Writers: Al Ewing
Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Cover Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The greater cosmos of the literal Marvel Universe is under threat once again, and a new team of the Defenders has been formed to save it! Not those Defenders, the first team of Defenders. However, before they can confront this new threat, the plucky band of reluctant heroes find themselves face-to-face with an old friend – The Beyonder! In Defenders: Beyond #2, see how the team escapes the clutches of the Beyonder and his people.
This issue is far better than the first issue. Al Ewing is on a roll when it comes to writing stories in Marvel Comics that have ties to the cosmic side of the literal Marvel universe. S.W.O.R.D., U.S. Avengers, The Ultimates & Ultimates 2, and even Immortal Hulk of all books. And things came to a head with his last Defenders: There Are No Rules series, and now he’s doing the same with Defenders: Beyond as the new team take on the Beyonder.
Now, for those who aren’t familiar with the Beyonder or his people (also called the Beyonders), don’t worry, the comic provides everything you need to know. Thanks in no small part to Javier Rodriguez’s art that makes the recap of the Beyonder and his people very entertaining and eye-catching. Long story short, the Beyonder and his people are like Q and the Q Continuum from Star Trek only more villainous by comparison. The Defenders find themselves in a tight situation as the Beyonders hold them captive while preparing to execute their plot.
After the introductions and recap, the action starts, things get surreal, and the story leads the Defenders to the next cosmic hill they have to climb. What works so well is how Al Ewing finds a way to essentially streamline everything about the cosmic origins of both the Marvel cosmos, the Beyonders species, and even the Beyonder we know in a tangible way. The Beyonder kind of steals the show here as Ewing gives him a personality in-line with his past appearances in the Secret Wars 2 series, and makes him distinguished among the other members of his people, who are rather plain cosmic beings.
Now, there are some downsides to this comic. As I said, the other Beyonders look pretty unimpressive especially when they have more alien forms shown in the recap. Also, the action is a bit of a letdown. When the Defenders engage with the Beyonders, it’s sadly underwhelming. Not because of Rodriguez’s art, rather the action itself doesn’t take full advantage of the Beyonder’s powers or Rodriguez’s art style as the Defenders engage the Beyonders. Speaking of the Defenders, how they get out of this is similarly underwhelming, considering how powerful the Beyonder and his people are as the comic reminds you. Plus, half the team were pretty much useless other than annoying the Beyonders (Loki) or providing obvious commentary on things, specifically Tigra and Taaia.
However, the comic leaves things on a very interesting note and easily sets up what the next big problem will be in the third issue. It also helps that the Beyonder is going to be sticking around a little longer, hopefully all the way through to the end of this series.
Defenders: Beyond #2 brings back the Beyonder and his people in full form. Al Ewing manages to streamline the history and nature of the Beyonder and his species in the wider Marvel cosmos. The Beyonder himself kind of steals the show as he’s given a distinct voice, look, and personality to match. The art by Javier Rodriguez is great at delivering the more surreal environments the Defenders find themselves in, and it’s not half bad when the action starts.