One of the Marvel Universe’s weirdest super-teams is back in this week’s Defenders #1, and they’re up against a threat none of them are prepared for … so, just another Tuesday.
Defenders #1 continues an arc that began in Marvel Comics #1000, where a new incarnation of an obscure character known as the Masked Raider was introduced. When the Raider arrives at Doctor Strange’s door seeking aid against a supernatural entity, the latter hastily summons a team of reserve Defenders for the precarious mission ahead: Raider, Strange, Betty Banner (currently known as Harpy), Silver Surfer, and Cloud. With the new Defenders assembled, they’re thrust through time and space to a pre-destruction Taa (homeworld of Galactus) to find none other than the mother of Galactus himself, Taaia. And they’ve arrived at just the right time, finding themselves at the mercy of Omnimax the Devourer.
(You’ve probably figured out by now that none of this has anything to do with the other Defenders, who were inspired by the now-defunct Netflix franchise. They should do a cheeky little crossover with the classic Defenders sometime.)
Defenders #1 is definitely not for the casual reader, I’ll say that. It’s full of cosmic Marvel weirdness that will put some readers off almost instantly if they’re not used to this style of storytelling. But if you’re someone who can roll with that sort of thing, then you’ll probably dig this issue and what it sets up for the rest of the run. It probably comes as no surprise that Al Ewing is behind this story, since he typically excels with big weird ideas (see also: last week’s Guardians of the Galaxy annual). I’m generally onboard for whatever gonzo concepts Ewing can think up, but YMMV as always.
And even with Ewing’s caliber of plotting, Javier Rodríguez matches and possibly even exceeds what he brings to this issue with tremendous visuals. I’m not surprised to see great art from him, but his retro pulpy art style is perfect for Defenders, and it seamlessly conveys the script through clever panel composition. His last big project, History of the Marvel Universe, pushed that angle a bit further than he does here, but it’s hardly something I would level as a complaint. Frequent collaborator Álvaro López’s inks are also worth a mention, as they really give Rodríguez’s pencils a graphic quality that leads to some lovely contrast in the colors and linework.
- Writer: Al Ewing
- Artists: Javier Rodríguez (penciler), Álvaro López (inker)
- Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
- Cover Artists: Javier Rodríguez, Álvaro López
- Editors: Wil Moss, Sarah Brunstad
- Publisher: Marvel Entertainment