The Defenders #1
“Diamonds Are Forever”
When things get tough, The Defenders get going… or something like that. A few moths before the premier of the Netflix Defenders series, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil are teaming up on the comic book page and it is actually a good start to the series. In The Defenders #1, our four heroes are attacked with one calling card left behind a few diamonds strew about on the ground, they converge to figure out who is behind these recent attacks. Jessica Jones has the answer and it seems an old enemy of Luke Cage is back from the dead and looking for vengeance— Diamondback! But why would he attack all four of them? He must have some ulterior motive to bring the wrath of these four heroes down upon him. It is time for our street level heroes to do what they do best: bust some heads and get information. Can the heroes find out why Diamondback would do this and stop his plan before it is to late?
Brian Michael Bendis does a fantastic job of starting off The Defenders #1. Now there is a “zero issue” that was released on free comic book day that gives a little bit more information leading up to this #1 issue that you might want to check out before diving into this series (you can download it for free on comixology here), but even without reading that Bendis does a great job of letting you know who these characters are and what is going on. In more of a non “Bendis” way he does not have a ton of dialogue in this issue except for a few pages and even in those it is not an over abundance. He leans heavily on the artist David Marquez to get a lot of the characters background information across with his art. Bendis does a great job of pulling the story in a different direction and really letting the characters shine in this new spotlight. There is also a little backup “story” with Ben Ulrich talking to Luke Cage that is mainly all text and it gives a little history on Cage and we get to see some great art work. I am sure at least the next three issues will have these backups featuring the other characters in the future. Adding this does make the $4.99 price tag a little bit better.
A stated earlier, David Marquez does a lot of storytelling with his art and man is it wonderful to look at. He has a very tight lined style and the characters look very realistic. Each character gets an individual scene with their name and and with events and characters in their past in the background. For example, for Daredevil it shows a young Matt Murdock getting a chemical spilled in his eyes, Bulls-eye and other figures from his past that really gives the reader a sense of history with each of these characters and it is a great piece of storytelling without having any dialogue. Marquez has some great panels, whether it is action or just people talking he sets up the scene well and his characters a marvelous to look at. Justin Ponsor does some really fun things with his colors in this Issue. When the team heads out to “beat the streets” for information about Diamondback, each character gets an individual panel again and Ponso splashes the background with their respective colors: purple for Jessica Jones, red for Daredevil, green for Iron Fist and Yellow for Luke Cage. It could come off as “corny” but the way he does makes the panels look really good and it is really just adds some great “energy” to this series.
Of course with the upcoming premier of The Defenders on Netflix marvel was going to release The Defenders #1with the same characters and title. It would be dumb not to. Now what they have to do is keep the reader interested and invested. I am not sure how this series fits in connection with the wider Marvel Universe and what is going on (it’s really best just not to think about it unless you want to be very confused) but on its own The Defenders #1 is a success and a great read.
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