The DEFENDERS #6
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Release Date: 10/11/17
With Black Cat and Diamondback vying to rule Hell’s Kitchen, Jessica is forced to call in some backup in The Defenders #6.
Plot: Kingpin might be out of the picture, but that doesn’t mean crime is over in Hell’s Kitchen. The Defenders try to keep Diamondback and Black Cat’s war from destroying the city, but putting Diamondback in prison is easier said than done.
Story: This book starts with a lot of Jessica’s narration, but her set-up quickly leads to action. On one hand, it seems unnecessary for Brian Michael Bendis to establish the troubles of Hell’s Kitchen since anyone with a background in any of these characters should know the neighborhood’s defining factor. However, I enjoyed having Jessica as the voice of this issue and wonder if that will continue since she’s the one who brings in Deadpool (not a spoiler since he’s on the cover).
I don’t consider Diamondback a particularly interesting villain, and too many panels are spent summarizing his history with Luke, but he and Black Cat have great nemesis-chemistry and I look forward to her comeback later in the arc.
More so than focusing on just the villain action, Bendis adds in the details to make this New York-based book feel real. The court scene where we get to see Matt Murdock is as riveting as a classic Law & Order episode, but even more appreciated is having Ben Urich visiting the hospital over and over again trying to get to the bottom of the story.
And then there’s Deadpool, brought in for the “crazy-pants” action. While he only appears on one page, it’s a great introduction. He’s wearing a Netflix hoodie ( a nod to The Defenders TV series perhaps or a pitch for a crossover event?) and quoting Chris Traeger from TV show Parks and Recreation. Naturally, I can’t wait to see him and Jessica continue to play off of one another.
Art: This book has beautifully drawn action sequences by David Marquez (much to the chagrin of Jessica Jones, who doesn’t want to lose her car in one of the panels). The coloring and shading make them pop even more against the city streets thanks to Justin Ponsor. There is a consistent palette that brightens the book up from typical greys and black, but isn’t too neon or flamboyant that it detracts from the grittiness of the world being built.
For the courtroom scene, Marquez draws it sketch style like you’d see from an actual trial. It’s a nice transition that’s subtle enough it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the book. It actually took me a second reading to notice the switch because it feels so natural.
I referenced the Deadpool introduction scene earlier, but Marquez makes fantastic use of full-page and in one instance double-page spreads throughout the book. His style relies heavily on realism but he also plays with shadows and movement in the panels to great effect.
Verdict: It’s too early to tell how well the introduction of Deadpool will work with the team, but so far it’s entertaining. The bigger storyline being built in this book alone makes the issue worth reading. Street level villains can get tiring when their motivations are too simplistic (greed, revenge), but Bendis hints that the war between Black Cat and Diamondback is part of a bigger, more interesting story awaiting Hell’s Kitchen.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars