For the team that appears in Fearless Defenders please see the following page: Valkyrior.
Most Recent Roster
- Blue Marvel
- Ms. America
- Loki (variant)
The Defenders was a team of heroes first brought together by circumstance. The initial membership included Dr. Strange, the Hulk, Namor the Submariner, and the Silver Surfer. It all started when Dr. Strange gathered the Hulk, Namor, and the Silver Surfer to stop Yandroth's evil machine.
A proto-Defenders non-group called the Titans Three first appeared in Sub-Mariner #35, written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Sal Buscema. It consisted of Namor, The Hulk, and The Silver Surfer who banded together to destroy an experimental weather changing device. Roy Thomas also wrote the first official appearance of the Defenders, with Ross Andru doing the pencils and Bill Everett doing the inks, for Marvel Feature #1 in 1971.
This team consisted of Namor, The Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Doctor Strange. Throughout the life of the Defenders, the team line-up has been quite fluid with members. There were always a number of core members who had extended stays such as Nighthawk, Hellcat, Luke Cage, Red Guardian, or Valkyrie, and others who only joined for one or two adventures at a time.
Like they have tried with other teams, the Great Lakes Avengers once went by the name Great Lakes Defenders.
In October 2013, Marvel's television event announced a partnership with Netflix to create an Avengers-like franchise with the Marvel Knights characters receiving solo TV series leading to a team up movie that would take the name Defenders. The team up debuted in August 2017, the same month that a comic with the same roster was released. This bit of corporate synergy would not last, and The Defenders moniker would soon go back to being a team determined by Doctor Strange's tarot cards.
Major Story Arcs
Avengers Defenders War
Loki and Dormammu trick the Defenders into recovering the Evil Eye so Dormammu can finally unleash his influence in the whole world. Loki, however, changes his plans by fearing that Dormammu may conquer Asgard as well, and without Dormammu's consent he tricks the Avengers in fighting against the Defenders in an attempt to stop the Defenders from recovering the Evil Eye.
One of the Defenders' major challenge was to stop two world threats that were happening at the time: A group of outcast mad scientists known as the Headmen schemed to dominate the world by influencing the political and economic system.
While space deity Nebulon, a villain whom the Defenders has fought previously, came back to Earth to bring peace to mankind by introducing them a pop psychological movement that in reality brainwashed their victims, removing their free will and individuality.
Day of the Defenders
Aspiring filmmaker, Dollar Bill caused the majority of the confusion about the non-team called the Defenders. Unbeknownst to Nighthawk and the other Defenders, Bill made a documentary of the Defenders adventures and released it to public television. In it he declared that the Defenders were a non-team with no charter and no rules, in fact, anyone with powers who declared themselves a Defenders was automatically a member. He also revealed the location of the Defender's headquarters are the Richmond Riding Academy. Nighthawk was furious but Valkyrie assured him every thing would just blow over.
The next morning the yard was filled with new Defenders. New Defenders who came to declare themselves included Jack of Hearts, Damion Hellstorm, Polaris, Stingray, Black Goliath, Iron Fist, Captain Marvel I, Ms. Marvel I, Hercules, Nova, Marvel Boy, Falcon, Prowler, Torpedo, Captain Ultra, Paladin, White Tiger I, Havok and Tagak the Leopard Man.
This also lead to a series of criminals pretending to be Defenders while committing crimes in New York City. The villains were organized by the Zodiac's Libra and Sagittarius and included Porcupine, Whirlwind, Beetle, Blob, Plantman, Batroc, Electro, Looter, Shocker, Boomerang, Melter, Frog-Man, Toad and Joe the Gorilla. The villains were defeated by Hellcat who subdued half the the heroes and villains with an uncontrolled mindblast and the other half were defeated by a raging Valkyrie. None of the new Defenders continued as actual Defenders. (reference: Defenders 62-65) Six-Fingered Hand. The Defenders with countless guest stars battle the six-fingered Demons that lead trail straight to the Hell-Lords themselves. (During issues #94-#100)
After the original members were tricked into disbanding by the Tribunal, an interdimensional organization dedicated to ensuring order in the universe, recent recruit, Beast, took control of The Defenders. With resources from his wealthy fellow X-Men, Angel, Beast attempted to organize the Defenders into a real team, instead of their trademark "non-team." He was joined by former Defenders Valkyrie and Gargoyle, as well as fellow X-Men, Iceman. They named Angel's girlfriend, Candy Southern, as their leader after she proved an asset by keeping them structured and motivated.
