On Free Comic Book Day, Marvel Comics will offer fans their first look at The Defenders, the new comic book series that brings together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist as a team for the first time.
The enthusiasm for The Defenders was evident throughout the call, and ComicBook.com learned plenty of new information about the series, all of which seems to revolve around five major points.
Keep reading to learn more about the Defenders and to see some of Marquez's work. Be sure to pick up the Free Comic Book Day issue, and look for Defenders #1 in comic book stores this June.
(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) David Marquez
Daredevil! Luke Cage! Jessica Jones! Iron Fist! Individually, these four heroes have been on the front lines of the battle to keep the streets of the city safe and secure! But now, with a deadly enemy from the dim past making a major move to unite the underworld, they will need to become more - they will need to become DEFENDERS! Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez unite to bring you the next great super-team, in the tradition of NEW AVENGERS!
In Shops: Jun 14, 2017
A Different Side Of David Marquez's Art
David Marquez says Defenders is very different from his work on Civil War II. Iit is much smaller, street-level, and noir and so he’s leaning on neo-noir influences like John Wick for inspiration.
Marquez also wants to bring out the character of the city itself. He's working very closely with colorist Justin Ponsor to bring the character of the city to life. For his part, Marquez loves doing the character work and emotional acting with the characters. He also hopes that his art harkens back to some of the highlights of each characters’ individual series.
Tom Brevoort added that they are determined that Defenders requires something different than the sleek, “polished metal” look of Marquez and Bendis's Invincible Iron Man.
On the balance of street-level and superhero, Marquez says its in how they carry themselves and looking for iconic touches like Jessica’s leather jacket and Luke’s hoodie. Even if it isn’t a costume, it is still recognizably that character. It isn’t just what they wear, but how they wear it.
There Will Be Lots Of Guest Stars
The Punisher is set to appear The Defenders pretty early on. Blade will also be appearing in Defenders, along with some other surprises. Things that come from the “larger Marvel universe can enter into this world,” Brevoort says, and he compares it to the Bendis' New Avengers run, especially the Avengers Mansion era.
According to Bendis, what happens in the first couple of issues of Defenders is “so loud” that it can’t help but attract other characters like the Punisher into its orbit. Certain “Spider-People,” Doctor Strange, and a couple of mutants will show up, as will Night Nurse.
Bendis also acknowledges that the Defenders name comes with a legacy, and some of the old Defenders may take issue with this new group using their name down the line.
A Return And A Fresh Start For Bendis
Bendis pointed out that this book was pitched at the end of his New Avengers run when Luke and Jessica discussed forming a team just like the one in Defenders. The biggest change from his New Avengers idea is the name (they originally considered it a possible Heroes for Hire revamp). The idea goes back well before Marvel-Netflix deal was made, and he jokes about how the book should be called “The TV Defenders.”
Bendis says that these characters have changed quite a bit since the last time he wrote them. On his return to Daredevil after many years away, Bendis says its both exciting and scary since he may now have to meet the expectations of fans’ “rose-colored” memories of his run. For this run, he’s letting that all go and approaching Daredevil as if he’s never written the character before. He doesn’t want to fall into the trap of not acknowledging that there have been stories told with these character in between now and the last time he wrote them.
Have the Netflix show influence the Defenders comic book series? Bendis is flattered by those shows. Everything influences everything else. Bendis loves the cinematography of the shows, and the things that influenced it. Marquez notes that they didn’t want to just copy the shows, but they have no probem being inspired or borrowing things.
Bendis says this is a new take on the Marvel street level heroes designed to appeal to old fans and new. There will be surprise characters in almost every issue.
A Personal Villain
Defenders will start with all at their most common status quo – Daredevil is a lawyer, Jessica is a private eye, Luke is working as a hero for hire, Iron Fist is at Rand. Jessica’s latest client has dangerous plans for all four characters and the Free Comic Book Day story will reveal who the main villain really is and that Defenders #1 will hit the ground running.
The villain is very personally connected to one of the Defenders and will attack them personally, forcing the Defenders to “reinvent the rules” and to make the Defenders an official team.
Bendis plans to try to approach the organized crime element of the series in a more modern way rather than leaning on Frank Miller’s take from decades ago that has become that standard for Marvel. It's an opportunity to reestablish the major players of the Marvel Universe, making it approachable to the Netflix viewers who come over, and stems from one major player who comes and flips the script, throwing everything into chaos.
The big event that kicks off Defenders will effect each Defender’s individual books.
The Story Will Be Intimate And Peresonal
Brevoort says Defenders is a more intimate book than series like Champions. It's about the neighborhood. It’ll be a different tone than any other group in the Marvel Universe currently. There's a “Zorro” aspect to it in that these are the community’s heroes, no the defenders of the planet.
Bendis points out that these characters have a street address. They can be contacted and approached, which leans into the intimacy of the book.
Compared to his other recent work, Bendis’ biggest goal is to get back to what he “came to Marvel with in the first place” and bring “realism and humanity” to the Defenders, making it a little less escapism than some of his other recent work, or at least more immediate, less fantastic escapism.
New York City will be a character in the story, but you never know if it will turn out being an ally or an enemy. The people of the series will help narrate the book, recounting the history of the city, the Marvel Universe, and the characters.
However, Bendis points out that “street-level” is not a power set, it is just an address, and that there are plenty of places to take characters in a street-level book.
The Defenders will not have a firm leader. There will be no ID cards. instead, “It’s a handshake,” Bendis says. “They really are a family.” Whoever brings the problem to the table, or is closest to it or knows the most about it will take the lead.
Each issue will have some backup material. The first will have an interview with Luke Cage. It will accentuate the story in a similar way to the backup material in Secret War and the “Oral History of the Avengers.” The Pulse will return as a feature at the Daily Bugle focusing on the street heroes.
Bendis says the Defenders will definitely encounter problems that are metaphors for real world problems. That will come from each characters’ place in the world and the diverse perspectives they all bring to the table.
Daredevil is the odd man out when it comes to having a public persona. Bendis says Daredevil may have to give a little if he wants to continue to have a place at the Defenders table. “I have a tendency to take the secret identity thing very seriously and dangerously...We’re going to continue down that road that a secret identity is not something that is taken lightly” and that it's “difficult to maintain among friends” even ones you trust.