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Quote1.png Though it grieves me to do so, I fear I must leave the Defenders. Quote2.png
Doctor Strange

Appearing in "We Must Free the Defenders!"

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Synopsis for "We Must Free the Defenders!"

Valkyrie, Red Guardian, and Hellcat try their best to battle the Red Rajah; however, Rajah's mystical might proves too powerful for them, and they are forced to retreat. As Jack Norriss continues to flee his pursuers, Rajah takes control over Nighthawk, Power Man and the Hulk; the female Defenders enlist the aid of Clea in combating their magical foe.

Returning to the battle, Val, Red Guardian and Hellcat are forced to fight their comrades as Clea battles Red Rajah. Learning that Rajah is really Dr. Strange under the control of the Star of Capistan, Clea uses her magical power to free Strange, who then destroys the jewel and frees everyone under its control. After the battle, the heroes return to Dr. Strange's Sanctum, where Strange informs the group that he must leave the Defenders.


  • Cover art by Kirby, Romita and Sinnott.[1]
  • Plot by Conway, script by Kraft and Slifer.
  • Letters (story pags): Saladino (uncredited) page 1, Frost pages 2-17.


  • This issue was dedicated to the Canadian rock band Rush, who later arranged to meet Kraft and Slifer at a show. The Red Rajah and his plot echo elements of their 1976 album, with its Red Star Federation and emphasis on the individual struggling against an oppressive collective.

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