Defenders was a wonderful comic book. Defenders will continue to be a wonderful comic book when it is inevitably relaunched. Defenders was forced to wrap up early with issue twelve. Under the pen of Matt Fraction the title was woefully ignored. The critics had a good reason to turn a blind eye to the series as a whole based on the first issue. Marvel heroes constantly acted out of character. For instance the only thing the series highlighted about She-Hulk was the nonsense about her giant sword. However slowly but surely the series focused on the mistakes of Doctor Strange, the nobility of The Silver Surfer, and a younger out of time Nick Fury. With the character arcs coming together and weaving in and out the series began to show potential. Defenders then began to flood with mysteries aplenty. Shut the engines down. Everyone you love dies. These are big questions that were asked over the course of the twelve issues.
It’s a rare case where a piece of long form media over the span of so many months of issues can answer the big questions in a satisfactory manner. Defenders delivers in spades, most of the surreal imagery and dangling plot threads are very neatly tied by Fraction and artist Mirco Pierfederici. High concept science fiction is often difficult to ground or humanize. Framing science fiction as an extended metaphor for the mistakes of a character is an incredible way to tie up an essential story beat and one that Fraction nails. The issue starts with the Death Celestials assaulting earth and wreaking havoc. The art team renders the forces of the Celestials very well in an imposing and godly fashion. Fraction’s signature force of snappy dialogue is play even in the face of an impending apocalypse. The origin of the Fantastic Four is analysed through the power of the Concordance Engine. If this sounds strange and surreal it’s because the story is. However the story can be boiled down to the mistakes of Doctor Strange. Atoning for sins is a great way to change the story and make everything logical. Penciller Pierfederici renders the comic book in an artistic painterly fashion. The quality more than suits the issue. Even though Fraction’s run on Defenders is an underappreciated gem it is not one to be missed by anybody. Do yourself a favor and read this series.