Marvel Comics today brought its epic 2016 event, Civil War II, to its climax in Civil War II #8 by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez. As with the end of any major Marvel Comics event, Civil War II #8 teases a lot of events that could be happening the Marvel Universe in 2016.
One of the final pages of Civil War II #8 shows several Marvel characters reacting to the final moments of the conflict between Iron Man and Captain Marvel. Many of these reactions were first revealed in the preview for the Marvel NOW! publishing initiative that launched in October, including the Guardians of the Galaxy being grounded on Earth, the formation of the Champions, She-Hulk’s new transformation, and Riri Williams becoming Ironheart.
One new tease is a panel in the bottom-right of David Marquez’s stunning two-page spread that shows Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones standing together on a rooftop. The four characters will form the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Defenders on Netflix in 2017. Is this a hint that the same team will come together in the Marvel Comics Universe in 2017? See the panel for yourself below.
For context for those fans who only know these characters through their respective Netflix series, the Defenders has not traditionally been a team of street-level heroes. The Defenders was an oddball team founded by Doctor Strange, the Hulk, Silver Surfer, and Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner, and typically deals with bizarre, high-concept threats rather than the street crime that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are usually associated with (though Iron Fist has himself been a member of the Marvel Comics Defenders in the past, and Daredevil does occasionally fight demons).
This is to say that there is no precedent for this street-level version of the Defenders in the Marvel Comics Universe. There have been other street-level crime-fighting teams before, such as the Heroes for Hire and the Marvel Knights, but never under the Defenders name.
There hasn’t been any news from Marvel Comics concerning a new Defenders title, but it has been pretty standard practice for the publisher to make sure they have a book on the stands that matches what is fresh and new in Marvel’s multimedia space, with the new Jessica Jones comic book being one example, and the upcoming Iron Fist series that will launch around the same time as the Netflix series’ debut being another.
Currently in the Marvel Universe, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are still married, though they're going through a bit of a rough patch in Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage and Iron Fist have reteamed as the Heroes for Hire in Power Man and Iron Fist. Daredevil is going through one of his darker periods in the current Daredevil series and has switched sides in his legal career to become a prosecutor.
Marvel fans should keep their eyes peeled for more hints as to what’s coming for the Defenders heroes in 2017.