9780785115472 / 0785115471

Essential Defenders, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials)


Publisher:Marvel Comics



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About the book:

Essential Defenders Vol. 1 is one of the more invaluable manifestations of Marvel's budget Essentials series. It captures the formation and early stages of the Defenders, a "non-team" of heroes that didn't have a headquarters or a formal charter, and didn't even like to hang out together. They just combined their considerable forces when needed. The 26 issues collected in this volume include the first times the characters crossed paths in their individual books--Dr. Strange 183, Sub-Mariner 22 and 34-35, and Incredible Hulk 126--followed by their appearances in Marvel Feature 1-3 and then the first 14 issues of their own book. Most of the early adventures were mystical Dr. Strange tales backed by the muscle of the Hulk and Sub-Mariner, but the group took better shape with the addition of the Silver Surfer in issue 2, and the beginning of the Black Knight saga in issue 4, which not only introduced the Valkyrie but led to the epic Avengers-Defenders clash, also included here in its entirety. Even though the individual Defenders were well-known in the Marvel Universe, the conflict with the better-established Avengers helped put the "group" on the map. The volume concludes with the two-part Nighthawk/Squadron Supreme story line. While there are drawbacks to the black-and-white format (for example, the Mohammedan's glimpse of the Hulk's green foot in issue 11), the price for this much content is low, and who knows when a Masterworks edition will arrive. (The Avengers-Defenders clash was previously released as a stand-alone trade paperback.) Better to grab Essential Defenders Vol. 1 now and hope for volume 2. --David Horiuchi

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