Real Name: Don Stevens
Identity/Class: Normal human (early 1940s)
Occupation: US Marine soldier, vigilante
Group Membership: US Marines
Affiliations: Captain Terror, Jack Frost, Sally Kean, Major Liberty, Police Commissioner of Middleton, Rockman, Rusty, Vagabond, Whizzer, Young Avenger
Enemies: Alexander Bont, Dame Kackle and her crew, P.J. Evans, the Fog and his agents, Oldow, US gangsters, Nazi Germans, Nazi sympathizers
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: United States Marine (see comments)
Base of Operations: Mobile in the USA and Central America, Germany
First Appearance: U.S.A. Comics#1/1 (August, 1941)
Powers/Abilities: Don Stevens had excellent fighting skills and agility (athlete to peak human range) with military training in hand weapons. He was also a keen detective.
(U.S.A. Comics#1/1 (fb) - BTS) - Don Stevens took up the costumed mantle of the Defender, establishing for himself a reputation for fighting criminals and anti-American activists.
(U.S.A. Comics#1/1) - Don Stevens and Rusty accompanied Sally Kean on a Staten Island ferry when they saw a man thrown overboard from a nearby schooner. Stevens and Rusty swam over and quickly engaged the crew in a fight until the ship's captain, Dame Kackle, appeared and denied any wrongdoing. The two Marines left and investigated the docks that night in their costumed identities, finding people smugglers brawling with their captives. The Defender and Rusty jumped in but were captured by Dame Kackle, who tried to blow them up with TNT, but they escaped before the warehouse exploded. The next morning at their army base, they were ordered to accompany Kean canoing, but slipped away at the docks although Kean was captured. Rusty found an underground entrance in another warehouse and fought Dame Kackle's lackeys there. Venturing further in, they climbed up a vertical passageway that led to a buoy on the sea, identifying how the people smuggling occurred. The Defender and Rusty swam to the ship, finding Kean tied up who Kackle intended as bait to lure the two. A vicious fight ensued until Kackle's crew were defeated with the chief smuggler then jumping overboard. The two crime fighters leapt from the ship just as American government agents arrived to keep their identities secret.
(U.S.A. Comics#2/4) - Bored at their military base, Stevens and Rusty decided to look into reports of gunrunners in Mexico. At the border bridge, they found out about a regular thick fog after dark and went back at night in costume to investigate. Amidst the fog, they heard a truck and climbed aboard, taking control before getting knocked out. The two army men were then taken before the Nazi leader involved in the weapons supply and were about to be tortured when the Defender broke free, fought off the Nazi lackeys, and rescued Rusty from the rack. Coming across more weaponry and ammunition, the Defender and Rusty each took control of a small tank, knocking over Nazis and blowing up the ammunition warehouse. They escaped and clambered into a truck, discovering the mechanism that released the artificial thick fog and identifying the American arms manufacturer P.J. Evans behind the supply. Confronting the arms merchant, they overpowered him and called in the F.B.I.
(U.S.A. Comics#2/5) - Dan Kane,also known as Captain Terror, invited fellow crime fighters the Defender, Jack Frost, Major Liberty, Rockman, Rusty, Vagabond, Young Avenger and Whizzer to his mansion to compare notes and trade stories, seeing as how their adventures were being documented in U.S.A. Comics. They agreed to let the best true adventure told by one of them be printed in the next issue.
(U.S.A. Comics#3/4) - On furlough to see a traveling carnival, Stevens and Rusty and saw a sideshow featuring the super-strong Oldow before looking around further. Soon after, they saw the now transformed Oldow, who was terrorizing the carnival with his fanged bestial form. Quickly changing into their Defender and sidekick outfits, they tackled the human monster. Evenly matched, Oldow managed to get away when the Defender tended to Rusty, who had been thrown against a tree by Oldow. The next day, the carnival came to their army camp and Stevens went with Rusty to enjoy the show. Later that night, under a full moon, Oldow again transformed and attacked. A cry for help woke Stevens and Rusty from their slumber and they rushed off in costume, only to once more confront Oldow. Rusty was again threatened but the Defender rushed in and punched the monstrous Oldow, knocking him over a cliff to his death. The Defender then pondered what fate lay next for them.
