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Quote1 Forget your petty anger, Nighthawk-- We must not fight among ourselves! Quote2
-- Falcon

Appearing in "Deadlier by the Dozen!"Edit

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Synopsis for "Deadlier by the Dozen!"Edit

The story opens with the Hulk fighting Black Goliath, Havok, Prowler, Stingray, and Torpedo. Black Goliath calls for the Hulk to surrender to the Defenders. Hulk has no intention of surrendering and easily swats Stingray away. Hulk is then simultaneously blasted by Havok and Tagak, and punched by the Black Goliath. He seems pained from the attacks, but does not fall.

Nearby, an angry Nighthawk keeps chasing after the Falcon. The Falcon lands on the ground and tries to calm him down. Nighthawk also lands, and the two of them seem ready for a fistfight. Nearby, Iron Fist is riding a horse and tries to stay on the saddle. Falcon and Nighthawk have spooked the horse, and it throws Iron Fist off its back. An angry Hulk manages to throw Black Goliath, Havok, and Torpedo to the ground. He declares that he has had enough.

As the Defenders start fighting each other in a free-for-all, Valkyrie and Hellcat look worried about the situation. The two of them ask Hercules to do something about it. (Hercules has just been elected the leader of the Defenders for a Day). Before they have a chance to act, Iron Man arrives. He brings a letter for Hellcat, which had been laying around the Avengers Mansion for quite a while. Iron Man informs the Defenders that an entire horde of super-villains were inspired by the Defenders television documentary. They call themselves Defenders and are currently rampaging in Manhattan. Hellcat and Valkyrie decide that the real Defenders have to respond to this threat.

Hercules thinks that they first have to restore order to their ranks. Valkyrie suggests reasoning with their disorderly members, but Hercules regards them as bereft from reason and lusting for battle. He has his own plan on how to discipline them, by allowing them to comprehend a power greater than their own. Hercules uproots a tree with his bare and swings it like a bat. He sends Black Goliath, Iron Fist, Nighthawk, and Stingray flying. He then informs the team about the False Defenders and the need to act against them. Captain Ultra thinks that Hercules is a "windbag", but chooses not to voice his opinion.

There is a sole dissenting voice among the Defenders, the Hulk. He is still angry due to the attack of the newcomers, and feels incensed that they expect him to fight for them. He tells them to fight their own fights and quits the team. He leaps away and disappears. Hercules thinks that the Hulk is a brute and an ill-tempered lout. Valkyrie defends the Hulk by claiming that her friend has suffered much under the hands of men. She thinks that the Hulk is seeking a brief respite from his suffering.

With so many available Defenders, Valkyrie suggests that they should divide themselves into three teams. This will allow them to scout the entire island of Manhattan. She decides that Hercules should lead the first group. Valkyrie herself will lead the second group, and Nighthawk will lead the third and final group. Nighthawk takes the time to apologize to the gathered heroes for his earlier behavior.

Hercules gets to choose his team first. He chooses 6 Defenders to follow him: Black Goliath, Captain Ultra, Havok, Hellcat, Iron Fist, and the White Tiger. Hellcat thinks that the villains will not have a chance against their team. White Tiger claims that New York City is his own turf. The Falcon volunteers to serve under Valkyrie, primarily to avoid Nighthawk. Valkyrie agrees. She states hat she is unfamiliar with most of the Defenders' new members, so she chooses her team randomly. She picks 5 Defenders: the Falcon, Jack of Hearts, Prowler, Stingray, and Torpedo. Nighthawk is content to lead the rest of them. Five Defenders proclaim their allegiance to him: Marvel Man, Nova, Polaris, the Son of Satan, and Tagak.

Polaris notes that three Defenders stand aside and have not joined any of the three groups: Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Paladin. The three of them actually want to quit. Captain Marvel says that he has seen enough to know that the Defenders are not the right team for him. Paladin explains that he is a mercenary who works for his pay. He is not motivated by idealistic altruism, like the others. Ms. Marvel claims that she was only here due to her curiosity and her previous experience with the Defenders. She informs them that she has since joined the Avengers. Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel fly away. Paladin leaves on foot, wishing "happy hunting" to the remaining Defenders.

Valkyrie and her team depart first. She rides her flying horse Aragorn. The Falcon, Jack of Hearts, Stingray, and Torpedo fly on their own. The Prowler can not fly, and has to be transported by Torpedo. Hercules' team can not fly and he hesitates to use the Academy's horses for transportation. Hellcat offers to transport them with the Hellcatmobile, her private vehicle. It only has a seat for Hellcat herself. Havok, Hercules, Iron Fist, and the White Tiger struggle to hold on to the speeding car. Black Goliath walks besides the car, while Captain Ultra is accidentally left behind.

Nighthawk and his group are the last heroes left in the Academy. Nighthawk asks what are they waiting for, and the Son of Satan answers that everyone is waiting for Nighthawk's order to depart. Nighthawk asks Hellstrom not to be sarcastic, and reminds everyone that he is still their leader. He flies away and commands the Defenders to follow him. Tagak reminds everyone that he can not fly. Nighthawk pays no attention to him, but Daimon Hellstrom decides that the others will have to transport Tagak. Polaris regrets being unable to join Valkyrie's group.

The scene shifts to Greenwich Village. Nighthawk, Nova, Marvel Man, Polaris, and the Son of Satan are flying, while Tagak is jointly transported by Marvel Man and Nova. The group asks the speeding Nighthawk to slow down, as they have trouble catching up to him. They suddenly hear someone claiming that a Defender stole his car. They interview the victim and he claims that the Defender in question was huge and powerful. The car in question is a speeding luxury car. Marvel Man, Nova, and the Son of Satan co-operate to lift the car in the air and return it to its owner. Nighthawk looks inside and discovers that the car thief is a punk kid. The kid is the owner's son, who was apparently inspired by the Defenders documentary to role play as a "hero".

After threatening his son with punishment, the owner examines his car and discovers a scuff in the paint. He accuses the Defenders of damaging his car and blames it on them interfering for no reason. Nighthawk, Nova, and Son of Satan loose their temper with the ungrateful man and threaten violence against him and his car. He quickly enters the car and drives away with his son. He threatens, however, to take them to court for their behavior. Nighthawk believes this was just an idle threat. Polaris wonders whether this is the average dose of danger that the Defenders face.

The scene shifts to the Soviet Union, where the Presence encounters a giant amoeba. Sergei recalls that he had caused the atomic accident which destroyed the nearby town of Kyshtym and apparently created this monster. He was at the time a young geneticist, but the Cold War positioned him to the forefront of nuclear history. He made phenomenal progress in the field, but late in 1957, he made a fatal mistake with radioactive waste disposal. The massive mistake was combined with Sergei's efforts at genetic engineering and created a dreadful new strain of amoeba.

The Presence is unaware that his activities are monitored by a military scout. The scout assumes that the Presence has returned to his power-mongering ways and speeds away to alert the Kremlin. Meanwhile, the Presence thinks about how he and his allies sought to contain the amoeba in the Siberian Forbidden Zone. He sees the creature still around and decides to stop it, in an attempt to insure the safety of the Soviet people. He unleashes a force blast against the creature. The creature absorbs the blast and craves for more. The Presence finds himself grabbed by a giant tentacle. The creature swallows him within its body and starts absorbing his radioactive energy. Sergei realizes what has happened. The amoeba has developed the ability to assimilate atomic energy and actually feeds on it. In his new form, the Presence is a living incarnation of nuclear energy. So the creature will feed on his energy and grow stronger. The scene ends.

In New York City, Hercules' group of Defenders locate the villainous Defenders, who are in the process of stealing a large number of diamonds. The villains' leader is Sagittarius. Hellcat recognizes Sagittarius as a member of the Zodiac. The Defenders for a Day prepare to face the villains. Blob mocks Hercules for wearing a skirt. Hercules punches the insolent mortal and sends the Blob flying. The battle begins.

The White Tiger kicks Batroc in the torso, seemingly taking him out of the fight. Whirlwind is running rings around the Black Goliath. He mentions his previous experience in combat against the original Goliath, Hank Pym. The Black Goliath replies that he used to work for Hank Pym. He uses Pym's information about Whirlwind to defeat the villain. Hellcat easily evades Sagittarius' attacks and then lands on top of him.

Nearby, Iron Fist evades attacks by Electro, and then uses a sack full of diamonds to knock out Electro. Hellcat proceeds to face the Looter, while White Tiger faces the Beetle. Hercules is surprised that his best punches seem to have no effect on the Blob. At this point the police arrives and breaks up the fight.

Heroes and villains are discovered holding various sacks of diamonds. The police can not tell the difference between them, and demand explanations. Hercules introduces himself as the leader of the real Defenders. He explains that the villains are thieves and that his own team intended to return the gemstones to their owners. Sagittarius instead claims that he and his group were the real heroes, and that Hercules is leading a group of villainous impostors. Hercules protests at having his honest word questioned. The police does not believe any of them and announce their intention to arrest both groups. The story ends.


  • Due to an error, the issue contains no credit for its editor. The regular editor of the series at the time of its publication was Bob Hall.
  • There seems to be a coloring mistake in the second panel of page 6. During a gathering of the Defenders, a female character is seen standing next to Nighthawk. She has the Cat Suit's ears, but has long blond hair and wears a black uniform. This seems to be a miscolored Hellcat, who is typically red-haired and wears a yellow uniform. The only other female Defenders at the time were Valkyrie (who is seen standing next to Hercules), Ms. Marvel (who is seen standing next to Nova), and Polaris (who is missing from the panel, but wears a much different costume).


See AlsoEdit


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Footnotes



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