Defenders, The (1972-86)

The Defenders is the name of a number of Marvel Comics superhero groups which are usually presented as a "non-team" of individualistic "outsiders," each known for following their own agendas. The team usually battled mystic and supernatural threats.

Its original incarnation was led by Doctor Strange and included the Hulk, Namor, and, eventually, the Silver Surfer. They first appeared as The Defenders in Marvel Feature #1 (December 1971).

The group had a rotating line-up from 1972 until 1986, with Dr. Strange and the Hulk being more or less constant members along with a number of other mainstays such as Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hellcat, the Gargoyle, Beast, the Son of Satan and Luke Cage, and a large number of temporary members. The publication was retitled near the end of the run as The New Defenders but featured none of the original members and only Valkyrie, the Beast and the Gargoyle of the former long-term members. The concept was modified in the 1993–95 series Secret Defenders, in which Dr. Strange assembled different teams for each individual mission. Later, the original team were reunited in a short-lived series by Kurt Busiek and Erik Larsen. In the 2000s, Marvel published a new miniseries featuring the classic line-up. Writer Matt Fraction and artist Terry Dodson launched a new Defenders series in December 2011.

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