(U.S.A. Comics#4/3) - Returning by boat from a short tour of duty in Nicaragua and landing in Middleton, Stevens and Rusty encountered heavy fog and came across masked thieves looting. Stevens called in his fellow Marines and the robbers were quickly beaten unconscious. Smelling something unusual in the fog, he went to the chemist Professor Rhinestone, who suggested that the fog was manufactured and made people drowsy after a few days exposure. Connecting the looting with the fog, the Defender and Rusty patrolled the streets looking for the gang involved and came across the Fog assaulting Mr. Snyder, the local coal merchant. The Fog escaped but Snyder revealed with his dying breaths that the villain was forcing him to sell coal that released the fog across Middleton. The Defender and Rusty rushed to the Police Commissioner who immediately had the tainted coal dumped in the river. However, the Fog then arrived with his agents who shot at the government agents. The Defender and Rusty charged at the Fog in a truck, crashing into the pier. The Defender and the Fog then fought fiercely until they both toppled into the sea. Still grappling underwater, the Defender ripped off the Fog's helmet to reveal Dr. Rhinestone and punched him away with the villain drowning. Rusty then helped the Defender back to shore.
(The Twelve#1) - On April 25, 1945, the Defender stormed Berlin, Germany, along with many other notable Allied costumed fighters, including Captain America, Captain Terror, the Destroyer, Dynamic Man, Father Time and Sub-Mariner, crushing any German military they encountered.
(Daredevil II#67) - Soon back in New York, the Defender smashed into a meeting of gangsters headed by Alexander Bont. Declaring himself a defender of the local citizens, he intended to beat up everyone there but stopped suddenly when he felt Bont push a gun barrel to the back of his head. Bont fired his handgun, killing the Defender instantly. The Defender's murder then helped Bont's standing in the criminal underworld.
Comments: Created by uncredited writer and artist (possibly Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, respectively, according to the hardbound collection).
Technically, the Defender's first appearance was on the cover of U.S.A. Comics#1, where he's shown charging in to rescue an unnamed general being menaced by a ghoulish Nazi with pale blue skin and a nasty cat. However, this adventure is identified only on the cover, so it probably shouldn't be considered part of his actual history.
The story gathering the main heroes of U.S.A. Comics was text only.
The numerous Allied heroes he stormed Berlin with could be listed as affiliations, but it is unknown just how well he knew them or if he saw them just as fellow combatants.
The House Ad for U.S.A. Comics#1 calls him United States Marine, but this obviously changed once the issue went to press.
I'm not a fan of bringing back Golden Age characters just to kill them off. It's an overdone trope at Marvel - The Twelve, All-Winners Band of Brothers, Marvels Project, and even the most recent run of the Invaders, while all having good story points too, all do this, and to my mind it is a shame to suggest the only story potential many GA characters have in being brought back is to be cannon fodder. So, while I accept that the most obvious version of events - upon returning home from the war, the Defender took to fighting crime again, only to be shot dead by Alexander Bont - is probably the case, I can't help but speculate options that don't end his career so abruptly - the Defender that Bont shot was a wannabe successor, not the now retired wartime hero (who deserved a better ending), maybe even a grown-up Rusty (if we have to kill off GA characters, I'd rather bump off the annoying kid sidekicks).
Profile by Grendel Prime.
The Defender has no known connections to:
P.J. Evans was the President of Evans Munitions Works who was selling his products to enemies of the USA. The Defender and Rusty identified the fog guns used at the Mexican-US border to facilitate gunrunning as coming from Evans' firm. The Defender and Rusty then stormed into Evans' office and confronted him with the evidence of his fifth column work, but he ordered the two Americans be shot by his hidden assistant. The Defender knocked out the older overweight man with one punch then reported him to the F.B.I.
U.S.A. Comics#1/1, p1, pan1 (main image)
U.S.A. Comics#3/4, p5, pan3 (head shot as Marine)
The Twelve#1, p1 (with flag)
Daredevil II#67, p12 pan 5-6 & p13, pan 1-2 (killed by Alexander Bont)
U.S.A. Comics#2/4, p7, pan3 (P.J. Evans)
U.S.A. Comics#1/1 (August, 1941) - uncredited writer, uncredited artist (possibly Joe Simon and Jack Kirby), Stan Lee (editor)
U.S.A. Comics#2/4 (November, 1941) - George Klein (writer (?) and art), Stan Lee (editor)
U.S.A. Comics#2/5 (November, 1941) - Stan Lee (writer/editor)
U.S.A. Comics#3/4 (January, 1942) - George Klein (writer (?) and art), Stan Lee (editor)
U.S.A. Comics#4/3 (May, 1942) - uncredited writer, George Klein (art), Stan Lee (editor)
Daredevil II#67 (January, 2005) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Alex Maleev (art), Jennifer Lee (editor)
The Twelve#1 (March, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Last updated: 07/23/14
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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