Over time, they recruited new members including Cloud, Andromeda, and Moondragon. The latter would drag the Defenders into a confrontation with their biggest challenge: The Dragon of the Moon. The Dragon had possessed Moondragon and successfully killed many of the members. The mutant members would end up leaving the team and joined X-Factor, while the dead members would eventually be brought back as the Dragon Circle.
After the Tribunals hoax was revealed, the original members reunited to take on extradimensional sorcerer supreme, Shanzar.
For more about this team visit their page: Secret Defenders
After the previous roster disbanded, Doctor Strange decided to try a new way of recruiting members. He would use a tarot deck to let fate decide which heroes he would need for any catastrophe he happened to track. He would teleport the new members where ever they needed to be. When Strange got busy with the War of the Seven Spheres, he passed his duty on to a reluctant Doctor Druid.
Druid would have more regular members on his team rather than a revolving one like Strange's. Those members were fellow cursed beings, Sepulchre and Cadaver. They worked out of Druid's sanctum in Boston. Together, they would protect the Moebius Stone.
When Druid was manipulated into summoning the demon, Slorioth, Joshua Pryce summoned some of the original Defenders to stop him and allied with Druid's two teammates. Unfortunately, Druid was tired of his responsibility to the team, so he used the opportunity to fake his death just to get out of it. Meanwhile, his teammates needed the help of The Living Tribunal to contain Slorioth, who was a threat to reality itself. His team fell Druid's ruse but committed to be available for each other if any of them ever needed the help of the rest.
When a series of cataclysms across the Earth cause each of the original Defenders (Hulk, Doctor Strange, Namor, and Silver Surfer) to be attacked individually, they end up coming together once more to take on the source of these attacks, Yandroth. He was manipulating the power of Gaea to cause chaos on the planet. As he was about to be defeated by their combined might, he cursed them. Whenever the Earth was imperil, they would be magically reunited to stand against it. As a side effect, the foursome would often give in to their selfish urges, much to the chagrin of their fellow Defenders: Nighthawk, Hellcat, and Valkyrie. Over time, they grew more and more cynical and self-absorbed,
Nighthawk went as far as to bring in sorcerer Papa Hagg to try and break the curse, but when Strange overreacted and kicked Hagg out, he had a realization. The curse was connected to Gaea, so the four requested she help break it. Unfortunately, she refused. When they were powerless to fight her, they made a different vow. Together, they would bring order to the world to ensure peace so no event could prompt the curse to interrupt their lives again. Rather than be heroes, they became fascists.
Under instructions by Papa Hagg, The Defenders collect four female analogues of The Order: Clea, Namorita, She-Hulk, and Ardina for a spell. Unfortunately, Hagg never got a chance to cast it. When they arrived at The Order’s headquarters, they were attacked by Yandroth. He had been feeding off the violent energy and was waiting for The Order to fight him and complete his spell. The Order refused to fight him, no longer playing his game. This act of nobility inspired Gaea. She broke the curse for them, releasing them from their cynicism, and, for his heroism, Nighthawk was awarded the magic to call upon Defenders whenever he needed them.
When the Super-Hero Registration Act was passed, Nighthawk found himself enlisted to Camp Hammond. Feeling that training was beneath his experience, he petitioned to start a Defenders team as part of the 50-State Initiative. Tony Stark eventually approved them for New Jersey, but Stark overruled Nighthawk’s proposed roster of regulars. Instead, Nighthawk was put in charge of She-Hulk, Colossus, and Blazing Skull. After their first mission went south, Stark folded the team.
Nighthawk refused to quit though. He gathered a few registered heroes from Initiative files, but their next mission went just as well, requiring the Mighty Avengers to get involved. Back at SHIELD, Nighthawk was informed that he broke the section of the SHRA about unauthorized activity and was forced to relinquish his masked identity.
Defeated, Nighthawk returned to his penthouse apartment only to be visited separately by Hellstorm and Yandroth, both of whom implored to Nighthawk that he should not stop trying to reunite the Defenders. It wasn’t until Yandorth showed him a version of the Defenders from the future (The Last Defenders) that convinced Nighthawk to buy up the New Jersey headquarters from SHIELD and prepare for a new team that ultimately wouldn’t materialize.
When Sin, daughter of Red Skull, tried one of her father's old plans to summon Skadi, an enchanted Asgardian hammer, she also accidentally summoned all of the enchanted Asgardian hammers.
