Defenders Epic Collection: The Day of the Defenders – AIPT











This collection wants to take a sledgehammer to classic Marvel style and structure.
By
on
One important thing to know, as you settle down to read Day of the Defenders, is that the Defenders are just awful at their jobs. Cobbled together of famously difficult and primarily anti-social characters, it’s a sort of ‘non-team’, and the book revels in telling the reader that these are not the Avengers.

Defenders Epic Collection: The Day of the Defenders
There are few things so beautiful as a masterfully inked Sal Buscema splash (inker credits: Frank McLaughlin
Marvel Comics


“Not the Avengers” is right — in Defenders, writer Roy Thomas was able to luxuriate in a bit of episodic weirdness he wasn’t quite able to play with over in that title. For all the world, the Avengers book surrounding the Avengers/Defenders War that concludes this volume felt staid, a book too locked into its own rigid legacy. The Defenders, on the other hand, could offer a revolving door of distractions and pop-ins without needing an entire issue in which to reveal the new team. Hawkeye could be in a handful of issues just because, but most importantly no “member” of the team was obligated to be in any given story. The book could adapt to the whims of its creators with adaptability unlike those present in Marvel’s biggest books of the late ’60s and ’70s — books that were expected to provide a uniform experience for readers month after month.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!
'The Defenders Epic Collection: The Day of the Defenders' presages a decade of creative freedom
By Neptune’s Trident *indeed*.
Marvel Comics


This non-team status is guaranteed by the central character’s tendency to just f*ck off in the middle of the action for some self-centered reason or another; the Hulk, who is pretty vocal about hating his friends and not wanting to be around people, will just bounce, or Surfer (deep in his “I am alone amongst the rabble”, Earth-bound era) will zip away on his board to contemplate existential loneliness. They find themselves rasslin’ like fussy children as it becomes clear that they have absolutely zero ability to communicate with one another. That this is a team book that implies stability is consistently undermined by the mercurial nature of its characters.
This also allows for a great mutability in the types of conflicts the Defenders might find themselves in. They might spend several issues floating in an abstract void, or locked in a medieval dungeon; they might find themselves up against a sentient doom computer or an extraterrestrial children’s television mascot. The book set out to be a sort of celebration and confirmation of a weirder, looser Marvel Universe.

'The Defenders Epic Collection: The Day of the Defenders' presages a decade of creative freedom
Pictured: A villain worthy of The Defenders.
Marvel Comics


That isn’t to say that the book fully avoids the sort of rigid, overwrought narrative style of the time—Thomas and Steve Englehart are still aping the classic, florid prose and melodrama of Stan ‘The Man’, a tendency for most books at the time. But the freeform absurdity seems almost custom-built to showcase the much weirder Steve Gerber, who took over on the book nine issues after the Avengers/Defenders War.
The cementing of Brunehilde as a permanent character might be the most important plot beat in The Day of the Defenders, and though it means that we have to watch some men not quite understand feminism, it too presages the coming decade, which would end with titles like Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman (and, at the beginning of the ’80s, Dazzler) highlighting heroines in a way that the House of Ideas hadn’t yet begun outside ‘domestic’ romance comics.

'The Defenders Epic Collection: The Day of the Defenders' presages a decade of creative freedom
So feminist she doesn’t even get *counted* properly.
Marvel Comics


Major things are at play in Defenders that would give shape to the freer and more wild Marvel Comics of the coming era, chief among them that sledgehammer to classic Marvel style and structure. The book feels like a rallying cry to break down the rigidity of the systems in place. It isn’t always easy reading, but it is exciting reading that plays with the form—and under the diligent hands of legendary creators.

Defenders Epic Collection: The Day of the Defenders
‘The Defenders Epic Collection: The Day of the Defenders’ presages a decade of creative freedom
Defenders Epic Collection: The Day of the Defenders
Though still a clear document of its time, The Day of the Defenders foreshadows the creative boom of 1970s Marvel.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Constantly zany and engaging.
Almost hyperactive in its unwillingness to be ‘another team book’.
Highlights characters that were, at the time, losing readership.
Cements the first Valkyrie as a major character.
Hasn’t quite figured out how to be Hip.
An almost unlikeable portrayal of most of its characters (none of whom can get along).
8
Good
Buy Now
Amazon

Join the AIPT Patreon

Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:

  • ❌ Remove all ads on the website
  • 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
  • 📗 Access to our monthly book club
  • 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
  • 💥 And more!

Sign up today

Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:

  • ❌ Remove all ads on the website
  • 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
  • 📗 Access to our monthly book club
  • 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
  • 💥 And more!

Sign up today

Exclusive previews, reviews, and the latest news every week, delivered to your inbox.
DC Preview: Harley Quinn #25

Comic Books

DC Preview: DC vs. Vampires #12

Comic Books

X-Men Monday #185 – Jordan D. White Reflects on 2022 and Teases 2023

Comic Books

AIPT’s Best Comics of 2022: Part 2

Comic Books

© 2011 – 2022 AIPT, LLC. All rights reserved.

You must be to post a comment.

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *