Editor Gerry Conway picks up the writing chores. This happened a lot in the early 1970s. It’s sad that Steve Gerber left, but his legacy was pure: The Defenders is, in my view, his best straight up superhero work.
Conway’s fine, but he only writes for a few issues. The shining star in these issues–and the ones that follow–continues to be Klaus Janson’s wonderful inking but also the introduction of Keith Giffen.
Giffen had already done a few jobs here and there, but the Defenders in 1976 was his first long run on a comic book. Back then, he was Kirbyesque and that big, broad, dramatic style was indeed a departure from Steve Gerber’s more intimate silliness. It would be a good fit for David Anthony Kraft, who would start writing with the next issue.