The Defenders & Me
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.