Gerry Conway takes over for a few issues, as Egghead returns. Now decked out in a costume like a Lex Luthor knock-off, he's leading the "Emissaries of Evil", consisting of Solarr, Rhino and the Cobalt Man. They're trying to steal the enigmatic "Star of Capistan", the typical "ancient relic of great power". In addition to Egghead, the Star also brings Hellcat running. She had been warned of the Star's potential evil by Moondragon; causing the former to end her training on Titan and return to Earth as a full-time superheroine.
In the commotion, the Star possesses Dr. Strange and turns him into the Red Rajah, a bad guy who wants to bend all humans into one collective mind. New writer David Kraft arrives to script the semi-famous issue 45; one dedicated to the band RUSH. The catch is that the Rajah's motives were somewhat similar to the themes of "2112".
After a big battle in Central Park, Doc returns to normal and announces he must leave the team to hone his waning mystic abilities. Red Guardian and Power Man also leave, as the core team now becomes Nighthawk, Valkyrie, Hellcat and the Hulk.
Another turning point for the book. Not just in the roster, but the art begins to emulate Jack Kirby in what was the Marvel "house style" for a bit. Weird that it's actually done by Keith Giffen. Like George Perez, he's another guy who started out aping Kirby at Marvel, before developing his own distinctive style.
It's true that I generally don't care about creators (especially writers). Yet for whatever reason, "Defenders" seems to be a great playground for writers to really express themselves. The stories are more indicative of a writer than, say, the average issue of "Avengers".