tricked into fighting the Avengers when Dormammu and the Asgardian god Loki manipulated them into assembling the Evil Eye of Avalon. After several skirmishes, the two teams joined forces and foiled Dormammu's scheme.

The Defenders' existence was revealed to the world in an unauthorized television documentary by Valkyrie's friend, filmmaker/television producer Dollar Bill. As a result, a horde of well-meaning super heroes arrived at the team's headquarters (the Richmond Riding Academy) and declared themselves Defenders (while others, such as Captain Mar-Vell, Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers), and Paladin, decided against Defenders affiliation); but all of these "Defenders for a Day" decided to quit after a single harrowing day in action with the team.

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When Arisen Tyrk was deposed as God-King of the extra-dimensional Other Realm, he fled through a damaged portal that split him into various fragments. Some of Tyrk's sentient fragments landed on Earth and plagued the Defenders as the crazed Lunatik vigilantes while another fragment became drama professor Harrison Turk. Other fragments fell under the control of the powerful other-dimensional sorcerer known as the Unnameable and landed on the alien Tunnelworld, where they allied themselves with the vile Ytitnedion of the Buzzard People. When the Defenders entered Tunnelworld to investigate Lunatik's origins, they joined with Aeroika and the alien sorcerer Xhoohx, liberating the cylindrical realm from the influence of the Unnameable and Ytitnedion. By this time, the founding Defenders were only occasional participants in the group; they soon quit the team altogether after the race of energy beings known as the Tribunals hoaxed Strange, Hulk, Namor, and the Silver Surfer into believing that the interaction of their karmic energies would eventually lead to the destruction of Earth. The four heroes split up, resolving never to work together again.

New Defenders[]

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With the team's most powerful members gone, the mutant Beast (an X-Men founder and recent Defenders recruit) tried to reorganize the Defenders as a more formal team: the New Defenders. This team, based at The Angel's "Aerie" home in Colorado, consisted of three former X-Men (Angel, Beast, and Iceman), former Defenders Valkyrie and Gargoyle, new recruits Moondragon and Cloud, later joined by the Atlantean Andromeda, and nominally led by the Angel's long-term girlfriend Candy Southern. Despite a number of early successes though, including their defeat of the Secret Empire, the team was plagued by problems, many of them relating to the Dragon of the Moon, a mystical entity which possessed Moondragon. Eventually Valkyrie, Gargoyle, Moondragon, Andromeda, and new recruits Interloper and the team's psychotic former adversary Manslaughter were all apparently killed battling the Dragon, and the surviving members (the former X-Men) disbanded the Defenders and went off to found X-Factor. The apparently deceased members were later resurrected, but most of them have never operated as Defenders since then.

Later, after the Tribunal's apocalyptic prophecy was exposed as a hoax,[24] Dr. Strange, the Hulk, Namor, and Silver Surfer reunited to battle Shanzar, the Sorcerer Supreme of the Strange Matter dimension, who was trying to resurrect the Elder God known as the Wild One. Possessing the body of Namor, Shanzar succeeded in performing the ritual needed to bring back the Wild One, but the Defenders were able to trap the Wild One in the Strange Matter dimension, forcing Shanzar to concede defeat.

Curse of Yandroth[]

The original Defenders next reunited to once again battle Yandroth, who was tapping the power of the Earth goddess Gaea to cause worldwide chaos. The Defenders prevailed, but a dying Yandroth used Earth's power to place a curse upon the Hulk, Dr. Strange, Namor, and Silver Surfer that automatically united them whenever a catastrophe placed Earth in peril. The curse also had a secret side effect, causing the rationality of the four heroes to be submerged by their more selfish desires. The slain Yandroth's consciousness secretly fed off the violent energy created by the cursed Defenders, planning to be reborn more powerful than ever. Corrupted by the curse, Strange, Namor, Hulk, and Surfer abandoned their fellow Defenders and formed the Order, a group dedicated to ending any perceived threat to world peace by any means necessary. Operating out of the floating metropolis Sky Island, the Order opposed all who challenged their new world order until the remaining Defenders broke Yandroth's curse and restored the Order's humanity. Gaea empowered Nighthawk to gather the Defenders at will should the need arise.

Last Defenders[]

A version of the Defenders led by Nighthawk was also a part of the Initiative program, but it is as yet unknown whether these "Last Defenders" will work together again or become a part of the main group.

Fear Itself[]

A new Defenders featuring Loa, Namor, Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, and Lyra was formed to help in Atlantis' battle against Nerkkod, one of the Serpent's Worthy. Being outnumbered, Dr. Strange called every hero who was part of the Defenders to help, defeating Nerkkod.[25]

There Are No Rules[]

The Defenders were reassembled by Doctor Strange after the mysterious Masked Raider sought his help to find former Enclave scientist Carlo Zota, who had fled into the past using magic. Strange employed magic to pick the team, and these Defenders consisted of the Silver Surfer, the Red Harpy, and Cloud. In order to give Cloud a human form, Strange submitted himself to the will of magic to sacrifice his ego, and the spell pulled the Defenders back to the Sixth Cosmos on the planet Taa.[26] The team helped the locals fend off against this cosmos' equivalent of Galactus, Omnimax, whose herald was the cosmically-empowered Zota. In the process, the Defenders were joined by Galactus' own mother, the scienceer Taaia. Strange's use of magic to deal the final blow against Omnimax pulled the team and Zota further back in time to the Fifth Cosmos, save for the Silver Surfer, who was returned to the future after his fight against Zota purged Strange's spell from his body.[27]

