Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist…we know all of these characters from decades of excellent Marvel Comics titles, and, more recently, as the heroes (and also the anti-heroes) of the collaboration between Marvel Studios and Netflix. With Marvel and Netflix bringing these characters together as the new Defenders on the small screen, the comic books Marvel publishes are also emulating this lineup of heroes with the new Defenders comic book title “The Defenders.” UrlPreviewBoxAs As long-time comic book fans know, the recent successes enjoyed by Marvel in movies and television have led to changes in how characters and teams are portrayed in the comics. Tony Stark in the comics, for example, has developed a smart-ass personality to match the Robert Downey Jr. version of Tony Stark from the movies. Prior to the movie successes of Iron Man and the Avengers, Stark was a rich, drunk playboy with a serious side to how he interacted with other characters. Now, in the comics, a lot of the serious side is gone, as the comic book character channels Downey’s take on the character. The Defenders show, as noted above, features Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist (and probably will also show the Punisher, Patsy “Trish” Walker, and others), is another example of how Marvel changes the comics to fit their TV and movie universes. The original Defenders boasted a powerful lineup including: Hulk, Dr. Strange, Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Silver Surfer, Valkyrie, and Hellcat, among many others. Wait…HELLCAT? That is Patsy Walker, who is also in the Jessica Jones TV show….hmmmm…. The new Defenders show should be interesting, even though it will not feature the classic, comic-book lineup of Defenders heroes. The new Defenders comic drops on June 14, and is written by Brian Michael Bendis, who is known for good dialogue and great character development. Art is by David Marquez.
Uncanny X-Men #600 Cyclops Uncanny X-Men #600 Video Review The end of the Bendis Era with the X-Men Uncanny X-Men #600 is the capstone to the Brian Michael Bendis era with the X-Men. Check out our video review of this, the “last” X-Men story before the final incursion that set off Marvel’s Secret Wars event. In this issue, we see some drama involving many of the relationships among our merry band of Mutants, including an “Iceman Cometh” moment where young Bobby and older Bobby deal with the fact that young Bobby has come out of the closet. We also see a sibling reunion, and a romantic triangle that bodes ill for the team. Oh, and we see what old Cyclops is up to with his “Mutant Revolution.” https://youtu.be/bu2mPOGayBc This issue brings together many different strings and sub-plots that the writer, Brian Michael Bendis, has beeen developing for some time now. Bendis, in his run, has killed off Professor X, made Cyclops and his followers into Mutant terrists, ala the old Magneto, and he has made Beast (who plays a central part of this storyline), into a less-than responsible hero when he brought back the young X-Men from the past. Oh, and he made the Iceman (Bobby Drake), gay. Which brings to mind many prior storylines that involved conversations between Bobby and Warren (The Angel), as well as brings into question Bobby’s romantic interests of the past, who include Polaris and Kitty Pryde. Controverys seems to have surrounded the Bendis era, which, considering the long history of the X-Men, is not necessarily anything new. Overall, this is an interesting issue to read, particularly if the reader is a fan of the our band of dysfunctional Mutants, and/or has followed the trials and tribulations inherent in the Bendis era. The artwork in this issue is by several different artists, which creates some discordance, but overall, this book works. Buy it and read it. Note, the video review contains different content than this textual review.
Marvel Comics has been busy forming new teams of new characters, as well as blending existing teams of superheroes together to form new teams. Recent examples include the new “Team from Paradise,” The new “Wolverines,” the Uncanny Avengers, and the newly announced “A-Team” of female superheroes. In the old days, keeping track of the superhero teams in the Marvel Comics Universe was fairly straightforward. Stan Lee and his cohort in creativity, Jack Kirby, created two new teams of new characters plus one team of existing heroes in the early 1960s. These teams of course, were the Fantastic Four, the (Uncanny) X-Men, and the Avengers. Over the years, the lineups of these teams would change, with team members leaving, dying, new ones coming on board, and so on. In some cases, members of the X-Men would join the Avengers (Hank McCoy, AKA the Beast) is the best early example. An X-Man Joins the Avengers Today, though, it is neither simple, nor straightforward to keep track of Marvel’s many superhero teams and their porous lineups. (This is not a complaint, mind you, just an observation). For example, in recent months, in the Wolverine family of books (sort of a sub-set of the X-Men family of books), we saw two new teams of mutants and quasi-mutants form following the drawn-out Death of Wolverine story arc. Marvel ran two short-term titles in the wake of Logan’s death: Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy and Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program. Both titles, by the way, were pretty good! Anyway, in the Logan Legacy series, several existing mutant characters are brought together against their will and told they have to go on a quest for Logan’s body, or be killed if they refused. These mutants included Logan’s son, Daken, Logan’s female clone, X-23, his old archenemy, Sabretooth, his old lover and adversary, Mystique, and another old, conflicted foe, Lady Deathstrike. This group would later be referred to as the “Wolverines.” And, as it turns out..NOTE: MAJOR SPOILER HERE FOR BOTH OF THOSE MINI-SERIES TITLES… Wolverines #3 Variant Cover with X-23 …the captors of these “Wolverines” were the experimental guinea pigs from the Weapon X Program facility at a location called Paradise, which is where Logan, the real Wolverine, died. These new quasi-mutant characters (at this point it is unclear if they are all true mutants, or were given mutant-like powers at Paradise), include Shogun, Neuro, Skel, Junk, and Endo. While they do not seem to have an official team name at this point, and they are probably not to be included in the new Wolverines team, they have been referred to as “The Team from Paradise” on Marvel’s own website. (see Marvel.com) In addition to these X-Men related teams, we have another one in Uncanny Avengers, which is an amalgamation of the terms Uncanny (from the X-Men), and, of course, the Avengers. This is described as a “unity team” formed in the wake of that nasty little dust-up in the Avengers vs. X-Men battle in the Avengers vs. X-Men (abbreviated AvX) crossover hero war event. The current lineup of the Uncanny Avengers includes Rogue, Captain America (Sam Wilson), the Vision, and Brother Voodoo. They are (in Uncanny Avengers vol. 2, #1) searching for the Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver (who were the first two mutants to join the Avengers, way back when…), and they have along as their tracker, Sabretooth (who is also with the Wolverines right now). See how this whole team/lineup change thing can get confusing? Unanny Avengers #1 (2015) Cover And, to add to the multiplicity of teamings and pairings, Marvel recently announced the formation of a new, all-female Avengers team that will be published in May of 2015. The A-Force team will led by She-Hulk, and the founding lineup will include Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru and Singularity, a new “cosmic powered” hero. It should be noted that this lineup of the new team features existing characters from the Avengers (She-Hulk), X-Men (Dazzler), the Inhumans (Medusa), and the Runaways (Nico Minoru). This new team will form after the big Secret Wars Crossover event taking place in the Spring of 2015. Marvel’s New A-Force of Female Heroes Keeping up with these new superhero teams and their changes is not easy. Add to this the fact that Marvel is saying that the Secret Wars crossover will change everything, we may need to make a new scorecard just to keep straight who is with who on what team.