Friday, January 13, 2012
Marvel seems to try and bring back the Defenders as a viable property every few years, and every few years it doesn't seem to really go anywhere. In 2005, the Defenders were presented in an intentionally light-hearted & silly light, as comic trio Giffen, DeMatteis, & Maquire were given the reigns for a 5-issue limited series. When I first got into comics in the mid-to-late 1980s, I soon stumbled on that creative team's Justice League International and I was immediately hooked--I found it absolutely hilarious, thought Blue and Gold (Blue Beetle & Booster Gold) and Fire & Ice (Fire and Icemaiden) were great characters, and collected the title diligently for years. Unfortunately, what worked so well with then-third string characters fails pretty badly with some of Marvel's biggest guns with long legacies of being serious characters, like Dr. Strange, Namor, the Hulk, and the Silver Surfer. There's a few good jokes and funny faces in the the 2005 Defenders, but although a text page says everything is in continuity and the characters will be treated with their established personalities intact, the characterization of the main heroes and the main villain (Dormammu) is far removed from any portrayal we've seen before. I'm probably being a bit curmudgeonly, but in a shared universe it's important to try to keep a reasonable amount of consistency with the portrayal of core characters, and that certainly wasn't the case here. That, and the jokes probably just weren't as funny to me as a guy in his thirties as they were when I was thirteen . . .