One such hammer appeared to Attuma giving him the opportunity to destroy New Atlantis. Namor was forced to retreat with Loa. He reached out to Doctor Strange for help, whom used a summoning spell bringing Lyra and Silver Surfer to their aid.
After Strange cast a spell allowing all of them to breathe underwater, these new Defenders fought to liberate New Atlantis and tracked Attuma to the part of the coastline that he was preparing to raid. Outmatched but still fighting, Strange cast yet another summoning spell, bringing even more prior Defenders to their side. Invigorated by the support, Namor fought through his recent disheartening defeat to rage against Attuma.
Another hammer landed by former Defender, Hulk. It created a dark twin of Hulk called Nul that stuck around after the Avengers were able to solve the hammer situation. Hulk asked for help from his old Defender teammates but could not join them out of fear of reconnecting with Nul. The team replaced him to Red She-Hulk and added Iron Fist to their ranks to use his plane. They track Nul to Wundagore Mountain, but they find themselves at odds with Prester John and the New Men. Luckily, Jon's device that manipulates time and space was attracting Nul. Ultimately, it was used to erase Nul from reality.
After their fight on Wundagore mountain, Strange took the concordance engine to keep it safe. This had a mysterious effect on this roster of Defenders, forcing them to investigate. They find more evidence that the world is scattered with engines and guardians protecting them, specifically in the notes of Iron Fist’s predecessor, Orson Randall. Their investigation into the engines caught the ire of Iron Fist’s ally, Prince of Orphans. He was committed to protecting the engines mercilessly. His efforts caused the deaths of Black Panther and most of his fellow Immortal Weapons.
He believed if the engines were destroyed the Death Celestials could return and attack Earth. Afraid he wasn’t making himself clear to The Defenders, he cast them out into the timestream. They found themselves in a future with no available concordance engines. Most of the population was wiped out by the Death Celestial. While the Defenders agreed to defend that future Earth, Doctor Strange used the engine to astral project back to the beginning, before Hulk had requested his help. He signaled his former self to chase after a possible love interest, rather than be home to welcome the Hulk. Thus, the exploits of these Defenders ceased to ex
Defenders of New York
When the Netflix Marvel project planned to use the Defenders moniker as their title for the crossover of their solo titles based on the Marvel Knights corner of the universe, Marvel Comics launched a series with the same line-up.
With Diamondback (Willis Stryker) inexplicably back from the dead and with superpowers, he targets Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil. They decide to work together to flush Stryker out and defend their city. Unfortunately, that means clashing with The Punisher (who is gunning for Stryker), avoiding Black Cat’s gang (who is wirking with Stryker), and many trips to Night Nurse’s clinic for their injuries.
They are finally able to track him down when he shoots Black Cat causing a “crazy pants gang war” (Jessica Jones’ words). With their combined strengths, they are able to beat Stryker and get him arrested. This new team still have the gang war to contend with, mixing it up with Elektra, Deadpool, The Punisher (again), and Stryker (after he gets out of prison).
Luckily, with help from a bunch of their allies, they are able to send a message to Stryker that they will always be around to stop him.
Defenders of the Cosmos
A new Masked Raider (who was secretly Carlo Zota of the Enclave trapped in a timeloop) came to Dr. Strange to warn him of the danger to their cosmos, the eighth in its line. The Masked Raider shot and destroyed a magic book of time spells that an earlier version of himself was using to undo his creation of Korvac. So, Strange calls on the Tarot of the Secret Flame to summon Defenders to join them: Silver Surfer, Cloud, and Betty Ross, now the Red Harpy
The spell not only summoned them together but transported them to Taa, birthplace of Galactus, in the Sixth Cosmos (since the Seventh was destroyed during Secret Wars). They were found by Taaia, super scientist and future mother of Galactus, who was faced with the Sixth Cosmos’ own devourer, The Omnimax, and his herald, the version of Zota the Raider was chasing. Their confrontation caused Zota and the Defenders to go further back through time to the Fifth Cosmo.
They continue to chase Zota into cosmos after cosmos. Each time they find him, he is heralding a devourer of some kind, until they hit the Third Cosmos, where they find an exhausted Zota witnessing a battle between two titans, the only two beings that exist at this time. Depending on who wins determines if the next cosmos is born or not. The Masked Raider hesitates to kill Zota, giving Zota that same opportunity to kill the Raider. He unmasks the dead man and is shocked by his own appearance. So shocked, he is inspired to put on the mask and join the Defenders in sharing the knowledge and power they gained from the previous cosmos to power up the life bringing titan, ensuring the existence of future cosmos
With the universe in balance, the Defenders were teleported back to their home cosmos.
