#4 cover by
By Jim Beard
The Defenders enjoy a good slugfest as much as the next red-blooded non-team.
June brings not one but two
sets of Defenders into the spotlight. THE LAST DEFENDERS #4, by Joe Casey and Jim Muniz continues the adventures of Nighthawk and associates on June 11, while a new but decidedly strange New Defenders team debuts in FANTASTIC FOUR #558, by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, also on June 11.
This got us thinking: Imagine if you will one incarnation of Defenders pitted against another in an earth-shaking grudge match-the prize: the right to call themselves the Defenders!
The newest New Defenders remain shrouded in mystery for now, but from the mists of time we've managed to pull in the original
New Defenders-from DEFENDERS v1 #125-and set them against the Last Defenders.
Let the battles begin!
Nighthawk vs The Angel
The two winged billionaires take their fight to the skies, circling each other, searching for weakness. After closing quarters, they struggle intensely and viciously. Nighthawk's night-borne strength would seem to give him the upper edge over Warren Worthington's hollow-boned frame, but ultimately the Angel's natural ability and training at the hands of Professor X mean a plummeting fall for his adversary-and defeat.
Winner: The Angel
Junta vs. Moondragon
Former spy Junta possesses a curious bag of cool, including unique gravity-based powers and a flying ball of tech he calls "Ma"-a bald chick with a few mind tricks shouldn't pose too much of a threat. However, the cocky mercenary fails to account for Moondragon's mastery of psionics and her cold, calculating skill at conquering enemies. Junta manages to deliver a short burst of nausea but one concussive mind blast later and Moondragon plants a spike-heeled boot on the unconscious merc.
The Blazing Skull vs. Gargoyle
Two raging blasts of power from the Blazing Skull's hands bounce feebly off his foe's leathery skin and Isaac Christians moves in to siphon the Golden Age hero's life force. Due to the unknown properties of the Skull's powers, the attack ends in failure and the Blazing one pummels the bat-winged Gargoyle into the ground, laughing maniacally all the while.
Winner: The Blazing Skull
Atlas vs. Iceman
Bobby Drake's no neophyte when it comes to fighting giants, but Atlas gives him a run for his money. Iceman skates rings around his titanic foe, literally, but the former criminal grits his teeth against the cold and batters his way through. Finally, the playful X-Man makes one slip too many and Atlas is on him, gigantic fists flailing. The result: ice cubes for everyone.
Colossus vs. Andromeda
The Atlantean beauty seeks to draw her armored opponent into the briny deep but Colossus knows his limits and snatches Andromeda out of the water and into a headlock. Strength against strength quantifies this battle and unable to reach her weapons the female warrior attempts to belittle Piotr's gender. The mutant wavers, loathe to hurt a woman but decides to end it quickly by applying pressure to a sensitive nerve bundle. Andromeda's limp form slides to the ground, defeated.
Paladin vs. the Beast
Shrewd, smart and savvy, Paladin finds himself coming out on top of most scraps, but against the bouncing Beast he is hard-pressed. Paladin studies the blue-furred mutant and then fists-and witty rejoinders-fly. Hank McCoy admits surprise at the mercenary's skill and at that moment Paladin distracts the scientist by pointing out a rare Pagurus bernhardus. Immune to such childish tricks, the Beast breaks his foe's stun gun in two and proceeds with a textbook beatdown.
Winner: The Beast
She-Hulk vs. Valkyrie
The deciding skirmish looms large and the two warriors face each other across the battlefield, sword and skill versus gamma-irradiated muscle. The first few blows shatter windows, sending up a cloud of dust and debris. The next several shake the very earth. Val wipes blood from her lip as she circles the battered She-Hulk, then feints, then parries. Howling with rage, She-Hulk shatters Dragonfang with berserker strength and Valkyrie goes down hard at the tender mercies of the crusading attorney.
Winner: She-Hulk-and the Last Defenders!
Head into your local comic retailer on June 11 to pick up both FANTASTIC FOUR #558 and THE LAST DEFENDERS #4, but first head over to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited and check out the original Defenders in action.