Defenders #47-50 (1977)

Splash to #47. Nice.

This issue starts with a fight…Moon Knight vs Nick Fury.

It’s a reboot of Moon Knight.

He’s still a vigilante, but he’s heroic now.

He suspects that Nick Fury is a thug more than a cop.

nick fury fights moon knight

The person Nick was abusing? Jack Russell–Werewolf by Night–who is also a friend of The Defenders.

 Wonder Man is in the story, too, and he claims to be an Avenger but Moon Knight notes that he’s not on the roster.

Moon Knight is smarter here–much better prepared. But he’s still dumb enough to punch a guy with rock-hard skin.

Moon Knight is improving here. This is the first time he was written by someone who wasn’t Dough Moench, and David Anthony Kraft is a skilled writer who seems to truly understand what Moench was trying to do when he created the character–and who sees the potential growth areas for him.

After sorting out these initial issues, it’s a big Zodiac Gang fight–and Moon Knight stays around for it all. He infiltrates their base.

(Look how they snuck a diagram there in the lower left panel!)

Keith Giffen takes on art chores during some of issues and this is how he draws Moon Knight…

I know people accuse him of stealing panel designs and even tracing, but I really dig Giffen. More on his art later.

At this point, we the readers think Jack Noriss was kidnapped by Nick Fury.  But during Moon Knight’s rescue mission, we learn that it wasn’t the real Nick Fury—which may be why Moon Knight beat him so easily.  Rather, it was Scorpio, who holds him for ransom hoping to get some of that Kyle Richmond (aka Nighthawk) money.

The team—and I note that any talk of them breaking up a few issues ago appears to have dissipated (although Strange isn’t with them anymore)—tracks Scorpio down in time to see his new Zodiac gang.

This is Keith Giffen at his most Kirbyesque, like what he’d later do for DC’s Legion of Superheroes as the creator of that team’s greatest story of all time: The Great Darkness Saga featuring Darkseid.

I don’t usually list inkers on this site, but I have to note that Klaus Janson—who is one of the best in the business—has been on Defenders for a while now, and his heavy-darkness style is really starting to emerge.  This is the style he would ultimately use to great effect over Frank Miller’s pencils on Daredevil.  It works really well here with Giffen.

See what I mean about Kirbyesque? Let’s close in on Hulk and Nighthawk:


In the end, there’s a nice big battle.  

Nick Fury returns and Scorpio kills himself rather than be taken alive.

So much action! How can Hulk be bored???

Also, Val gets a new costume and goes to college.


And Hellcat has an “I don’t know you so I must fight you” meeting with Wonder Wan.

There’s a lot of heroes fighting and/or feuding with each other.

And speaking of heroes vs. heroes, in the course of the story, Hulk loses control and goes on a rampage.

  And we get a cool map.

Not only is there that really fun map, but there’s also an overview of The Defenders’ new hideout.

I don’t recall there being a lot of dirt roads or farms in Long Island in the ’70s, but…I don’t recall there being Hulks or Moon Knights either, so I guess that kind of realism doesn’t matter.

Last but not least, Hulk eats something other than beans.

And likes it.

Creators were David Anthony Kraft and Roger Slifer (plot #47), John Warner (script #47), David Anthony Kraft (scrip #48-51), Keith Giffen (pencils), and Klaus Janson (inks for most of these issues, with assistance on #50 from various inkers)

2 thoughts on “Defenders #47-50 (1977)”

  1. I cannot overstate how much I loathed this period of ‘Defenders’ history- coming off the legendary Steve Gerber/Sal Buscema era, this era is just a bunch of aimless crap. Seriously- it plays like the writer/s were making up the plots panel-by-panel. I am no great fan of Jack Kirby ( beyond my acknowledgement of his contributions to the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four ) so you can imagine how little I feel for that fourth-rate Kirby Keith Giffen. Yeah, this was just a miserable period for the Defenders, surpassed in awfulness only by it’s last-gasp “New Defenders” period of issues 122 to 152. Peeeeeee-YEWWWWWWWW!!!!! Whatever happened to David Anthoney Kraft, anyway-?? I just assumed this run on ‘The Defenders’ ended his career! If it didn’t, it SHOULD have!! Of course the ultra-feminist Valkyrie would like her new white body-suit- it’s about as sexy as Aunt May! This era provides proof-positive that there is one character in every major story that is indispensable to it’s survival, and, for the Defenders, that’s Dr. Strange. Without Dr. Strange, what we have are a bunch of costumed yahoos running around-literally- crashing into each other! It just sucks! The one Defender that has always seemed to me to be out-of-place in this series is- the Hulk!! Yes- you know- the character that sells the book?! My feeling is, that in spite of the Hulk’s need for friends, it makes no more sense that he would want to hang around/pal around with this bunch any more than he did with the Avengers! And for the same reasons! The Hulk is not quite human, so he has nothing in common with these people. Dr. Strange hooks him ( and Banner ) up with room and board, but, beyond that, where is the Hulk’s motivation to want to hang around these people??? Just makes no sense to me. Issue#50’s full-page diagram of the Defender’s ranch-estate is ringed with headshots of the “cool, interesting” Defenders, who, of course, NEVER SHOW UP during this miserable run, which was just cruel to those of us who were hanging around and supporting this drivel out of loyalty to the wonderfullness of the recent, previous Gerber/Buscema era. I’m such a sap! I GUESS I thought it would return, like a cycle. ‘The Defenders’ would not become readable again until issue#92’s return of Nebulon ( and, briefly, the Sub-Mariner ) followed by the very-excellent “Six Fingered Hand” storyline, realizing as they did that the one hundredth issue was coming up, and this would be a good time to try to return the series to it’s former glory days- before it’s too late!! But, unfortunately, following the conclusion of that historic storyline in issue#100, the series did just that- regressed back into sub-mediocrity, resulting in it’s slow, inexorable slide into oblivion. Didn’t have to happen, though- a reinstatement of the right creative team could have put the series back on it’s path to early-mid Seventies greatness. Indeed, in the early Seventies, ‘The Defenders’ was Marvel’s showcase title! It was that good! But, alas, nothing lasts forever……thank Heaven for the New X-Men!! X-Celsior!

  2. This is my favorite version of the Zodiac. The human cartel that the Avengers fought was just too weak. These guys were a lot more formidable. Cancer, Taurus, Leo and Aries especially. Too bad this version of the LMD Zodiac was changed over and over again. The original Defenders are still the best. With Subby and the Surfer. They were even more powerful than the Avengers.


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