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Defenders (Marvel Essentials, Vol. 4) (v. 4) Paperback – July 16, 2008

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Celebrate "Batman Day" on Sept. 26th with a selection of great Batman-related graphic novels.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 584 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel (July 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785130616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785130611
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,424,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Comic book writer. Editor in Chief at Marvel. Started several noteworthy comic book publishing companies. Wrote children's books. Did big-time advertising and PR. Did film, TV and animation development. Did toy development. Developed Broadway musicals. Created a float and a balloon for the Macy's parade. Learned from the best. Trained a lot of people you think are big shots.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy Smackenblacken on May 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
I feel I have to offer a counter-review here.

Let me start out by saying I thought David Kraft's work on Defenders before these issues was excellent...and if you're expecting to see more arcs like the Scorpio, Presence, and Xenogenesis ones here, you will most likely end up disappointed.

Kraft only puts in two arcs here. One is the "membership mess" arc that suddenly changes the theme to an awful slapstick comedy, the kind of story that usually gets confined to a single filler issue, but drags on for much much too long here. Second is a very forgettable Valkyrie in Asgard story.

At this point, about 1/3 into this collection, Kraft leaves the book in Ed Hannigan's hands and things get much worse. I could go on for quite a while about all the things I hate about Hannigan's run on this book, but I'll just mention the top 2...

1.) Hannigan quickly resorts to preachy personal politics, which I know Gerber as previous writer was also guilty of, but Gerber was a much better writer and was able to make his rants flow into his entertaining stories. Hannigan just beats you over the head with his beliefs without bothering to entertain while doing so and we're just left with things like multiple "save the whales" stories that drag on for uncomfortably long times.

2.) Lunatik. My god do I hate Lunatik. He was easily one of the worst characters of all time as it was, after his brief appearance in Kraft's earlier run, but Hannigan picks that thread up again and beats it to death in a horribly awkward and overcomplicated cosmic origin story.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on August 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Among the great Marvel superhero teams, I've always had a particular affection for the Defenders. The Fantastic Four were bonded by family, the X-Men were united first as students, then as part of a cause and the Avengers were the all-stars. The Defenders were different, a "non-team" of loners like Dr. Strange, the Sub-Mariner and the Hulk who could barely stand to be together. A few dozen issues into the run, the Defenders would eventually be more of a regular team with the characters who would truly define them: Nighthawk, Valkyrie and Hellcat.

Even then, however, the Defenders had an off-beat quality that the other teams lacked. This is evident from the beginning of Essential Defenders Volume 4, which covers issues 61 to 91. As this volume begins, the Defenders must contend with the crazed Lunatik, and then things get crazy themselves. The Valkyrie's college friend, Dollar Bill, has made a film about the team, defining them as a non-team anyone can join. This results in a bunch of heroes trying to join, including Hercules who believes his Avengers status makes him the automatic leader. What's worse, a band of supervillains has also started calling themselves Defenders, leading to a mess that will take a few issues to clean up.

After that, it's a visit to the Valkyrie's home, Asgard, to contend with a wannabe god, followed by another battle with Lunatik, whose origin is explained and leads to the strange realm called Tunnelworld. While Dr. Strange reunites with original Defenders Hulk and Sub-Mariner to battle an evil wizard, Nighthawk, Hellcat and Valkyrie must deal with, among others, the Mandrill, a mutant who can mind-control any woman.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian Reaves VINE VOICE on August 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Volume 4 of this Essentials title definitely goes better places than Volume 3 did. For one thing, Nighthawk fares better as a leader in this book. Rather than being captured in over a dozen issues like he was in Volume 3, he's stepped up as a leader here. He's painted as quite a bit of a jerk, but is still interesting to see in action.

The infamous "Defender for a Day" storyline is here, which pours in every "B" list character Marvel could scrape up at the time. Heroes like Havok, Quasar, Hercules, Paladin, White Tiger, Black Goliath, and others you loved in the 70's show up for 3 issues where everyone gets the chance to be a Defender for a while. To be honest, even though this was only a gimmick story (none of the new recruits stick around), it breathed life into the series for a little while. It was nice to see those background heroes get center stage for a few minutes (White Tiger versus Batroc the Leaper was great).

From there, it slows down considerably during the "Valkyrie in Valhalla" storyline, and even though the Lunatik storyline is finally finished from Volume 3 here, it's not very satisfying. Doctor Strange shows up again, along with Namor and Hulk to recreate the original team of Defenders to stop a colossal threat. Valkyrie finally faces Barbara Norris (the woman whose body she has been inhabiting since the first few issues of the series). All this and Millie the Model returns (yeah, it didn't matter to me either).

There were a lot of positive things in this book that makes it better than Volume 3, but you can tell many of the stories are filler. They are a team, they aren't a team, they are a team again, they break up again...this gets old after a while.
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