– by Tim Jousma

THE DEFENDERS will appear on Netflix next year, a culmination of the individual series that Marvel and Netflix have produced, such as DAREDEVIL, JESSICA JONES, LUKE CAGE, and IRON FIST. When the show was first announced, I was not aware of the comic the show was based on.  So This Week in Marvel Unlimited, I'm diving into THE DEFENDERS.

   Starting off, THE DEFENDERS as they are assembled in the comics are different. You start off with The Hulk, Namor, and good ol' Doctor Strange. That in my opinion is not the ideal team you want to start a series off with. While I am excited for the DOCTOR STRANGE movie, the character in the comics has never been one I've been a fan of. Maybe that will change but the few times I've read a Doctor Strange comic, I've been bored to tears. Especially with the earlier depictions of the character, he's prone to spewing out mystical sounding dialogue meant to make the character seem more magical when in fact he comes across like a fool.

   When it comes to The Hulk, I'm conflicted. I love the character, I just hate how he's portrayed in the comic. When Bruce Banner is The Hulk in THE DEFENDERS, he's a dumb, lumbering ox. This depiction of The Hulk was prevalent during this era yet I still find myself chafing at how he's portrayed. I much prefer to see him keep some semblance of his wits about him when he is The Hulk while letting his anger overtake his ability to make a proper decision. Here, he's an angry idiot. I can't take the character seriously when he's calling Namor Fish Man.


  As far as Namor goes, I've never liked the character. I get that it's Marvel's first real anti-hero, created during the Golden Age of Comics when Marvel was known as Timely Comics. I've never  seen any redeeming quality to this character. Some may argue that Namor has only one concern and that's finding the lost citizens of Atlantis. The way I see it, while his intentions of finding his people are good, how he goes about doing it are just god awful. Having Namor be the character in trouble at the start of this comic just didn't do it for me. I could have cared less if he had met his fate or not.


   The art in this series is the exception to my distaste. While nothing spectacular, it was a step above comics from that era, adding a little more depth to the page than other comics offered. In a way, I think it was a precursor to how comics ended up in the 80's and beyond. Sal Buscema, the artist in this comic, has had a long, storied career at Marvel, most notably being the artist for the issue of Spider-Man that saw the death of Harry Osbourne. It's a fascinating look in the evolution of an artist who had been with Marvel from almost the start of their Silver Age.

   I cannot recommend THE DEFENDERS. I just don't find it good. It comes off like a script for a bad radio show. A number of comics from this era suffer the same fate which you have to attribute more to the time they were written but that is no excuse for a bad story. Amazing Fantasy #15, the debut of Spider-Man, is written in the same radio play style and yet that story resonates even today because of everything it did right. THE DEFENDERS fails at giving the reader a compelling reason to stick around till the next issue.

   Just because I didn't care for it doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. You can find it on Marvel Unlimited, the app that's available on iOS and Android. For $9.99 a month or $69 a year, you have access to over 17,000 comics. Some you'll love, some you'll be indifferent about, some you'll hate. But there's plenty there to read.

This Week in Marvel Unlimited:

All New Hawkeye (2015) #6

The Amazing Spider-Man and Silk: The Spider(fly) Effect (2016) #7

Captain America: Road to War (2016) #1

Captain America: Sam Wilson (2015) #8

Captain Marvel (2016) #4

Daredevil/The Punisher: Seventh Circle (2016) #4

Deadpool and The Mercs for Money (2016) #3

Deadpool (2015) #10

Extraordinary X-Men (2015) #9

Guardians of Infinity (2015) #5

Haunted Mansion (2016) #2

Hyperion (2016) #2

Karnak (2015) #3

Star Wars: C-3P0 (2016) #1

Web Warriors (2015) #6

WeirdWorld (2015) #5

X-Men 92 (2016) #2

Deathlok (1999) #1-11

Thor (1994) #477

Darkhold: Pages From The Books of Sin (1992) #1

Deathlok Annual (1992) #1

The Avengers (1992) #349

The Incredible Hulk (1982) #269-299

The Defenders (1972) #31-38

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Marvel, Column, Reviews, Comics Doctor Strange, Sal Buscema, The Defenders, Namor, The Hulk, This Week in Marvel Unlimited, Marvel's The Defenders, Marvel, Marvel Unlimited