Marvel is assembling a team of New Defenders. Marvel Comics today released a teaser image for New Defenders. The artwork comes from artist Javier Rodriguez, but whether he's drawing interiors is unknown. The art shows the Masked Rider, featured prominently Marvel Comics #1000, insisting that Doctor Strange put together a New Defenders team. Doctor Strange retorts that he's trying but that his magic is alive. Tarot cards featuring former Defenders members cover the bottom of the image. The characters include Hulk, Silver Surfer, Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner, Beast, Harpy, Brunnhilde the Valkyrie, Moondragon, Cloud, and Hellstrom.
The teaser also doesn't name a writer. Still, Al Ewing notably wrote the Masked Rider portions of Marvel Comics #1000, participated in Marvel's most recent Defenders story, Defenders: The Best Defense, and handles many of the tarot card characters in the pages of Immortal Hulk and Guardians of the Galaxy. He seems like the logical choice to helm a New Defenders series, and many Marvel fans on social media are assuming he will fill that role, though he may have his hands full with Marvel's New Space Age unless the two projects are related.
Fans who know the Defenders only through the Netflix series may be confused by this collection of characters. While the street-level characters from the Netflix crossover show did come together to form a new team of Defenders in the comics for a time, Doctor Strange founded the original Defenders, recruiting Hulk, Silver Surfer, and Namor into the group. The team later expanded with regular team members Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hellcat, Gargoyle, Beast, and Hellstrom, plus many others for shorter periods.
Roy Thomas conceived of the team, and they debuted in 1971's Marvel Feature #1. Various incarnations of the group formed and dissolved since then. The most recent Defenders story is The Best Defense, unfolding over five one-shots. Each focused on a different member of the original Defenders roster before culminating in a final crossover one-shot. Before that, Marvel had the Netflix-like Manhattan Defenders squad -- Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Daredevil -- and before that was the Fearless Defenders series about a team of Valkyrior.
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