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Essential Defenders, Vol. 3 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 3) Paperback – July 18, 2007

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel (July 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785126961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785126966
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on September 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the Marvel Universe, there have always been three classic superhero teams: the Fantastic Four, the X-Men (including the New Mutants, X-Factor, etc.), and the Avengers. Somewhat late to the game, and with a more erratic history, was the non-team called The Defenders. They were initially a "non-team" because they were more just a group of loners: Dr. Strange, the Silver Surfer, the Sub-Mariner and the Hulk. By the issues featured in Essential Defenders Volume 3, however, the non-team is much more of a team.

I have a real affection for the stories in this volume, which has the issues that first introduced me to the team. These stories have the characters who really define The Defenders: Nighthawk, Hellcat and the Valkyrie (along with founding members, Dr. Strange and the Hulk). The villains are often much more offbeat than found in the other superhero team comics.

The stories then not be single issue affairs. The first set of stories pits the Defenders against the twin threats of Nebulon and the Headmen. They later contend with the Zodiac, the Presence and a boatload of demons. There is also a murderous elf who seems to be forgotten somewhere along the line. Other heroes helping out include Luke Cage, the Moon Knight, the Red Guardian and the Devil-Slayer.

What makes The Defenders so much fun in this book are the strange villains and the humor that pops up from time to time, like when the Valkyrie tries to enroll in college or much of the Hulk's dialogue and nicknames (like Cat-Girl for Hellcat or Bird Nose for Nighthawk). For some classic comics featuring The Defenders at their best, this is a great read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Art on March 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
After a long wait, Marvel finally publishes the "meat" of Steve Gerber's run on Defenders. When people talk about Gerber as being the 'Grant Morrison of the 70s' (as they do, occasionally), this is the sort of stuff they're talking about.

Gerber is mostly remembered today for his quirky work on non-superhero titles like Man-Thing, Howard the Duck and Omega the Unknown. But this volume shows that he could write intelligent, exciting superhero comics that were on a par with the best of Marvel's 70s output.

Ten years before Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen, Gerber was exploring the sort of "superheroes in the real world" themes that are commonplace today. One hero, Valkyrie, gets locked in prison for wrecking a restaurant while fighting a super-villain with her sword. The villains are less concerned with destroying buildings and killing people than they are with gaining power through sociological and political means: Nebulon sets himself up as a self-help guru while the Headmen run one of their members as a presidential candidate.

All of this takes place over the course of an epic storyline that takes up the first eleven issues printed here. Unlike today's "decompressed" comics, however, each individual issue still presents you with a complete episode in its own right. This isn't a case of pacing a storyline to meet the publishing requirements of the company's trade paperback division, but rather, of a complex story that Gerber developed subtly throughout a year's worth of comics, each chapter flowing smoothly from the preceding one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Noga on June 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
Oh yes, the Defenders, my favorite Marvel non-team. At least they're a non-team for the first half of the book. From Issue 31-40 something they are still meeting in Dr. Strange's rumpus room instead of a place like Avenger's mansion and using New York's back alley's as a Danger Room. Eventually they take up residence in one of Kyle Richmond's equestrian estates, settle down, become domesticated, gain a few pounds and lose a little of that special Defenders "something". They become more of a formal super-group and less of an informal collection of loose-knit fly -by-the-seat-of-your-pants heroes thrown together to halt off the wall menaces that no single hero could stand against. But there are till some pretty engaging and involved stories in the back end of this volume with writing chores shared by Steve Gerber, Gerry Conway, Chris Claremont and Dave Kraft. Pencils are pushed by the likes of Carmine Infantino, Klaus Janson, Keith Giffen and Sal Buscema.

This book never got the credit for being a bit more of a thinking man's super-team, but it proves it here. You've got some social issues, some mysticism, some psychological drama, marital and friendship issues, all wrapped up in superhero spandex. It's a nice mix. Plus you get the mighty Marvel 70's flavor to spice things up even more.

Here's a peek at what you get in Defenders 31-60 and Annual #1.

Defenders # 31***Nighthawk's Brain!*** A lot happens. Valkyrie goes to a carnival, Hulk stumbles onto some drunken deer hunters, an elf with a lugar kills some tourists and the fabulous Headmen (All have "Head" related powers) put Nighthawk's brain in a bowl. And that's just for starters.

Defenders # 33***Webbed Hands, Warm Heart*** Only Steve Gerber would give Bambi super-powers!
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