The Tribunals claimed to be a force dedicated to maintaining universal order. They monitored the activities of the Defenders for some months and, while pretending to be a secret government commission, conducted an enquiry into their activities, calling the Defenders' former foes the Mutant Force, former Defenders associate Jack Norriss, and Hellcat's ex-husband Buzz Baxter as witnesses.
Later, they used their agents the android Luann Bloom and a mysterious Elf with a Gun to lure the four founding Defenders (Dr Strange, Prince Namor, The Hulk, and The Silver Surfer) to an extradimensional location where they convinced them that if they continued to band together as Defenders, a great catastrophe would occur.
The original Defenders duly disbanded, but Dr Strange later claimed that he had discovered the Tribunals was a "cosmic hoax". Their true nature and motives remain unclear.
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