I know there are many detractors from the JM DeMatteis run, but overall I thought it was above average. Not great, but above average. This is where it ends, and it ends with the team being completely reconstituted and the new comic getting a new logo and the title “New Defenders.” It speaks volumes that there was no new #1. There was no need for that kind of gimmick back in the 1980s, when completist collectors ensured that high number issues would still be purchased.
The uncool Miracle Man character (i.e., not Owen Reese), steals Son of Satan’s darksoul powers and the team fights him to help their buddy get it back. At the same time, Elf with a Gun starts shooting team members.
It’s extremely convoluted.
During the stories, The Beast starts thinking about changing the team and having formal membership—remember, the Defenders are really a “non-team” of folks who just hang out together a lot. He gets a bunch of people to consider signing on, and they all have their test at the wedding of Son of Satan and Hellcat (yes, that happens, too) when they all have to fight the villains who crash the wedding.
Because it’s a Marvel wedding. They always get crashed. Just click the tag about weddings below if you don’t believe me.
All this eventually ties back to Elf trying to “save” the timeline by killing the Defenders, which eventually leads to a pronouncement by the “time tribunal” that the old team must break up. It’s a pretty contrived way to validate Beast’s desire to start his own D-team. And really, frankly, unnecessary since Beast was doing a fine job already doing this.
The Tribunal says that the four A-list members (Strange, Hulk, Namor & the Surfer) must never again join together as a team. And it kind of ruins the weird, crazy randomness of Elf with a Gun.
The New Defenders. In the end, this will be the new team, which will be written by Peter Gillis in the future. They didn’t live too long, but they lasted a couple years.