There are groups of heroes that if you found yourself in a pickle you’d surely want to ride to the rescue. And there are groups whose arrival would fill you with dread by making you realize that things have gone from bad to worse. In a nutshell, that’s the difference between the Avengers and the Defenders.
The new team reunites three of the original members (Doctor Strange, Namor, the Silver Surfer) with Red She-Hulk (who may, or may not just be going by She-Hulk now?), and Iron Fist. At the request of the Hulk, the team comes together to fight a Black Hulk called Nul: The Breaker of Worlds.
Their quest leads them to Wundagore Mountain, who Strange informs us is “Dr. Moreau’s Island made flesh.” On the top of the island the team will face challenges in an attempt to save the world from the impossible.
Although the concept of another Hulk certainly doesn’t appeal to me, it does present a situation that allows these characters to be brought together. The comic may be pretty light on action (except for a mostly forgettable fight sequence between Iron Fist and an assassin) writer Matt Fraction provides some humorous personal moments such as Doctor Strange’s ill-ease after spending the night with a young graduate student.
There’s much to enjoy in this first issue but I do have a couple of complaints. I’m not sold on the art by Terry Dodson. Some of the character designs just look a little off to me, specifically the look of the Hulk. I’m also not pleased with another T-1000 version of the Surfer than seems to melt into things. He’s not made of liquid metal, he’s coated in Adamantium.
As a first issue of The Defenders works well by introducing us to the various members and providing a threat reasonable (if admittedly kind of dumb) enough to force them together. Still, it’s got some funny bits and the Silver Surfer, which should be enough to get me to buy the next issue or two. However, unless the threat of the month, the art, (or preferably both) improve in the next couple of months, I’m not sure how long I’ll stay with this version of The Defenders.