3 min read


These guys only appear in one issue of The Defenders, back in 1973.

They don’t have a clear name in the story, so let’s call them the “mega-gnomes”. Look, it’s distinctive, right ?

As a random remark, Defenders is a good title to find very powerful enemies. Since, with the core roster, the stories need guys who can oppose Dr. Strange, the Silver Surfer, Namor and the Hulk.


Powers & Abilities

These are gnomes in the sense of “earth elemental”, not in the D&D sense. Or the garden one. So, they’re living rocks.

However, Temax and his colleagues were far larger, and *far* more powerful, than normal gnomes are. Even Doctor Stephen Strange had never seen anything like that.

The “mega-gnomes” :

  • Are twice as large as a man, yet capable of sneaking around.
  • Are invulnerable. Even Hulk’s fists, Strange’s eldritch bolts or the Silver Surfer’s power cosmic didn’t inflict any damage. It is possible that the Ebony Blade could inflict damage, but it’s not clear.
  • Have “Class 100” strength. They were clearly stronger than the Hulk.
  • Are superb unarmed fighters, and way faster than they look. Even elite fighters such as the Valkyrie (Brunnhilde) or the Black Knight (Dane Whitman) were quickly overwhelmed.
  • Could not speak, but seemed to understand both Modern English – and XIIth Century Arabic as spoken by the Ayyubid military. One assumes that they can magically understand any language spoken on (and within) Earth.

However, like the Wicked Witch, they dissolve when exposed to water.

Temax and gnomes - Marvel Comics - Defenders - vs Dr Strange and Silver Surfer


These creatures were conjured during the Third Crusade (1189-1192) by a powerful wizard named Chandu. One was named Temax.

My impression is that Chandu was around because he had been hired by a returning Mordred the Evil, of Arthurian fame.

Mordred had been plotting with John, the traitorous brother of King Richard I of England (a.k.a. The Lionheart). And the pair, plus Chandu, had allied with Saladin (Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf).

With Chandu’s conjurations, the Crusaders were defeated and King Richard captured. John would thus be able to take the throne.


The Defenders then time-travelled in. They were here to contact the Black Knight (Dane Withman), who had been living in the late 1100s for magical reasons.

The Defenders tried to help Whitman free Richard, but the “mega-gnomes” defeated them.

Namor knocked out Chandu, who was summoning more gnomes. That didn’t help that much, but the Submariner then stumbled upon the creatures’ vulnerability. He flooded the tower, destroying the “mega-gnomes”.

Temax and gnomes - Marvel Comics - Defenders - vs Black Knight


They seem soldier-like. They follow orders, and attack with power and speed.

The gnomes aren’t stupid. If spotting intruders in the night, one will sneakily leave to warn others (by… miming, I guess) and come back with other gnomes.

DC Heroes RPG

Generic “mega-gnome”

Dex: 07 Str: 20 Bod: 22
Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 05
Inf: 05 Aur: 03 Spi: 05
Init: 014 HP: 020


Comprehend Languages: 20, Growth: 02, Magic field: 05, Ultra-vision: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Comprehend Languages is likely limited to wot’s spoken on and within Earth.
  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored in.
  • Magic field is Self Only and is Always On.
  • Ultra-Vision is Darkness Only.


Thief (Stealth): 05


None demonstrated.


None demonstrated.


SPR (Cannot form language), Fatal Vulnerability (Water, 0 APs Range, up to 12 RAPs per Phase of exposure depending on quantity).




It’s elemental.



Writeups.org writer avatar Sébastien Andrivet

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: The Defenders Vol. 1 #11.

Writeup completed on the 25th of June, 2021.