Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Review: Defenders #3


I loved Defenders #3 -- and I didn’t.

I know, I know. But that quizzical line review seems to fit the up-and-down nature of everyone’s favorite non-team revival these days.

First, I love the concept of The Defenders and have since the “Titans Three” arc of Sub-Mariner which originally spawned the notion. I love the direction in which writer Matt Fraction is headed, as he gives voice not only to his heroes and villains but presents us old timers with the “yellow box” narrator of all those fine 1960s-1990 Marvel stories. This I like!

BUT – Since the Hulk asked Doc & Co. to handle Nul, this issue seems to have really robbed readers of any chance to see or really know who this “breaker of worlds” truly is. Nul’s character is never developed by Fraction and he seems to become less and less important to the story as Prester John and the New Men become the chief adversaries here. With Nul receiving a seemingly permanent fate this issue, it seems all hopes of this “Black Hulk” developing into something more are thoroughly shattered. This I didn’t like!

No one, it seems, handles changing styles of story mood and reality like artist Terry Dodson, and his pencil work really shines in this issue. When Nul starts pounding on the gateway, the shots of the Defenders' costumes changing through each ripple in reality is a visual delight. That is The Defenders and Dodson at their best. This I like!

BUT -- At times Dodson’s layouts are too cramped and hurt the flow of the story on that given page. Dodson seems to alternate between shots that are too far away and shots that are zoomed so far into the character’s face that you lose the dramatic flair that he was going for. Shades of ye olde Gil Kane covers! This I didn’t like.

Overall, I enjoyed this first arc in what Fraction promises to be a long-term tale of the Marvel U., especially #1. The Defenders is still on my pull list, one of the few Marvel titles left.

Matt, Terry: Let’s try to keep it that way, OK?