Current Reviews


Defenders #5

Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2006
By: Ray Tate

"The Enemy of My Enemy Isn't Exactly My Friend (But She'll Do in A Pinch!)"

Writer: Keith Giffin, J.M. DeMatteis
Artists: Kevin Maguire, Chris Sotomayor(c)
Publisher: Marvel

The nice thing about The Defenders is that I can give you the entire plot and not spoil a damn thing about the book. Let's play.

Last issue was a ways back--not nearly a ways back as the horrid Spider-Man/Black Cat--but the memories of the hilarity are still fresh. The Dread Dormmamu--"And Umar"--fashion a ploy to steal the power from Eternity--the embodiment of the Cosmos. In so doing The Dread Dormammu--"Without Umar"--fashions the universe--particularly earth--in an image that suits him better. Now while this was happening, ironically safe in his dungeon and in the case of the Hulk Umar's boudoir, were The Defenders.

The Defenders return to earth to find out how bad things can be. Very bad. They then promptly begin their fight to free the earth from Dread Dormammu's vice-like grip. This involves Namor finding his opposite number--a non-Atlantean version of himself--while Dr. Strange seems to be captured by his evil duplicate.

This issue Dr. Strange pulls a fast one. Namor with the viva la resistance plans an assault on Dread Dormammamu. Umar as she always intended throws in with the rebels, and things go really bad for the Dread Dormmamu--"But not Umar."

See. That's the plot, but baby, I haven't said a damn thing that reveals all the myriad forms of humor, the complex characterization by Giffin and DeMatteis and the execution of multiple forms of expression courtesy of Kevin Maguire to be found in The Defenders. "Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha" funny? And then some.

Like previous issues, Giffin/DeMatteis and Maguire while making jokes still keeps our heroes and our villain in character. "What about Umar?" Of course Umar. Namor for all his preening and constantly indignant behavior still reveals his nobility and heroism. In the conclusion he attempts to speak for the alternate earth and the rebels--whom he really doesn't like. Dr. Strange while playing straight man through cunning saves the day, and in the conclusion, he forgoes vengeance to adopt a pet. The Hulk is, well, the Hulk. Not exactly the Hulk no like, Hulk smash Hulk, but he's still a "palatable" incarnation.

As for the Silver Surfer, Giffin/DeMatteis and Maguire haven't forgotten about him, and I'm pleased that I actually predicted how his subplot played out.

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