If you are counting the classic Avengers who may figure into Jonathan Hickman’s “18 or so” when he begins his bi-weekly run on that relaunched mag in December, don’t count on T’Challa, aka the Black Panther -- at least from this Defenders story which seems to kill off the King of Wakanda and recent dread knight of Hell’s Kitchen, NY.
Matt Fraction really knows how to take the old-school Marvel flare, something missing seemingly from the rest of today’s House of Ideas, and spin a perfectly quirky story in the vein of Englehart and Gerber. Thus the lone survivor of a former team that interacted with the Concordance Engine, the great Prince of Orphans, has suddenly become a villain and has murdered most of the Immortal Weapons.
This issue is a great fight issue, with all Defenders save the Silver Surfer succumbing to the Green Mist of Death. I never liked those issues of Black Panther done by King Kirby because it squashed the beautiful African Experience being told by Don McGregor. But I do remember those stupid Frog Idols and I love that Fraction has worked them into this story. What a perfect way to bring in the Black Cat, who is here to steal the Prince’s treasures but becomes mistaken for a Defender!
The art of newcomer Jamie McKelvie continues the wonderfully quirky style of the Dodsons (who handle the cover for this ish) and I would not mind at all seeing him take their place, if that is what the fates may be.
This issue and this magazine are so special to me and other fans of 1970s Marvel. I sincerely hope it does not get destroyed by plans for Red She-Hulk in Marvel