Netflix and Marvel struck gold with their street-level series, starring morally gray comic book heroes like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist (oh, and that Punisher guy). From the get go, the Marvel/Netflix deal involved an eventual convergence of their popular live-action heroes in Marvel's Defenders team-up, which began filming last October. When the series launches next year, it promises to create Marvel’s first streaming superhero crossover, which takes its name from an otherwise unrelated classic superhero lineup.
Originally launched in Marvel Features #1 (1971), the Defenders featured an ensemble group of superheroes like the Avengers. In addition to the Netflix series, it looks like Marvel will further connect the dots between their comic book and streaming worlds with a brand new comic.
According to THR, the new Defenders will take a page from the current Netflix offering, combining its heroes into a long-form crime drama. The comic is currently slated to debut in June, with a preview coming in May for Free Comic Book Day. The comic will be written by legendary Marvel scribe Brian Michael Bendis – the man responsible for creating Jessica Jones, uniting her with Luke Cage, and pairing them with the New Avengers. Art will be provided by frequent collaborator David Marquez (Civil War II). Bendis discussed his motivation for the team book, in addition to what fans can expect from it:
“I wanted to do a sprawling, Godfather-like epic at the street level of the Marvel Universe, really putting out hooks down and creating a modern, elaborate organized crime story that is different than what has gone before, but builds on everything that has happened to these characters, as individuals or as a team, and putting them in the hardest battle for the street that anyone can imagine."
Unlike the classic Defenders, who assembled periodically throughout the years to tackle some of Earth’s most menacing, and often supernatural or cosmic, threats, this comic will focus on real world troubles. The classic team book also included a revolving door of members like Luke Cage, Ghost Rider, Spider-Woman, and Namor, but prominently featured the Hulk and Doctor Strange. While many fans may assume the latest ongoing was altered to reflect the Netflix lineup on purpose, Marvel Editor Tom Breevort said the series' origins actually predate the streaming saga – and their connection is merely fortuitous.
“There are a lot of fans who will say, 'Oh they’re doing a TV show, so of course there’s going to be a comic,' but at least in this case, there’s a comic I can point you to. Read the last two pages of Brian’s New Avengers! Certainly that there is a big new exciting Netflix TV show coming is a good excuse for us to get to that story that we planted the seed on.”
Over the years, writer Bendis has proven a popular if controversial figure at Marvel, contributing to dozens of series and creating memorable new characters. For the rebooted Defenders book, he'll get to play with some of the heroes he brought to life, as well as those he helped return to the public eye.
“You will get Jessica Jones looking out her window, street-level, and my return to Daredevil, which will be different than what I and Alex did before. And Luke and Danny, characters that I have a strong affinity for. I spent most of the oughts being mocked for the love of Luke Cage. Now that Luke Cage is a household name, I just sit back in my chair and laugh and laugh.”
Hopefully, the Defenders comic will be a return to form for Bendis, who along with Marvel, took some guff for the expansive, complex, and oft-delayed Civil War II. While the second superhero strife may have had its flaws, fans can look forward to the street-level book, since smaller, character driven books like Spider-Man and Invincible Iron Man are where the prolific scribe truly shines. It will also be fun to watch him get behind the wheel on a character he hasn't visited in a long time.
Defenders #1 hits shelves in June of 2017 with a free preview in May.
Source: Marvel, THR