Friday, August 1, 2014

One Wingman Short

In a prior post, it became clear how valuable the presence of the Hulk was in promoting sales of The Defenders, even if the Hulk wasn't actually in the issue(s) in question. I suppose when you think about it, there wasn't any other character on the team who could carry the ball in that respect--not even Dr. Strange, who mostly kept a low profile in comparison to other Marvel characters and whose book likely wasn't a strong seller in the first place. So a cover like this one, while infuriating in terms of being a blatant misrepresentation of the events in the actual story, fully met the spirit of "shameless marketing ploy":

Just to make things crystal clear: the Hulk was never present (conflicted or otherwise) during the confrontation between Luke Cage, Strange, and Nighthawk--therefore, neither Strange nor Nighthawk addressed him or questioned his loyalties. The Hulk never even knew such a meeting took place--because, in the first few pages of the issue, the Hulk angrily left the Defenders without a backward glance. Strange decided to accompany Nighthawk in investigating the mysterious destruction of buildings owned by Kyle Richmond (Nighthawk's true identity), which led to their unfortunate meeting with the private security which Richmond's C.F.O. hired to protect the premises.

Yes, a slight over-reaction on Cage's part. He compounds the blunder by decking Strange--but that opens the door to this nice little dust-up with Nighthawk:

I don't really see Nighthawk as being Cage's match--after all, even though Nighthawk has twice the strength, skill and stamina of a normal man at night, Cage's strength and stamina go beyond that. And since Nighthawk really isn't looking for a fight while Cage is, the man interested in putting the other down is likely the one who'll prevail here.

So it's a good thing that Nighthawk has Strange as a wingman tonight, because once the stars stop circling Strange's head, this fight's going to be over. Oh, wait--isn't his "mystic might drained"? I GUESS NOT.

For what it's worth, the Hulk returns in the next issue to help battle the Wrecking Crew.  At least that's what it looks like on that issue's cover.


Anonymous said...

Well, if we are talking about misrepresentation what about the fact that Sub-Mariner appears in the corner box (corner circles ?) when he'd left the group by this point. And what about the fact that Valkyrie wasn't included in the corner box for years even though she'd been in the Defenders since about #5.

david_b said...

Not a HUGE Defenders fan, I did enjoy this tenure of Sal and Steve Gerber the best of all Defenders phases.

Pretty much due to the Avengers/Defenders Clash, I liked 'em best during their beefed-up 'Avengers-like' phase for the Clash. The following dozen issues were still fun due to Sal's awesome art (can't say that enough..) and introducing Kyle, exploring Val's past, even squeezing in my favorite hero, Yellowjacket. When the Serpent arc was over, I grabbed a few of the Guardians story then pretty much moved on.

Comicsfan said...

Colin, that's a fair point about Sub-Mariner still being used, while Valkyrie is still a no-show. Still, Defenders membership turnover is fairly frequent--and since the organization isn't a team in the formal sense, perhaps it was felt there was no real need to keep the character bubbles up to date. (Though I would have winced if they'd included a Silver Surfer face up there!)

David, Gerber wouldn't step aboard until after the conclusion of the Wrecking Crew story, though I'll certainly agree that his run on the title was... distinctive. :)

david_b said...

Ooops, my bad. I KNEW I should have checked my sources.

Great column though, sir.

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