Friday, March 9, 2012

The Defenders #4

They started out as an odd gathering of "heroes," but The Defenders became famous in the 1970s because of the strangeness of the stories, featuring inspired writing by Steve Gerber.

The new version of the title seems to be trying to follow in those same offbeat footsteps, and so far it's succeeding!

This issue is very Dr. Strange-centric, as he struggles to decipher the mystery behind an ancient machine he's taken into... shall we say, protective custody.

His investigations yield a surprising and emotional result, but he's hampered by the attentions of a student - and a thief.

It's an intelligent, moving story by Matt Fraction, and the resolution is quite surprising (if somewhat out of character).

The art is by Michael Lark, who does a solid job filling in for Terry and Rachel Dodson. He's not quite in their league, but he's close - the art has a nice, dark look to it, with strong layouts and great characters.

Even if the story is serious, there's an undertone of humor that runs through it, and the notes at the bottom of each page add to the surreal feeling. Some notes are ads for other comics, and some feel like a stream-of-consciousness commentary. Very funny stuff there.

There are lots of new books out there vying for attention, so don't let The Defenders get lost in the shuffle - this is one to watch.

Grade: A-



RMP said...

It's baffling to me that anyone would be more impressed with the Dodson's work than with Lark's work on this issue. Reading Defenders #4 makes me sad that Lark isn't its full-time penciler.

Chuck said...

RMP, I certainly didn't mean to take anything away from Lark - I think he did an excellent job on this issue. But I am a fan of the Dodson's.