July 24, 2012

Review: The Defenders Trade Paperback

The Defenders has always been that special kind of team that finds itself caught between The Avengers and mutant teams of the Marvel Universe.

While never being truly a team in it's past incarnations, several mainstays from past decades such as Namor and Dr. Strange make their appearances again in the new series by writer Matt Fraction and artist Terry Dodson. Spinning out of Fear Itself issue 7, Fraction has The Hulk gathering together this new team again, consisting of additional members Silver Surfer, Red She-Hulk and Iron Fist. Recently collected in a trade paperback edition, readers will enjoy the first six issues of the new series with a generous addition of bonus features.

 Fraction initially starts the series off with the team trying to stop Nul The Breaker of Worlds with his rampage but also delivers another engaging storyline with the mystery of The Concordance Engine. Moreover, Fraction spans deep into the history of the Marvel Universe with this initial story arc, delving into the lives of Namor and especially Iron Fist. There are several stories within the collection that shines the spotlight on team members Dr. Strange, Namor and Iron Fist, which for me, were the best parts of the series.

Furthermore, Fraction's adventures for the team take them from exciting locales such as Wundagore in the beginning of the arc and down into ocean depths as the story progresses, all the while the mystery of The Concordance Engine deepens. The dialogue is enjoyable and team chemistry is nicely done here.

The artistic duties by Terry Dodson and many issue-specific talents have been magnificent as well, providing panel after panel of non-stop action. While the cover for the collection could have been done better or differently, it's the interiors that irritate me. I wished the trades department had moved the advertisements to the rear of the book rather than splatter them once you open it. Readers will enjoy some wonderful variant covers, concept artwork, a feature on Fraction and Dodson discussing the team members and more content.

Final Verdict: A

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