Have you ever been so excited about something you practically couldn’t contain yourself while you waited for it? That’s how I feel about The Defenders. David Marquez has made every panel feel dynamic, cinematic or just downright awesome in every issue of this series. Then you have Brian Michael Bendis writing these characters with clear voices and fun dynamics. Need I say more?
So what’s it about?
Why does this book matter?
This is a primo title for no other reason than the hype surrounding Netflix’s upcoming Defenders show. And on the comic book side, both creators are at the top of their game. It’s also a series that aims to get readers into the street level of crime fighting, which is a nice respite considering Secret Empire and all these events are an overload.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Drop everything and buy this issue. Seriously, and get the last two as well. This book is so flipping good–you’ll be riveted with every panel, turning each page wanting the next one, and loving every minute of the experience. Opening with Diamondback meeting with Black Cat, Bendis and Marquez let the reader in on the character who has so far been rather mysterious. Black Cat explains herself in regards to not killing Luke Cage (read: he’s a good chap) and the whole scene devolves into a fight scene. A really good one. From there, the issue transports you along with characters who talk to one another like old friends in a natural way. The story ends up weaving Punisher in quite well–in a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it sort of way–which allows the issue to end on some great action. Oh, and the use of these characters, splitting them up, is used very well by the end. Make sure to hold your jaw closed folks, the cliffhanger will have you losing your mind!
And that doesn’t even mention a fantastic montage that plays out over four pages told via six panel layouts. It’s a clever way to introduce readers to Diamondback and Luke Cage’s past told via New Yorkers and characters we’ve seen before in each panel. I read this scene with fast paced music that’d be perfect for a Guy Ritchie film in mind because–while each character talks quite a bit–each panel shifts and changes the scene carrying forward the dialogue in a riveting sort of way.
Each panel is just so great.
Marquez positively kills it on this book too. Man, if this guy doesn’t win some kind of award for this story arc I don’t know what he’d need to do to win someone over. From the highly dynamic poses and action to subtle head tilts, Marquez is a master at character acting and conveying the smallest of details that mean the biggest of things. The book is so damn pretty and uses shadow very well (a must for any street level hero book) to the point where it’s practically inventing new ways to use black in a comic book.
Colorist Justin Ponsor delights, especially in the opening scene with the use of a bright yellow light behind Black Cat that borders her well and captures the goodness in her words. That color helps make a panel incredibly complex too. Just look at the panel above, which uses the yellow light on the left to draw your eye. Oh, and don’t miss the energy Marquez infuses into Black Cat’s pose there either.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The only drawback I can see is if you didn’t read the last two issues you’ll be a bit lost. That said, that’s on you.
Is It Good?
From the dynamic art to the excellent dialogue, this book grabs you and you’ll never want to leave its embrace.