Writer: Al Ewing
Art: Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, VC’s Joe Caramagna, VC’s Cory Petit, and Jay Bowen
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 11th, 2021
When all reality confronts an incredibly new, out-of-this-world danger threatening the very fabric of time and space, it requires a group of “Crack Commandos”! Now, this group may not be “Soldiers of Fortune” BUT they have worked together before to thwart Cosmic and Universal threats of epic proportions. So, if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team… sorry…THE DEFENDERS! Let’s dive into DEFENDERS #1 by Al Ewing and Javier Rodriguez as DOCTOR STRANGE and the Masked Raider commandeer a crew of Marvel’s strangest, most sensational heroes to expose the mysterious foundation of reality itself!
The question I asked myself was while reading was, isn’t DOCTOR STRANGE going to die soon? Marvel has been pushing the DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE for months now leaving this reviewer to wonder about the relationship to this book right here and now. Are the two connected? Truth be told, you’ll get absolutely no inkling this week. However, readers will get a rather confusing, over-the-top, deep diatribe from the Sorcerer Supreme as he conjures this new DEFENDERS team together.
Moreover, an extra layer of commotion shapes Ewing’s story as Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez’s illustrations and colors distort pages and panels specifically surrounding the mystic arts. Upside down panels, smoke cascading across pages, lightning bolts and spell designs cluttered panels drawing my eyes all over the page in an almost chaotic fashion. Extremely bright colors mixed around dark backgrounds masked with DNA helixes and tarot cards didn’t help make the story clear and easy to follow. I strongly recommend giving this issue of DEFENDERS two or even three reads before affirming any opinions.
Now, I understand this creative team’s intent. DEFENDERS is a comic dealing with sorcery, mystic arts, space and time, and cosmic beings. Therefore, making the images seem almost surreal could help add that extra, almost cerebral layer to the story rendering the issue even more mysterious and clandestine. However, Joe Caramagna lettering mixed with Cory Petit’s design caused this reader to struggle to make heads or tails of what eventually appeared to be a rather straightforward opening installment.
Ultimately, after being confronted by the Masked Raider, DOCTOR STRANGE uses magic to force a band of heroes together to stop a big bad messing with time. Now, the most creative and fascinating aspect of this issue is where the story will eventually take place, as well as the recent comics Ewing is connecting to it. References to MARVEL COMICS #1000 and Korvac in IRON MAN intrigued this reviewer causing me to look back at the references to see the connections. Plus, the cliffhanger as this issue of DEFENDERS concludes makes for an interesting turn of events that truly has enticed me to stick around for at least another issue regardless of the disorganized artistic style.
DEFENDERS #1 wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. Yet, it still provides enough of a spark to lure me in for one more issue. For readers in love with an almost surreal artistic take on the Sorcerer Supreme as well as a clutter of mystic terminology that bogged down the issue, then DEFENDERS #1 is right of your alley. This opening installment does do a well enough job getting the story moving while putting the players on the board quickly. After one issue, THE DEFENDERS are ready to rock and appear to be at the heart of the action for issue two. If you’re a DOCTOR STRANGE fan, I’d dive into this series to get your fix. However, Red Harpy or SILVER SURFER fans should be warned that they appear to have little to do or say in this issue. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God bless!