Author Brian Michael Bendis, Illustrations David Marquez
This is the spoiler full review of Defenders by Brian Michael Bendis. If you would prefer to stay spoiler free but still want to read about how Luke Cage steals the show then please visit here.
This run of Defenders came out around the same time that the Netflix series of these heroes were becoming very popular. I was a huge fan of the shows, except for Iron Fist of course, no one liked that one. It would have been very easy for this run to be a throwaway just to capitalize on the shows’ popularity. But Brian Michael Bendis doesn’t do throwaways.
The Defenders are Iron Fist, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Luke Cage really is the star of this book. Being both incredibly and sweetly human and incredibly strong, both emotionally and physically.
The main baddy of this run is Diamondback. He’s returned from the dead and he’s brought a new drug with him that he plans on selling in Harlem and beyond in order to become the new crime boss in town.
He starts with a bang by shooting Jessica Jones for nosing around his business. As her partner both in crime fighting and in family matters Luke Cage is enraged by this.
Diamondback needs Cage out of the picture but he can’t just shoot his impenetrable skin so he poisons him. He happens to do this in front of sometimes villain Black Cat. She rushes Cage to the Night Nurse for help.
Blade of all people makes a cameo with an antidote to the poison. There will be many cameos in this book. They are mostly fun, at least for Marvel fans who will recognize them.
Cage, Fist, and DD go after Diamondback but he gets away when Punisher appears and shoots absolutely everyone. As always, Punisher has different goals than everyone else and works alone.
Cage has double motives to get Diamondback since Diamondback was the one who put Cage in prison back before he had his powers. Punisher is trying to get to him first because he doesn’t want to risk DD just putting him in jail. They will never not have this fight.
Iron Fist, aka Danny Rand, and Jones manage to get Diamondback arrested for the drugs. So Punisher gets himself arrested so they can be transported together.
Throughout the whole book, my favorite Marvel reporter, Ben Urich, is reporting. He serves as a fancy way of giving the recaps at the beginning of each issue. I just have to say that because I love the way Bendis writes him and I always get excited when he gets a starring role in a series.
Diamondback escapes the prison transfer thanks to Punisher’s general recklessness. He immediately goes to shoot Black Cat a whole bunch. She manages to not die, just get hospitalized.
It is revealed that Diamondback intends on taking on the role of Kingpin and has the OG Kingpin Fisk backing him all the way.
Jones decides they need backup and calls in a favor. From Deadpool. A wildcard if there ever was one.
Bringing in another cameo we get my main gal Elektra, hired to assassinate Diamondback. But she also gets a steller fight with Iron Fist.
The Hood comes into the picture and wants to set up Kingpins in every territory. The Defenders shut this down and end the book by calling in every single connection any of them has. It takes the entire super populace of New York but The Hood and Diamondback will not advance further than this. At least this time.
The plot boils down to the basics but there is no denying that this run is a lot of fun, especially for Marvel fans. These characters play well off of each other. Cage brings a heart to the very serious Jones and DD, Iron Fist even manages to serve a purpose without looking like a total fool.
The issue with Deadpool becomes 100% a Deadpool comic but the levity is nice to break up the seriousness of the drama.
If you enjoyed any of the shows this book will not be a disappointment. It’s also a good team comic with a team that is smaller and more manageable. Four main characters are a lot easier to track than all of the X-Men or Avengers or whatever other groups of heroes there are.
Above all else, enjoy getting to see Luke Cage in the leadership role he was always meant to have. Sorry Daredevil, Cage is in charge now.
4/5 devils of hell’s kitchen 😈😈😈😈
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