Marvel: 8 Strong Defenders Who Started Out Weak | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

The Defenders are affectionately known as Marvel’s non-team, a group of heroes brought together by chance who stayed together.
The Defenders are affectionately known as Marvel’s non-team, a group of heroes brought together by chance who stayed together. The team has gone through multiple roster changes over the years and while they aren’t as popular as some of Marvel’s teams, they have had some rather powerful members as part of their team.
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Not all of these heroes started out that way, though. Whether it be because they debuted at a time when characters weren’t as powerful or their abilities just developed into something greater over time, many Defenders were nowhere as strong as they would one day become. This allowed them to reach their potential in ways no one thought possible.
There have been lots of versions of the Hulk over the years but if there’s one thing that has seemingly never changed, it’s his protestations that the Hulk is the strongest one there is. This has usually proven to be the case, as even back in the days not long after he debuted he was smacking around all comers, including heroes like Thor and the Thing. While he was certainly strong back then, he was nowhere near as strong as he would be.
The Hulk’s strength has increased exponentially over the years, as have his durability and healing factor. Now, the Hulk is an engine of destruction with the potential for infinite strength that is basically unkillable. Even in his early days with the Defenders, he was nowhere near the powerhouse he would one day become.
Doctor Strange has always been the Sorcerer Supreme, a master of some of the difficult spells on Earth.  When he debuted, though, magic wasn’t quite the force it would become in Marvel Universe. Like many other early Marvel characters, Doctor Strange was relatively weak compared to how powerful he’d eventually become, depending more on things like his levitating cloak and the Eye of Agamotto to get through things, along with his wits.
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Over the years, Doctor Strange studied greater and greater magic, defeated more powerful foes, and grew in power immensely. Now one of the most powerful humans on the planet, Doctor Strange’s power has grown as his popularity has shrank, which is a pretty weird set of circumstances.
When Silver Surfer debuted, he was powerful enough to smack around the Fantastic Four but that would change. After disobeying Galactus, the World Devourer stripped Surfer of most of his power and forced him to stay on Earth, unable to leave the atmosphere. Silver Surfer would join up with the Defenders after this and while he was still powerful, he was nowhere near as powerful as he should be or once again would be in the future once Galactus lifted the restrictions off him.
Once the full Power Cosmic was returned to him, Silver Surfer again became one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe.
Namor is one of the first Marvel characters ever and among the most powerful aquatic superheroes of all time. Namor’s Golden Age debut saw him with many of the same powers he’d have but it was a different time back then; even Superman was but a shadow of who he would become. Namor’s abilities were vastly weaker than they would one day become, especially after his Silver Age return in the pages of Fantastic Four.
Namor would battle both the FF and the Avengers in those days, so he had to be much tougher than when he was just fighting the android Human Torch of the Golden Age and Nazis. He’s since become one of the toughest mutants on Earth, a danger to any hero or villain with who he comes into conflict.
It’s hard to imagine today, there was a time when Daredevil was not only not as popular of a hero but also wasn’t truly OP. In his early days, he was basically a blind Spider-Man without superhuman strength, swinging through Hell’s Kitchen, beating up criminals, and making jokes. After Frank Miller took over the character, he got a lot tougher and would become the OP titan who has defeated Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, Beast, Hercules, and Ultron. Yes, that Ultron.
A member of the incarnation of the Defenders that given a book after the success of the Netflix show, Daredevil may now be known as the toughest vigilante in New York but that definitely wasn’t always the case.
Hank Pym is better known as an Avenger but he was a member of the Defenders for a short time while he was known as Yellowjacket. Hank Pym popularized the Ant-Man mantle when he debuted but that was when he was at his weakest. His power to shrink wasn’t super impressive and being able to talk to ants is really only helpful at a picnic, not when battling supervillains.
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Pym was a scientist, so he constantly tinkered with the Pym Particles, eventually gaining the power to grow as well as shrink, which was much more useful. As Yellowjacket, he not only could do both but his costume allowed him to fire energy blasts like the Wasp and fly, so at least he was at his toughest while he was a Defender.
Once Beast joined the Defenders, he brought several X-Men alums who were left out of the All-New, All-Different team. One of them was Angel, which isn’t exactly a good thing. While he had a lot of experience as a superhero, being one of the founding X-Men, he only had his feather wings. This limited his usefulness in combat, as he was pretty much just a guy with hollow bones and extremely vulnerable wings.
Those wings would eventually fall victim to the Marauders during Angel’s later time with X-Factor. This would drive him to try to commit suicide but he was saved by Apocalypse and transformed into the metal winged Horseman of Death known as Archangel. He was redeemed by his friends but struggled mightily against his darker side, even becoming Apocalypse for a time.
Iceman is another X-Man who joined the Defenders during Beast’s time with the team and also back during the days when he was nowhere near as powerful as he’d become. That said, he was still pretty useful to the Defenders, with his ice form allowing him to take more damage than a normal human and the power to create ice constructs and freeze things. These powers would pale in comparison compared to what he’d eventually become.
Iceman is one of the most powerful Omega class mutants on the planet. His powers have grown to such an extent that he can basically control the hydrosphere of the planet and can make living ice constructs that he can remotely control if he so chooses.
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David Harth has been reading comics for close to 30 years. He writes for several websites, makes killer pizza, goes to Disney World more than his budget allows, and has the cutest daughter in the world. He can prove it. Follow him on Twitter- https://www.twitter.com/harth_david.

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