Graphic Novel Review: The Defenders: Diamonds Are Forever

The Defenders: Diamonds Are Forever

The Defenders: Diamonds Are Forever - Credit: Archant

Defenders assemble!

(Panini Books)

Street-level superhero teams are not a new concept at Marvel. Apart from various iterations of the Heroes for Hire, we’ve also seen the likes of Marvel Knights and the “red” version of the Thunderbolts operating in the dark underbelly of New York City.

There have also been other versions of the Defenders, so the name isn’t new either.

What lifts this current quartet from their predecessors is the fact that it’s a Marvel Universe version of the recent Netflix series, which also brought together Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Daredevil, albeit under drastically different circumstances.

In this new team book, penned by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by David Marquez, the unexpected resurrection of Cage’s arch enemy and one-time friend Diamondback is the trigger for the alliance.

The crime boss, aka Willis Stryker, announces his return in style by targeting the four heroes when they are at their most vulnerable, before beginning a campaign to fill the underworld power vacuum left when Wilson (The Kingpin) Fisk became Mayor of NYC…

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Having first made his mark with Marvel on the likes of Daredevil and Alias (starring Jessica Jones), Bendis closes out his tenure by bringing them together in one title. Whereas many of his more ambitious Marvel runs have disappointed in recent years, this series proves that he can still deliver where it counts. While still featuring his trademark snappy dialogue and strong characterisation, this book also keeps the focus on plot and pace, areas which the writer can often allow to slide.

Defenders is a smart, sharp and stylish superhero thriller which draws on its TV counterpart for inspiration, but then charts its own course as a stand-alone success in its own right. Not to be missed.