"Come, friends--let us go away from this dumb place."
- The Hulk, Defenders #12, Steve Englehart
If two failed
, and the way that same character stole The Avengers,
can teach us anything
, it's that Bruce Banner's big, angry alter-ego generally works best in small doses. I've always been happy when Hulk would show up in any story I was reading, but I've almost never taken the time to read a Hulk solo comic. I decided to finally read this Defenders
volume I'd had sitting around for awhile because of the Avengers
movie, actually; sure I also have some classic Avengers
books, but Hulk doesn't play well with others, and he was only with the Avengers for, what, three issues? Something like that.
What makes the Defenders so much fun, though, is that, rather than being a team, they're a collection of misanthropes who can barely stand each other and actively, constantly, refuse to be considered a team. It's the kind of shit that, as I said on Tumblr
, DC would never ever
do, and the perfect example of what makes Marvel's weirdly free early 70s period so crazy.
The Defenders aren't really a team, and they don't even have an origin. This collection starts with a bunch of issues from solo titles in which some combination of Dr. Strange/Namor/Hulk/Silver Surfer teamed up. There's one story in which those latter three quite literally work together because
they all hate humanity, even if, of course, they save the world. Naturally, throughout the book "work together" usually means "try to get something done until Hulk fucks it up and it all devolves into a fight," which is great
.[For a multicolored devil man, an army of porpoises, a fight waist-deep in lava, and so much more, read the rest of the review on my blog.]