- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Any scene involving Gerber's infamous Elf with a Gun.
- Broken Base:
- The Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire revival in 2005 has acquired a mixed reputation. On the one hand, fans of that creative team bought it up, making it one of the few successful attempts to revive the franchise since the 1970s. On the other hand, the miniseries' comedic approached rubbed some longtime fans the wrong way, especially when it turned Umar - canonically one of the most powerful villainesses in the Marvel universe - into a sex-starved diva who blows off Dormammu's big plan to reshape the universe in his image in order to have sex with the Hulk, which has rendered her all but unusable to subsequent writers, because nobody sees her as a serious threat anymore.
- The announcement that Marvel would be launching a new Defenders book starring the characters from the TV show. Among fans of the Defenders comics, both the show and the comic it inspired have the same problem: They have nothing to do with any past iteration of the team other than sharing a name. Those who don't mind the title being recycled argue that it isn't really a loss, since all of Marvel's prior attempts at a classic Defenders revival have failed miserably.
- Fanon Discontinuity: All Elf With A Gun appearances that were not written by Steve Gerber, including the pay-off to the whole thing where it was revealed that the Elf was killing off nexus people who were a threat to the stability of the timeline and that the elf was part of a larger group of elves that were trying to stave off an apocalypse that would occur if the founding four Defenders stayed together. (Though even in-universe it's debatable if they were truly related to the Elf at all.)
- Hilarious in Hindsight: At one point the team had Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, as a member at the same time as Devil-Slayer.
- Bendis's controversial revamp of the Avengers has been denounced as him basically taking the Avengers and turning it into the Defenders. This was acknowledged by Bendis himself several years into his run, when he had Nighthawk say "Clearly you guys are the Defenders," during a period when the team consisted of Wolverine, the Thing, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Doctor Strange, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, and Squirrel Girl.
- In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Dr. Strange would mention plans to put together an all-female Defenders team. Three years later...
- My Real Daddy: Steve Gerber.
- Narm: From 2017 series, Danny Rand's dialogue with the Kingpin can come off as this to some considering Danny is cannonically in his 30's and comes of as he is trying to sound like a millenial.
Fisk: I never see you at this types of things.
Danny: Because I literally hate them. And I don't hate. I'm chi-focused like that.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The 'Val in Valhalla' arc, where a shunned Asgardian named Ollerus tries to take over Valhalla and uses a fake Valkyrie to dupe the Defenders into helping him. A letter in issue 73 asked why the story had a great set-up but was ultimately underwhelming, and it was a case of Real Life Writes the Plot: writer David Kraft was leaving Marvel having only delivered the first part of this arc, and as the deadline came closer, it forced penciler Ed Hannigan to get Kraft's notes and work out a plot of sorts.