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Giant-Size Defenders #1: Review

Jul 1974
Tony Isabella, Jim Starlin

Story Name:

The Way They Were!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Giant-Size Defenders #1 Review by (December 22, 2020)

Review: In the mid-1970s, Marvel published Giant-Size editions of many of their top titles. Some of these were all-new material (like the classic GS X-MEN #1); some were all reprints (Cap, Thor, Iron Man) while most were a combination of new and reprinted stories. Of these, some had a new lead story followed by reprints (like GS DRACULA) and others has new material tying together reprinted material to form the semblance of a new story (GS INVADERS and SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP). Well, GS DEFENDERS #1 falls in that latter category: Valkyrie wants to know more about her new partners so Clea casts a spell conjuring up early tales of the three main guys. Tony Isabella went beyond the call of duty here by making this into a real story with that crazy and trippy climax, actually providing some conflict that needs to be resolved and making it weird too. And Starlin is a cool choice for artist as he has experience with mind-blowing sci-fi/fantasy. So: better than it had any right to be. And 1950s Subby stories are always a trip.

Comments: Main story takes place between DEFENDERS #12 and 13. Jim Starlin and Petra Goldberg collaborated on the colors. Issue includes a two-page pin-up of the (non)-team by Sal Buscema.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Giant-Size Defenders #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Synopsis: The Defenders, Doctor Strange, Hulk, and Valkyrie, return to headquarters in Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. Val tells Clea that she wishes she knew more about her teammates. Clea casts a spell to give Val visions of their early lives….

“Banished to Outer Space”
Reprinted from THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1962) #3.

In the next room, Hulk slowly vanishes and Clea feels it as she shows Val Namor’s past….

“Bird of Prey!”
Writer/artist: Bill Everett.
Synopsis: Story reprinted from SUB-MARINER (1954 series) #41. 
Teenage Namor is flying through the skies to make his non-flying pals jealous. He is fired on by a plane, thinking it is a type of bird. He seizes it and releases its “eggs,” which explode harmlessly on an iceberg, then rips its tail off, sending it into a death spiral. When Namor returns home, he is told he is a hero for downing a Nazi warplane, which humbles him.

Dr. Strange realizes that Clea’s spell “makes the past live again” …and then he disappears too….

“To Catch a Magician!”
Synopsis: Reprinted from STRANGE TALES #145.

In an odd fantasy land, Hulk is once again trapped in a spaceship, Namor is fighting Nazi planes, and Strange is facing Mister Rasputin. Strange casts a spell drawing them all together where they beat Rasputin and latch onto Clea’s mind to draw them back where they came from. Clea apologizes for screwing up and Val admits she has learned that her formidable allies are also good men.

“The Peerless Power of the Silver Surfer!”
Reprinted from FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #5.

Jim Starlin
Al Milgrom
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Bruce Banner)
Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer

(Norrin Radd)


Plus: Defenders.

> Giant-Size Defenders: Book info and issue index

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