Paramedics of the Multiverse
After the death of Doctor Strange, he left his open cases to Blue Marvel, including the Tarot of the Secret Flame so that he could lead a new team of Defenders. Blue Marvel refused at first, but destiny chose a team from the deck anyway. With Taaia from the Sixth Cosmos, a variant of Loki from the Seventh Cosmos, and Ms. America and Tigra from his own present, Blue Marvel leads the Defenders on a new mission beyond reality.
Together, they are pulled out of the realm of possibilities and told by Eternity to see the face of his enemy. They are then deposited into the remnants of the Second Cosmos, where the Beyonders are discussing the threat of Dominion, a non-linear temporal threat. Blue Marvel was confident in his team’s ability to defeat it, believing it to be Eternity’s rival, but The Beyonders wouldn’t let them, forcing a confrontation. Armed with the Eternity Mask, Ms. America was able to even the playing fields, and with their powers over narrative, Loki was able to bring enough order to infinite possibilities to give them a chance. However, they were forced to retreat through a cosmic furnace when Taaia was gravely injured.
The furnace brought them to the White Hot Room, the birthplace of The Phoenix Force, which answered Taaia’s death defying cries. It traps each of The Defenders in their own tailor-made prisons to convince them not to continue their fight. It took Tigra channeling the first primal fear that fire was created to hold back in order to release them from the Phoenix’s grasp into The Abyss, the farthest place from reality that exists. There, they were trapped in new continuity created by Glorian, but with the Eternity Mask, Loki was able to create a competing story arc, where the Never-Queen and former Defender, Cloud, could deliver them to the door to The House of Ideas.
Within the House of Ideas, they meet the One Above All, who is intrigued by Adam’s question about its own creator. Meanwhile, Loki uses this as an opportunity to leave believing they have fulfilled their narrative purpose, only to be challenged by the other Defenders. Their purpose suddenly came into view with their inability to answer any of the riddles presented. The Engima, the rival of Eternity, is out there, threatening reality. No one is free until everyone is free, thus defenders must be ready and wary. And these chosen few plan to be.
A more tongue and cheek take on the Defenders by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire, that featured the original members taking on Dormammu, yet again.
In the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Terror Beyond," Doctor Fate assembled a group much like the Defenders. Bruce Timm said that was an inside joker for the fans, the team consisted of:
Solomon Grundy even called Doctor Fate: "Stupid Magician," Aquaman: "Fishman," and Hawkgirl: "Birdnose" like Hulk referred to Doctor Strange, Namor, and Nighthawk.
In a parallel universe that Havok found himself stuck in, The Defenders were started by Doctor Strange and consisted of: Doc Samson, Stingray, and Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara).
The Defenders first appeared in Ultimates 2 with the group consisted of only Powerman, Valkyrie, Son of Satan, Nighthawk, Ant-man, Black Night, and Hellcat. They are a new super hero group with little money, equipment, or resources to be able to do crime fighting.
The only member to have powers at the time was Ant-man a.k.a. "Hank Pym" who joins the team after getting kicked of the Ultimates and sleeps with team member Valkyrie.
After trying to foil a robbery Nighthawk was greatly injured by falling on top of the robbers who beat him up and throw him out a window where he lands on top of a car.
Soon after hank Pym leaves the Defenders due to this. They reappear in Ultimates Annual with a new member called Whiz-kid who is wheelchair bound due to polio. It is also revealed that Son of Satan is an undercover S.H.I.E.L.D agent monitoring the Defenders in case they could be a potential something to them.
After Ultimatum the team undergo a dramatic change attack the Ultimates with mysterious powers looking for Thor's hammer. It is unknown how they received their new powers and what connection they still have with a powered up Valkyrie who is now a member of the Ultimates.
The Defenders of The Realm are, presumably, a back-up "security" squad created by Lord Mar-Vell specifically for the purpose of keeping those who seek to undermine The Many-Angled Ones plans to conquer Earth-616, such as Thanos, from doing just that while The Revengers are absent from their reality.
The Defenders of The Realm first appeared shortly after Thanos collapsed from the pain of being in a Universe so completely filled up with corrupted life, leaving Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Cosmo and Starlord to keep them occupied until Mantis could figure out a way to wake Thanos back up.
