The Defenders #2 Review
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colors: Justin Pansor
Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Daredevil in the buddy hero comic book we’ve all been waiting for. Again. Marvel’s street level heroes have found their new home.
What you need to know:
The Original Diamondback, Willis Stryker, is back from the apparent dead and moving up the proverbial ladder to fill the massive void left by Wilson Fisk and become the new Kingpin of Crime in New York City. After carrying out a series of attacks on Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Iron Fist, Stryker was confronted by an angry Luke Cage, who used the Black Cat (another current contender for Kingpin of Crime and a kinda/sorta ally) to track down his old enemy.
Luke quickly came to regret that decision as he learned that this is a much smarter, deadlier and more powerful Willis Stryker than the punk he used to pound on back in the day. Willis, taking into account Luke’s unbreakable skin, used an air born toxin to poison Cage before beating the hell out of him. This both shows his newfound bloodthirsty nature to Luke Cage and friends while simultaneously sending a message to his competition, the Black Cat: Diamondback is coming for the crown and he is coming HARD.
What you’ll find out:
Luke Cage is barely clinging to life in the Night Nurse’s care as we start this issue. Jessica rushes to his side, and helplessly watches as he is slipping away. Night Nurse has used her alliances to once again save his life, as Blade makes a cameo. Jessica demands to know where she can find Diamondback from Night Nurse, who refuses to tell her in order to protect her “clinic” from retaliation.
As Jessica sits vigil with Luke, Daredevil desperately reaches out to Ben Urich in the hopes of securing a lead as to where Diamondback might be holed up, but to no avail. Ben has heard that Stryker has upped his game, but it takes time to get that sort of information.
Meanwhile, Iron Fist uses his rarely utilized financial influence as handsome billionaire playboy Danny Rand to crash “reformed” businessman Wilson Fisk’s party (he literally hates these sort of events) in hopes of tracking down Diamondback. He toys with Fisk, coyly suggesting that if he was this new contender for Kingpin of Crime, nothing would send a stronger message than killing the new Kingpin of Crime.
What Just Happened:
This issue is action packed, but at the same time delivers some great character moments. You really get a sense of the main characters desperation to find Diamondback. Jessica Jones really puts her bad ass side on display coming at Diamondback like a hurricane. Daredevil shows off his high flying fighting skills, taking on Diamonback’s entire crew at once. And Iron Fist makes an entrance that would make MCU’s Tony Stark green with envy.
Since returning from the supposed dead, Diamondback has mysteriously become a much deadlier threat than anyone had anticipated, displaying new abilities, cunning and resilience he never possessed before. He is playing the long game here, and as this issue’s shocking cliffhanger displays, he is playing for keeps.
Whereas Luke Cage took a strong spotlight in the premiere issue, the second issue focuses much more on Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Daredevil. Each cast member is given their time to shine equally as Cage takes a backseat. David Marquez is becoming one of my favorite current artists at Marvel. He continues to impress, his lines are at the same time clean and edgy. And Bendis delivers another strong, action packed issue here. He really knows each of these characters inside and out. This is the book, and these are the characters, that Bendis is meant to be writing.