DEFENDERS #9 / Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: David Marquez & Justin Ponsor / Letterer : Cory Petit / Jan 31, 2018
Defenders #9 continues a trend of quality this comic has been setting. Defenders is one of my top books at Marvel and the penultimate issue delivers on an action-packed book that wraps up all the plot threads Bendis had been setting to stage a final showdown against The Hood. The Defenders want to put an end to Diamondback, the self-proclaimed new Kingpin of crime. To do so they need the information Frank Castle has about him. Misty Knight will not let Jessica Jones near her culprit, but then she sees first hand the damage the drug that Diamondback is supplying is doing.
After getting what she wants, Jessica Jones and the Defenders confront Diamondback and his new allies: Fixer, Titania, and Moonstone. A fight erupts and the Defenders, with the help of Black Cat, come out on the winning side and we see a large cast of street-level heroes coming to play clean up. Finally, the comic ends with Hammerhead revealing himself to the Defenders saying that it’s not over the Hood is the one with all the power and is the new Kingpin.
I really dig this issue. What it lacks in substance it makes up for in action. The book isn’t too heavy in terms of plot; it works as more of wrap-up issue where all the different subplots are addressed to be able to move on to the big final showdown with The Hood. This might be biggest problem with Defenders #9 because it could have done more to amp up the Hood since he only showed up for 2 pages in the previous issue. I think it would help us care more about this confrontation and augment the payoff like the one in this issue where we want to see Diamondback lose because of all the stuff he’s been pulling since the first issue.
That being said I enjoyed this book for the lightness of it all and just seeing a good old-fashioned brawl. Let’s be honest: Bendis was not leaving Marvel without making one last big splash. During the police station sequence, we get a fourth-wall breaking moment with a character, who looks like Bendis, turning around and saying, “A 17-year running gag is not easy to pull off.” This then leads to a girl overdosing on the diamond drug while talking about the multiverse, the elders of the cosmos dying, and a dead universe. This gag is what seems to be both an easter egg and nod to his previous work. If you haven’t been reading comics for a long time this might just seem like a moment to showcase the effects of the drug and you move on without giving it a second thought. The nod of the 17-year gag ties back to Bendis having a tradition of hinting at major Marvel events in comedic and weird ways during scenes that take place at police stations, just like this one. The whole dead universe thing probably has to do with the Ultimate Universe which was shown to still be around during the events of Spider-Men II. We might get more information during the upcoming Infinity Countdown book, but for now all we can do is wait and see.
This issue really showcases the amazing talents of the artists and letterer. Petit’s work is masterful here, giving us the appropriate effects during that long fight scene allowing the reader to stay engaged. They were all nice and centered, and when necessary there were overlapping panels to catch the readers’ eyes with a detailed idea of what was going on helping us feel the scene clearly. I rarely point out the use effects, but when done right they take a certain accuracy to land correctly. David Marquez’s art always seems to shine brighter when he’s drawing fight scenes. His vision is incredible. I can almost see the action move like a motion picture. Very few artists can make me feel this, but Marquez always does it fantastically.
Also on the subject of art: the colors in this issue were powerful. Using bright colors like purple and yellow to highlight backgrounds in certain panels during the fight was smart and made every move feel more powerful and important. To contrast this there were other panels in which the background held a darker color scheme of gray and white. This is done in order to focus our attention to the right elements in each panel giving the right feel to the book. In darker panels the focus was on characters, while the colorful background were on action and fast paced movements. The artistic team does a great job at balancing both to give a fight scene that moves without taking away important character moments.
Overall, I really appreciated this comic. Writing-wise it was pretty standard issue not bringing anything groundbreaking, but focusing on wrapping up the big plot lines to focus the final issue towards a single goal. I was little disappointed in the usage of the other street-level heroes that were teased on the cover because they didn’t have much of a role. I would have liked to see them do something, but hopefully they will come in play in the final issue in a fun way that will shake up the street landscape of the Marvel universe. The action which was engaging and filled with fun entertaining moments, and the art carries this book into a position where it allows it to be on par with other great issues in this series.
Verdict: 4 out 5
Vincent is Canadian and a raving Cyclops apologist and a lover of all things geek Marvel and Star Wars are his specialty. He is well versed in DC, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. He’s always wanted to be a writer and Do You Even Comic Book? is his first foray into that adventure.