Last month, Marvel gave us our first look at the new Defenders series as a back-up feature to the Free Comic Book Day edition of Secret Empire. And this week, Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez introduce us to the full cast of this street-level vigilante superteam. Marvel Studios continues to hold sway, which is why this Defenders squad is unlike any team of that name that we’ve seen in the comics (a Defenders team with no Strange seems odd). But right away, you can tell that Bendis is driven by more than just the typical company mandate that resulted in phoned-in Guardians of the Galaxy comics or the tedious Civil War II. Bendis is here because he loves these characters. And if the story doesn’t convince you, his afterword says, in no uncertain terms: “I love Daredevil so much.”
He also reminds us that he created Jessica Jones, has had a perennial crush on Luke Cage, and even took an opportunity to develop the Iron Fist mythology when Brubaker and Fraction weren’t looking. So this is clearly something he’s excited about. Marquez is onboard too; those bold, logo-draped character entrances give Bendis’s quick cuts and fluid dialogue a 70’s-style cinematic beat. You can almost hear the horns and bassline when Luke Cage strolls up carrying five dozen sandwiches.
Continue reading The Defenders
Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins
Iron Fist #1 begins the way every Iron Fist story should, with Danny Rand recklessly throwing his fists in his search for something deeper. The book also uses first person narration in a similar way to the original incarnation of the series, which featured second person narration as a means of placing the reader in Danny Rand’s shoes. While “heroes without their powers” stories are not always spectacular, especially since they often lack the action of a traditional story, this book feels like the beginning of a promising journey for Danny. The colorful and gritty art also helps sell a martial arts world that, while somewhat dark, is also full of strange characters. Lastly, any Iron Fist book that uses the narration to accurately call each of Danny Rand’s expert techniques is fine by me. Iron Fist #1 Upward Cannon Punches and Tiger Tail Sweeps its way to success, even if it isn’t the most exciting book on the Marvel NOW roster. – IP
Better than the PM&IF book. Formulaic, but fun. I’m in for now. Brisson’s writing has potential, and Perkins’s grittiness gives this kung-fu epic the appropriate 70’s vibe. – MMDG
First collection: Iron Fist, Vol. 1: The Gauntlet (October)
Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood
beginning with #10
First off, Greg Smallwood’s layouts and Jordie Bellaire’s colors make this one trippy book. Delving into a character’s broken mind is something that comic books are very good at depicting. I already feel very into learning more about Marc’s fractured psyche and his quest to find out what is real and what isn’t. Lemire makes me want to read the next issue. – MeanOldPig
Collection: Moon Knight, Vol. 3: Birth and Death (October)
Continue reading Ranking Marvel NOW! 15 – 6
In this new heroic age of superpowered entertainment, I’ve begrudgingly accepted the fact that Hollywood is now driving the bus. Characters I’ve known and loved for decades have undergone some subtle and some not-so-subtle transformations in recent years, as the origin stories and personality traits developed onscreen work to inform their comic book identities. I’ve made peace with it. I like this world we’re living in, and I appreciate the fact that, given movies like this month’s Logan, folks are finally starting to realize that “superhero” isn’t a genre unto itself. Superpowers are a tool, not unlike science-fiction tropes or fantasy archetypes, that are being used to tell lots of different stories and to explore many different themes. It’s a fun time to be a comic book fan.
And I appreciate the fact that so many of Netflix’s MCU shows have been so damn good that we expect big things from their new Iron Fist series. But what happens when the show doesn’t live up to expectations? If Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange had been lousy, would Marvel have yanked Jason Aaron from the monthly series? Would we never have seen the development of the recent Sorcerers Supreme comic? And if Netflix’s Fist ends up being as bad as the critics seems to indicate (and as at least one Idler has attested), will the new Iron Fist comic by Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins suffer neglect and early cancellation?
Hopefully not. Whatever this comic is, and whatever editorial or departmental mandates it’s trying to fulfill, it’s first and foremost a gritty, kung-fu slugfest. And so long as that’s the case, I’m interested.
Continue reading Iron Fist