By Rob Base
Even the D-team can become the A-team!
One comic series that I was always a huge fan of was The Defenders mainly because of Dr. Strange, the master of black magic. I’ve always felt that when reading a comic series like The Defenders that you were different. Who would read a comic series with a list of basically unknowns? With the exceptions of The Incredible hulk and Namor, The Defenders’ lineup was pretty minimal with the likes of Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hellcat, Gargoyle, Beast, Daimon Hellstrom and Power Man taking up the remainder of the team slots. This never bothered me. In fact, it made the comic book seems so unusual. The strength of this title has always been on “how do you run a superhero group without guys like Captain America or Ironman?”
Marvel’s newest incarnation of the group redefines what we once understood. So, what makes this book ready to read? First, it is written by Matt Fraction (The Invincible Iron Man, The Immortal Iron Fist Casanova, Uncanny X-Men) and drawn by Terry Dodson (Harley Quinn, Uncanny X-Men, Wonder Woman, vol. 3). This, to me, is a perfect matchup on its own. What was said about the new book is that Doctor Strange, Red She-Hulk, Namor, Hulk, the Silver Surfer and Iron Fist join forces with a number of other Marvel heroes on a globe-trotting, dimension-hopping adventure to stop an ancient conspiracy that threatens the unimaginable.
Does that explanation set up what we read in the first issue?
The first few pages show some messed up imagery and story that can only be said as “what if nightmares come true?” This sets the stage very quickly, wasting little to no time re-establishing the characters and getting right to the blunt of it. Doctor Strange is in bed after having a “Barney Stinson one wild-night stand!” These pages show Strange in a different light, seemingly complaisant and maybe even a little lost in his life. He, then, is approached by the Incredible Hulk, who comes to the aid of his former Defender allies. With this, Strange sets out to get his group together. This group brings back The Sub Mariner: Prince Namor and a very “Doctor Manhattan like” Silver Surfer. The rest of the group is filled with first timer Red She Hulk, and no group would be complete without Iron Fist. Even though it seems as if Iron Fist is being used for the super cool jet, he is in as the team heads off to Europe in search of Wundargore Mountain.
Issue #1 really brings back the old fashion team book. The premise of “we need to hook up, help stop the ghost of the Hulk” or something like that, and BAM superhero action a plenty. If I can be negative about anything is that the comic’s pacing seems a bit rushed, but is made up for by sheer wonderful dialogue and good ol’ non-stop action.
This book is a must buy. Comic book teams tend to be so convoluted nowadays that the Defenders seems like a breath of fresh air! Any book that has Doctor Strange as the leader of the group is a book that will always be on my buy list.