Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Defenders & Me

I can’t believe it’s not Formerly Known as the Justice League. No, instead, it’s the Defenders. And these are the blatant Defenders, not your Secret Defenders Ultra-Dry: Strong Enough for a Man, but Made for a Valkyrie or whatever the hell that series was. Anyway, it’s by Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire. If you need to know more before you buy it, you must’ve missed out on some awesome Justice League comics back in the day.

So, like, the Defenders have been around for a while, and their gimmick is that they’re a “non-team,” which seems to translate into “they’re a team of misfit superheroes that don’t fit on other teams,” or “an excuse to put Hulk, Namor, Dr. Strange, and the Silver Surfer in a comic together.” I only own two issues of Defenders besides this one. One is Defenders #100 or something, I don’t remember. The other is some issue of Secret Defenders. So you may have guessed I’m not much of a fan of the concept.

In fact, I only bought this because of the creative team. I loved their Justice League, and so I was determined to pick up their Defenders. It’s also the only recent comic single I’ve read, so you get to hear me talk about it. After all, it’s way too late to tell you about how much I liked Klarion #2 or if I thought Thor #433 was good. (I haven’t actually gotten around to the latter yet, nor have I read a good handful of other Thor back issues I picked up... I was busy reading my latest Amazon order, which is enough good material for a future post).

So, the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Defenders is very similar to the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League. The first bit, which is the most obvious, is that it’s a humor comic. Yes, this will turn off hardcore Defenders fans, but those of us who buy comics because of the creative teams should enjoy this issue. It’s loaded with the usual wacky banter, only more sardonic in nature. It’s also got the lovely and fluid art of Kevin Maguire, who draws the best and most varied facial expressions in comics.


This issue is all set-up, showing us the threat (Dormammu and his sis) and gathering the team. It’s a jam-packed and dense issue, loaded with dialogue and crammed with a few twelve-panel pages. Decompressed this ain’t.

It does, perhaps, read like thinly-veiled Justice League. Dormammu is Manga Khan, Dr. Strange is J’onn J’onzz, Bruce Banner is a sarcastic Ted Kord, and, I suspect, Hulk will be a lot like Big Sir. Et cetera. Of course, I expected this, and so I can’t say I mind.

If you’re one of those comic readers who thinks Dr. Strange should be portrayed utterly seriously all the time, this isn’t for you. I, however, got some chuckles out of it, and enjoyed it a great deal. I’ll be back for the next one. 8/10.


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5 Comments:

Blogger Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

As an old school Defenders fan, I thought this was a lot of fun. Though I have to admit the Giffen/DeMatteis formula has gotten a tad predictable all these years later.

7/25/2005 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

The predictability of the comic is a reasonable complaint.

I enjoyed it, but yeah, it was pretty much exactly what we thought it would be.

7/25/2005 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger zilla said...

i love the cast and this mini should make for a rereadable trade. the bit about silver surfer finding solace w/ beach bums was a bit overdone IMO ;)

7/25/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Dizzy said...

The first bit, which is the most obvious, is that it’s a humor comic. Yes, this will turn off hardcore Defenders fans, but those of us who buy comics because of the creative teams should enjoy this issue.

Comedy is nothing new for a team that faced such foes as the Headmen and the team-up of Sitting Bullseye, Tillie the Hun, The Spanker, Black Hole and Dr. Angst (in the pages of Howard the Duck).

7/26/2005 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

The difference, Dizzy, is that the humor of the past was putting serious heroes into idiotic, funny situations.

In the current mini-series, they are making fun of the Defenders THEMSELVES.

7/27/2005 08:26:00 PM  

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