DEFENDERS #46 (1977): Death of Elf With a Gun

This is probably the best “breaking up the band” comic I’ve ever read.  It starts with Strange wanting to disband the team because … Well, the reasons aren’t all that clear.  It’s also not clear why Valkyrie, Nighthawk and the others who want to stay together can’t do it without Stephen.  But maybe it’s because they all live at his house?

Anyway, Hulk takes it the worst and throws a big fit, threatening to kill the messenger, Nighthawk.  It’s a great character moment for Hulk though, who ultimately understands what’s going on because he understands people wanting to be left alone.

Look how scary Hulk’s face is when he’s about to pound Nighthawk!

There’s a 5-page battle with Scorpio that’s really unnecessary, but they probably couldn’t get away with an all-talk, all-character comic in the 1970s, so I get why it’s there.

And then, in the epilogue, a kid is delivering newspapers to a house and wonders to himself why they haven’t been picked up. The narration boxes take us inside the house to reveal the story…


David Kraft respected Steve Gerber enough not to leave the “Elf With a Gun” story hanging.  Gerber intended the character as a representation of the random, violent ugliness of life.  He was never really supposed to tie in to the main storylines.  So killing him by randomly running him over with a moving van is somewhat fitting….But Gerber himself would bring the character back later.  Stay tuned for more Elf with a Gun.  Or hit the tag below to see all about him.

Creators: David Anthony Kraft, Roger Slifer (plot, script) and Keith Giffen
Grade: A

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

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