23rd Jun2017

‘The Defenders #1′ Review

by Dan Clark

Written by Brian Michael Bendis | Art by David Marquez | Published by Marvel Comics

TheDefenders001_Cov

Marvel can seemingly never get their timing right when it comes to the Netflix series obvious tie-ins. Recently both the Luke Cage and Jessica Jones solo series came out long after their Netflix shows debuted, and now Defenders is being released months before the show hits. Clearly Marvel is hoping this will allow for the first trade to be released right around the time people first start watching the show. Knowing Marvel’s uncanny knack for delays who knows if that will actually happen.

This Defender’s universe has slowly been building throughout this year. Daredevil and Jessica Jones had their books deep in their run and then this year we got the debuts of Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Bullseye, Electra, Kingpin, and now finally The Defenders. Not all these books will directly tie to one another but do help in shaping the more grounded street level side of the Marvel universe.

Tonally this has the most in common with Brian Michael Bendis’s current Jessica Jones series. It does not carry the mature label but it is delving into some more adult topics like drugs and gang level violence. Clearly, they were attempting to recapture much of what made the Netflix shwos such a popular and critical success.

As often is the case with number one issues for team books this is your standard version of getting the band back together. Diamondback is back from the dead and reeking havoc on the city streets. Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones have found out Diamondback has returned the hard way as each was attacked in broad daylight. Concerned with how daring these attacks are they all team up to track down Diamondback before he gets the chance to strike again.

There are certain characters Brian Michael Bendis was born to write and nearly all of them are in this series. I know many have grown tired of his style, and Marvel did put him on way too many series. His name may not mean what it once did for a book, but he has been kicking some major butt this past year. Jessica Jones and Iron Man have been two of Marvel’s best titles and this adds another to his growing list of great books. All these characters already have an established familiarity with one another so all Bendis had to do was restart that button. The book is not without its faults. Giving Diamondback a calling card of leaving diamonds on his victims is unnecessarily cheesy and out of place. There is a chance it is a move that has greater meaning, currently it feels like something a generic James Bond villain would do.

When David Marquez was told he was drawing this book Marvel defiantly advised him to be heavily influenced by the Netflix series. He avoids the sin of photo referencing as characters like Luke Cage and Jessica Jones resemble their current real life counterparts without looking like photo recreations. The character introductions were fantastic as each was given their own title card when they first appeared on screen. Maybe it is a little on the nose but it made the appearance of each character feel super important and I could see blowing up each of those panels to make some great looking posters.

Sometimes a book just feels right and that is the case with The Defenders. My excitement for The Defenders Netflix series took a hit due to the failure of Iron Fist. Reading this though I can see the amazing potential a story can have when these characters come together. Hopefully whoever is making that show was given this comic with the straightforward direction of ‘Do This’, because this is the type of story that could work in any medium.

**** 4/5

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