Review: Giant-Size Defenders #1

Giant-Size Defenders #1 cover
Cover by Gil Kane

Giant-Size Defenders #1
Published and © by Marvel, July 1974

Title: “The Way They Were!”
Synopsis: Clea’s efforts to reveal the Defender’s past to Valkyrie reintroduces the team to past perils.

Writer: Tony Isabella, Stan Lee, Bill Everett and Denny O’Neil
Penciler: Jim Starlin, Jack Kirby, Everett and Steve Ditko
Inker: Al Milgrom, Dick Ayers, Everett and Ditko

Review: For today’s fans – in this golden era of comic-book collected editions – it’s hard to imagine what a joy the Big Two’s giant-sized reprints could be. While the characterization isn’t consistent, this story offers Golden and Silver Age greats, wrapped in a framing sequence by a top-of-his-game Jim Starlin.


Title: “The Peerless Power of the Silver Surfer”
Synopsis: The Silver Surfer uses his cosmic powers to grant Quasimodo humanoid form – and soon realizes his mistake!

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inker: Frank Giacoia

Review: Two-fisted action from the legendary Marvel Age founders. A morally gray story with superb art by Jack “King” Kirby.

Grade (for the entire issue): A-

Second opinion: “Tony Isabella makes it quite a nice tale – and Jim Starin’s art work gives some very nice effects.” – Ruan Lanihorne, Fantasy Unlimited #24, March 1975

Cool factor: Kirby. Everett. Ditko. ’Nuff said.
Not-so-cool factor: In retrospect, Doctor Strange relationship with Clea just keeps getting creepier.

Notable: Reprints material from Incredible Hulk #3, Sub-Mariner Comics #41, Stange Tales #145 and Fantastic Four Annual #5. … Also includes a two-page pinup of the Defenders by Sal Buscema.

Character quotable: “Using what I have learned from this arcane volume, I believe I can show you something of your teammates’ pasts.” – Clea, setting this flashback tale in motion

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Sequential Reaction (Vol. 1) on Sept. 16, 2016.

Pinup of The Defenders
The Defenders, as drawn by Sal Buscema in Giant-Size Defenders #1.

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