The Defenders are affectionately known as the Marvel Non-Team, a bunch of heroes who came together and who stuck together. The team has undergone several roster changes over the years and while not as popular as some of the Marvel teams, they have had some rather powerful members on their team.
However, not all of these heroes started out that way. Whether it was because they debuted at a time when the characters weren’t as powerful, or because their abilities simply developed into something bigger over time, many Defenders were nowhere to be found. as strong as they would one day become. It allowed them to reach their potential in ways that no one thought possible.
8 The Hulk was relatively weak when he started out
There have been plenty of versions of the Hulk over the years, but if there’s one thing that has apparently never changed, it’s his protests that the Hulk is the strongest there is. This generally turned out to be the case, as even shortly after its debut it was hitting everyone who arrived, including heroes like Thor and the Thing. While he was certainly strong back then, he was nowhere near as strong as he would be.
Hulk’s strength has grown exponentially over the years, as has his durability and healing factor. Now, the Hulk is an engine of destruction with the potential for infinite strength that is fundamentally unkillable. Even in his early days with the Defenders, he was far from the powerhouse he would one day become.
7 Doctor Strange’s powers have grown in leaps and bounds since his debut
Doctor Strange has always been the Supreme Wizard, a master of some of the difficult spells on Earth. When he debuted, however, magic wasn’t quite the force it would become in the Marvel Universe. Like many other early Marvel characters, Doctor Strange was relatively weak compared to the power he would eventually become, depending more on things like his levitating cloak and Agamotto’s eye to get through things, as well as his mind.
Over the years, Doctor Strange has studied greater and greater magic, defeated increasingly powerful enemies, and increased in power tremendously. Now one of the most powerful humans on the planet, Doctor Strange’s power increased as his popularity waned, which is a rather odd set of circumstances.
6 Silver Surfer was far from full power when he joined the team
When Silver Surfer made his debut he was powerful enough to hit the Fantastic Four, but that was about to change. After disobeying Galactus, the World Devourer deprived Surfer of most of his power and forced him to stay on Earth, unable to leave the atmosphere. Silver Surfer would join the Defenders after that and while still powerful he was nowhere near as powerful as he should be or would be again in the future once Galactus lifted the restrictions.
Once all of the cosmic power was returned to him, Silver Surfer once again became one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe.
5 Namor’s Golden Age debut saw him weaker than he would ever become
Namor is one of Marvel’s first characters and one of the most powerful aquatic superheroes of all time. Namor’s early days in the Golden Age saw him with many of the same powers he would have, but it was a different time then; even Superman was just a shadow of what he was to become. Namor’s abilities were much weaker than they would one day become, especially after returning to the Silver Age in the pages of The Fantastic Four.
Namor would fight both the FF and the Avengers at this time, so he had to be a lot tougher than when he was simply fighting the Golden Age Android Human Torch and the Nazis. He’s since grown into one of the toughest mutants on Earth, a danger to any hero or villain he comes into conflict with.
4 Daredevil wasn’t always the guy who could beat anyone
It’s hard to imagine today, there was a time when Daredevil wasn’t just as popular as a hero, but wasn’t really OP either. In his early days, he was essentially a blind Spider-Man with no superhuman strength, swinging around 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 defeated Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, Beast, Hercules, and Ultron. Yes, this Ultron.
A member of the Defenders incarnation who gave a book after the hit Netflix show, Daredevil may now be known as New York’s toughest vigilante, but it certainly hasn’t always been.
3 Hank Pym was a member of the Defenders as Yellowjacket
Hank Pym is better known as The Avenger, but he was a member of the Defenders for a short time when he was known as the Yellowjacket. Hank Pym popularized the Ant-Man mantle in his early days, but that was when he was weakest. His shrinking power wasn’t very impressive, and being able to talk to ants is only really useful when on a picnic, not when fighting villains.
Pym was a scientist, so he constantly tinkered with Pym’s particles, eventually gaining the power to grow and shrink, which was much more useful. As a Yellowjacket, not only could he do both, but his costume allowed him to shoot energy blasts like the Wasp and fly, so at least he was at his strongest when he was a defender.
2 The Archangel was at his most useless in the years when he was just an angel
Once Beast joined the Defenders, he brought in several former X-Men who were kicked out of the All-New, All-Different squad. One of them was Angel, which isn’t really 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.
These wings would eventually fall victim to the Marauders during Angel’s subsequent time with X-Factor. This will prompt him to attempt suicide, but he was saved by Apocalypse and transformed into the metal winged Death Rider known as the Archangel. He was redeemed by his friends but fought mightily against his darker side, even becoming Apocalypse for a while.
1 Iceman has become one of the most powerful mutants on the planet
Iceman is another X-Man who joined the Defenders during Beast’s time with the team and also when he was nowhere near as powerful as he had become. That said, he was still quite useful to defenders, with his ice form allowing him to take more damage than a normal human and the power to create ice builds and freeze things. Those powers would be pale in comparison to what he would eventually become.
Iceman is one of the most powerful Omega class mutants on the planet. His powers have grown so much that he can control the hydrosphere of the planet and create living ice constructs that he can remotely control if he wishes.
NEXT: The 10 Smartest Characters In Defenders Comics
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