The Defenders #3
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colors: Justin Pansor
Diamondback continues his vicious rise to power as the Punisher enters the fray, and things go from bad to worse for Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Daredevil.
What you need to know:
You know what? Why don’t I just let Ben Urich tell you…?
What you’ll find out:
We start off with a clandestine meeting between two major contenders to fill the massive void left by Wilson Fisk as the Kingpin of Crime: The Black Cat and Diamondback. Diamondback struts like a peacock before signaling his goons to take out the Cat. Cat then shows Diamondback why she’s some seriously dangerous competition by taking out said goons with the quickness. I sincerely hope that the Black Cat joins the cast permanently or at least stays on as a major player in this book. She’s a solid addition and a lot of fun. (*Side note: I loved the references to late comedian, Patrice O’Neal. He was a truly funny, talented man, may he rest in peace.)
Next, we catch up with Jessica, Daredevil and Iron Fist, who after being shot by the Punisher have joined Luke Cage as patients at Night Nurse’s super clinic. It seems that the Punisher is up to his usual punishing ways, hunting down Diamondback as he is rising to power. And, as we saw at the end of last issue, he doesn’t intend to allow the Defenders to stand in his way of dealing with this threat. Although the bullets used by the Punisher were non-lethal and meant to only “paralyze” the three heroes, Luke Cage is NOT happy with Frank Castle for shooting at his wife.
We are then treated to a pretty entertaining retelling of the Luke Cage/ Diamondback rivalry. This was really well done, in my opinion. Considering how long that Willis Stryker’s Diamondback has been off the grid? This serves as a succinct and effective summary for new readers and those who needed a refresher course.
What Just Happened:
The Defenders break up into teams of two in order to cover more ground. Luke Cage and Daredevil follow a lead to a pretty gruesome scene involving the Punisher and two of Diamondback’s potential underworld employees. This ends with the inevitable altercation between the Punisher and the two Defenders.
When the Punisher brings up the issue of not trusting masked superheroes, Luke expresses that he might actually agree with the psycho (after choking him out). Daredevil considers revealing his secret identity, leading to Luke playfully trying to guess his first name. (Really? “Gary”?)
We next join Jessica Jones and Iron Fist, who have tracked down the elusive Diamondback. This leads to a seriously W. T. FFFFFFF!!! cliffhanger moment that will leave any fan of these four characters nauseously awaiting the next issue. I cannot sell this ending enough.
Bendis is doing an amazing job of rebuilding the Marvel “street level superhero” world. I love how he has breathed this new enthusiasm into the Black Cat, Diamondback, the Punisher, Night Nurse, really this entire universe of great characters. This is some gold standard dialogue, right here. The danger of the situation is made clear while the ever-present back and forth between the main characters keeps it fun and entertaining. David Marquez continues to impress, he’s easily become one of my favorite artists currently at Marvel.
That ending, though…