Nul, the Breaker of Worlds, continues his rampage that this band of Defenders was gathered to stop. The Defenders have their hands full in this issue, but not against Nul. All the same, Terry and Rachel Dodson make the story pretty and Matt Fraction has fun breathing life into this ragtag band of Marvel’s fan favorites.
Although the story is “narrated” by an unknown voice, Fraction continues to work on the voices of the characters on this team. In doing so, he dials tightly into Doctor Strange and Red She-Hulk. Those two have an odd exchange in this issue that furthers the creepy, arrogant manner Fraction has put upon Strange. It also serves to further the story, provide a near-cliché escape and repel Red She-Hulk from Strange. It’s the type of scene that could be a defining moment in the scope of this series, akin to the “One punch!” moment in the classic Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire “Justice League.” Come to think of it, it would certainly be interesting to see how Maguire would have handled this scene.
Terry Dodson handles the scene in an entertaining fashion, choosing to zoom in on Red She-Hulk’s reaction as depicted by one eye. A different take on humor-tinged drama, but effective and charming. Dodson definitely has these characters figured out, from the soldiers answering the command of Prestor John to the rampaging Nul. Dodson page layouts are jammed with panels, as many as nine on one page. Those panels are filled with strong characters, dynamic action and marvelous Kirbyesque technology. Dodson has chosen to retain a more “classic” page set-up with the panels actually having gutterspaces and borders. In no time at all, Dodson has put his stamp on the visuals of this generation of Defenders.
The team of characters plays to the strengths of the creators working on it, especially given Fraction’s propensity for Iron Fist, who has a nice moment in the beginning of this issue. The Defenders are a group best served on the edge of the Marvel Universe, playing against oddish threats and borderline evil beings. The Defenders are not the first to charge into battle and their battles are not standard, knockdown, drag-out scrums. The Defenders fight unconventional foes, odd threats and, frequently, each other. This series taps into that plan for the Defenders and has a considerable amount of fun doing it. After two fun issues, I’m looking forward to more.