Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Last Defenders #1 (of 6)

Joe Casey, Keith Giffen & Jim Muniz
The latest incarnation of the ever-evolving roster of the Defenders picks and chooses past members for a team that consists of Colossus, She-Hulk, The Blazing Skull, and their team leader Nighthawk. As part of Tony Stark's fifty state initiative, this team of heroes will oversee New Jersey in wake of Civil War events. There's something very nostalgic about this book, with characters who've been around for a long period of time, two of whom I'm unsure of whether they've appeared in a comic in the last decade (I've never read a comic with Nighthawk or The Blazing Skull), and the fact that it looks like it's shaping into a good old-fashioned throw-down with supervillains of old like Krang and The Sons of the Serpent. The twist this time around is that there was a certain combination of the Defenders that has never come to be in all of its years of roster changes, a team that would be incredibly powerful with a great destiny in store. "A master of the expression of pure, brute force...a water elemental...and, most importantly, a strong presence to lead them..." The first three Defenders members referred to are obviously Doctor Strange, The Hulk, and Namor, though the third is a little fuzzy. So, having discovered this combination, a group of villains seems to be forming their own group with such powers, beginning with Krang, who undergoes some sort of molecular gene alteration. And then there is a scene from the past that makes it clear that the Son of Satan made a bid for the role of Sorcerer Supreme. Two villains are yet to be seen, but this element certainly makes this incarnation of the Defenders a little more interesting, with some fun action to come as the two teams are sure to collide. A nice solid debut for the mini-series.

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