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In the Fifth Cosmos, a realm of pure magic, the Defenders came to blows against Omnimax's past self, the mage Moridun, who had enslaved Zota. Doctor Strange channeled his powers through Harpy, allowing her to summon a Green Door to destroy Moridun. After his defeat, the Defenders and Zota were sucked into the Fourth Cosmos,[28] one populated by the primal avatars of abstract heroic Archetypes locked in an unending and recurring conflict. Zota allied himself with Galactus' archetypal precursor, What-Must-Be, in hopes to become the ultimate power during the transition between cosmos. Taking a new shape for themself, Cloud rallied the Archetypes against What-Must-Be, prompting Zota to escape to the Third Cosmos. Except for Cloud, who decided to stay among the Archetypes, the Defenders were brought to Zota by the sentience of the Fourth Cosmos, the Pilgrim.[29]

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The team was taken to the very first battle between existence and nothingness, the fight between Lifebringer One and the Anti-All. They encountered Zota, who had been driven mad by this cosmos' makeup, which was too basic for human senses. He fended off the Defenders, but all of their actions drew power from the Lifebringer One, risking his victory. The Masked Raider attempted to defuse the situation, but Zota killed him instead. Zota pulled the Eternity Mask off his dead body only to discover the Raider was Zota himself. Convinced of the error of his ways after being confronted by a vision from Eternity, Zota put on the mask and fought the Anti-All. The Defenders then joined their powers to empower Lifebringer One, allowing him to deal the final blow against the Anti-All, destroying it and disappearing Zota as well. With their assembling spell wearing off, the Defenders faded back to their respective times. Back to his Sanctum Sanctorum, Doctor Strange secured the Eternity Mask.[30]

Defenders Beyond[]

Following this adventure and his eventual death, Doctor Strange charged the adventurer Blue Marvel with keeping the Eternity Mask and maintaining the Defenders active to protect reality. With Eternity being threatened by something from Outside the Multiverse, Strange's will was carried out, forming a new team of Defenders to be assembled to investigate this threat. Coincidentally, America, one of those destined to join the team, contacted Blue Marvel for help during the incident. Next, Taaia from the Sixth Cosmos and a time-displaced Loki, who had escaped the end of the Seventh Cosmos, were summoned. The last hero recruited was the wild Tigra. Eternity addressed the group directly in the Neutral Zone and tasked them to find the face of his enemy before sending them Outside.[31]

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Upon arriving at the Beyond, the Defenders were told its history as the remnants of the Second Cosmos by the Beyonder. Blue Marvel pointed out to the Beyonders that they were the ones who destroyed the Seventh Cosmos, but the Beyonders responded that they had destroyed it to prevent another threat. The Beyonders informed the Defenders that they had to go back inside the Multiverse, but the Blue Marvel gave Chavez the Eternity Mask to confront them. After a brawl, in which Taaia was fatally injured, the Defenders escaped further to the White Hot Room, where Taaia ascended as an avatar of the Phoenix Force.[32] The Beyonder also joined them as he was caught in Loki's narrative arc. However, Phoenix attacked Loki because he was time-displaced. Tigra called upon the Tiger God to save them, separating Taaia from the Phoenix and escaping the White Hot Room. Eternity's Defenders fell into the Land of Couldn't-Be-Shouldn't-Be where they got trapped in a "maybe-verse" of their fantasies by Glorian.[33] Fortunately, the Defenders broke free as America could see through the ruse with the Eternity Mask, which was subsequently used by Loki used to summon the Pilgrim of the Fourth Cosmos, the Queen of Nevers. Cloud made their return, bringing the Defenders to the door to the House of Ideas.[34]

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At the House of Ideas, the Defenders met the One Above All. The Blue Marvel speculated that although the One Above All was the highest that they could go, it was the beginning of something higher. After answering some of their questions, the One Above All showed the Defenders the mysterious threat that Eternity sent them to find: the "Enigma" to come. Afterwards, the time-displaced Loki debated whether to leave the story through the House of Ideas or to stay to become the "current" Loki, who found to just be a rehash of his own old self. The Defenders convinced Loki to stay while the Beyonder decided to leave. The Defenders then returned to the present Multiverse: the time-displaced Loki became the current Loki in possession of the Eternity Mask, Tigra resumed her operations with Moon Knight, America served alongside the Thunderbolts, and Taaia chose to stay in the Eighth Cosmos instead of returning to the Sixth one without her memories. Meanwhile, Blue Marvel declared that, if needed, Defenders were still available to protect Eternity from the Enigma.[35]

Storm would later seek out the team, seemingly now consisting of just Blue Marvel and Taaia. Storm needed their help in traveling to the afterlife, as she hoped to resurrect Magneto to help the X-Men in their time of need.[36]







Doctor Strange's teleportation spells


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See Also

Links and References