Author Matt Fraction, Illustrations by Jaimie McKelvie, Mirco Pierfederici, Terry Dodson
This is Defenders by Matt Fraction. Not to be confused with The Defenders. I say that because I think I initially put it on my to read list thinking it would involve Jessica Jones, it does not.
I typically like Matt Fraction’s writing, and I loved his take on Iron Fist so seeing him take up this weird team of heroes definitely had potential. Unfortunately, Defenders is an absolute mess.
The core team starts with Iron Fist, Dr. Strange, Namor, Silver Surfer, and Red She Hulk. Who the eff is Red She Hulk? I didn’t know either. She was apparently Bruce Banner’s wife Betty at some point. Weirdly, she became my favorite part of this bad book.
This panel basically sums up why.
So this odd team of heroes is given a quest by regular Hulk. They need to defeat nega-hulk or Nul Breaker of Worlds.
So basically, a lot of stuff happens but I’m unsure of what most of it was. It becomes a very confusing cluster jam of way too many characters, too many perspectives, a wish machine you can’t talk about, and by the end it’s all voided anyway with time travel so who cares.
Each issue switches whose inner monologue is the narrator. Color coding helps us keep track but it does not make the story easier to follow. Additionally, there are huge chunks of time where none of the core team are actually together in any way.
Throughout the run many other characters get brought in to the fight. Including but not limited to: Black Cat, Nick Fury (in the 60s in a parallel universe and something to do with Hitler?), Ant Man, Shuri, and Black Panther who dies I guess?!
It’s really bizarre to me that a run would just casual kill off Black Panther. What the heck is going on here?
On top of all the confusion, I didn’t actually like most of the characters and the way they were displayed. Especially Dr. Strange. He reminded me a lot of Fraction’s Iron Man, who I also despised. Betty says it best:
This book was just a mess. Fraction usually does so much better. I’m not giving it one star though just for the fact that the art and formatting are on point. That was never confusing. Also I enjoyed discovering Red She Hulk and might have to find more of her.
However, I do not recommend this book unless you really like some of these characters and have to read ’em all. Or unless you like confusing time travel plots and trying to unravel when in time and space a team of heroes is. Then maybe this one is for you.
2/5 in a whirlwind of confusions 😵😵
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Buy Volume 1 here: Defenders by Matt Fraction – Volume 1
Buy Volume 2 here: Defenders by Matt Fraction – Volume 2