Let’s break it down, shall we? I liked how I broke the last review up, so let’s get started.
Story: I was already on the defensive with this comic – expecting to hate it because they have replaced the Hulk with none other than… Red She Hulk. Right there is a reason to hate this comic! Except, it’s not. Not only does Fraction explain the absense of Hulk from this adventure (one that HE is the reason for – but I will get into that later) but it’s the Hulk who actually offers his ex-wife as a suitable replacement. I also enjoyed how Fraction “got the gang back together”. When did Strange become such a poon hound, by the way? As for the ultimate evil – why the Defenders are together – well, let’s say we’re off to a great start – we’ve all known that Hulk has had a dark side for a LONG time now – and it’s become a physical force. I don’t think much more needs to be said to pique your interest! The Defenders against an evil, black Hulk!
Of course, there is also some negatives. For example, what the hell happened to Surfer? Why is he a Zen master able to recreate himself from thin air? He’s everywhere? He’s the falling snow? What?!?!? That’s not so much a negative as it is more a “I am sort of lost in what’s happened in the MU” but if they are keeping with continuity with the Surfer – why is the Hulk not being paid the same respect? The Hulk is dealing with some real issues over in his book – ones that aren’t even addressed here. Let’s move on…
Art: Terry Dodson does an exceptional job here – Strange and Co. have never looked better! Of course, I am not the biggest fan of his Hulk – but then again, like I told you, the Hulk is not really a big part of the first issue. I am waiting to see more of the Black Hulk. Here’s to hoping they defeat him and he just fades away though – instead of becoming a new member… shudder at the thought!
Variants: I didn’t bother picking up the 1:50 Strange variant – it seemed cool enough but I am getting really picky with which variants I decide to pick up now. Seeing as this isn’t an actual Hulk book I was not too worried about picking up every variant. The 1:25 Neal Adams variant has a large image of the Hulk front and center though – so I was all over that!
Overall: This is a classic Defenders story through and through – pick this up and feel like you’re reading some classic Marvel. Grade: A