The Defenders of The Realm are composed of Doctor Strange, Namor, Nighthawk, Valkyrie, Hellcat and a new and unknown replacement for the original Hulk (Bruce Banner), who had long since mutated into a feral, mindless, uncontrollable and ever-expanding tentacled horror that ended up being "slain" by The Revengers.
Age of Ultron
After Wolverine and Sue Storm traveled back in time to assassinate Hank Pym before he could prevent Ultron, a splinter timeline was created.
In the new reality, the Avengers disbanded after a catastrophy, and thus the Defenders replaced them as the premier superhero team of Earth. The group consisted of Doctor Strange, Captain America, Wolverine, Hulk, Captain Marvel (Janet Van Dyne), Cyclops, Thing, and Star-Lord.
What If...? X-Men: Age of Apocalypse
In an alternate Age of Apocalypse reality where both Xavier and Magneto are killed by Legion, Apocalypse expanded his brutal reign around the world unchallenged.
Twenty years after his rise, a band of the world's last crimefighters, dubbed the Defenders, make a final attempt in overthrowing Apocalypse and his Horsemen.
This version is led by Nate Summers, and its members consist of Brother Voodoo, Captain America, Colossus, Wolverine, Captain Britain, Thing, Sauron, and Molecule Man.
Following Doctor Strange's sacrifice, the team learns the truth of their reality and swears not to change the past but destroy Apocalypse's regime in the present. When the team finally succeeds in killing Apocalypse, however, Nate dons Apocalypse's armor and attempts time-travel to prevent their timeline from ever happening. In a fit of rage, Captain America fires a lightning bolt using Mjolnir, which not only killed Nate but also hundreds of others across the time portal.
When Gamora intended to rebuild Soul World by feeding Devondra, the monster within the Soul Stone all the souls in the universe, she folded the world in two, merging pairs of souls. She hoped this would incapacitate the superhero community, stopping them from trying to escape.
The heroes that merged with other heroes would be collected by Emma Frost as The Defenders. These merged heroes included:
- Arachknight - Spider-Man/Moon Knight
- Solider Supreme - Doctor Strange/Captain America
- Iron Hammer - Thor/Iron Man
- Weapon Hex - X-23/Scarlet Witch
In an alternate timeline, Tony Stark sacrificed his life to allow Ho Yinsen to escape from the terrorists who had captured the two. Becoming the armored hero Rescue, Yinsen joined the Defenders, who in this reality consisted of the Hulk, Captain America and Thor.
This reality was later folded into Battleworld as Yinsen City, with Yinsen serving as the Baron of this domain. The new Defenders consist of She-Hulk, Spider Hero, Kid Rescue and White Tiger. When forces from Mondo City attack and killed Yinsen, the Defenders are joined by Faiza Hussain (Captain Britain), who helps them protect the city.
In Other Media
A version of the Defenders appear in the episode "Planet Doom," which takes place in an alternate timeline where the Avengers were never formed and S.H.I.E.L.D. was destroyed. The team consisted of Bullseye Barton, Snap Wilson, and Slinger, with the Punisher and Black Bride as secret members of the group.
The Super Hero Squad Show
In the episode "Invader from the Dark Dimension," a number of characters are possessed by Baron Mordo, causing a new team to assemble.
Thor and Hulk team up with Silver Surfer, Doctor Strange, and Valkyrie to free the other heroes.
The Defenders appeared in a Netflix exclusive mini-series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the team consisting of Daredevil (played by Charlie Cox), Luke Cage (played by Mike Colter), Jessica Jones (played by Krysten Ritter, and Iron Fist (played by Finn Jones). The mini-series featured the four heroes uniting to save New York City from the Hand, an ancient ninja cult led by Alexandra (played by Sigourney Weaver), and, later, Elektra Natchios (played by Elodie Yung).
- The Defenders were featured in a special Super Hero Squad box set from Hasbro. The team included Silver Surfer, Nighthawk, Hulk and Gargoyle. Despite some prototypes leaking out on eBay, the set was never officially released.
- Hasbro released a Marvel Legends box set featuring the modern version of the team as an Amazon exclusive, with the group consisting of Daredevil, Jessica Jones as Jewel, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
- The Defenders were the subject of a special booster pack for the HeroClix figure game.
- Kotobukiya released a series of statues depicting each member of the modern team (Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Daredevil).
- Hasbro released a Marvel Legends box set based on the Netflix TV show as an SDCC exclusive.