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Defenders #4

Posted: Saturday, October 29, 2005
By: Ray Tate



"It's Dormammu's World--You're Just Living in It!"

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

Not quite as funny as previous issues, Defenders never the less amuses and entertains with more action and an underlying seriousness that's similar to early issues of Justice League.

Before the Justice League became completely farcical--and hey, I'm guilty of liking quite a bit of the farce--it was still a bona fide super-hero book where the heroes combated menaces that threatened innocent lives. The character interaction was just more spry and say it with me Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! funny.

This issue of Defenders in tone is just like that. Dormammu has won and remade the universe in his own image, including Dr. Strange. This sets up scenes of a tortured Clea, which is heart-breaking and wince-inducing because Maguire is so adept at illustrating realistic expression and anatomy. Clea looks to be really suffering. So you immediately empathize.

It's troubling to see Spider-Man turned into a pawn of Dormammu because he's cleverly written as Spider-Man--with the snappy patter of Spidey--but a Spider-Man who has been perverted. There's a delicious irony here. Spidey's humor has always been one of the best qualities of the characterization. Giffin and DeMatteis use Spidey's humor to heighten the horror of what he's become.

Lest you think I'm making the book seem to dour, the big brouhaha fight between Namor and everybody in the corrupted Marvel universe is a cool battle with some really priceless dialogue:

"And as for you--!"
"Uh...Meow?"
"Meow indeed!



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