Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: The Last Defenders #3

[Continuing my look at Joe Casey's The Last Defenders. New posts randomly throughout the week.]

The second iteration of the Defenders (The Dynamic Duo Defenders) in this series comes to a close this issue as Nighthawk and She-Hulk escape with SHIELD Agent Joaquin Pennyworth and blow up the Sons of the Serpent's base. The mission is a success, but also a temporary team-up more than anything.

This gives rise to the third incarnation, which sees Nighthawk hire three "heroes" to be on his Defenders: Paladin, Atlas and Junta. The only way to really describe this version of the team is "Shitty '90s Defenders" since the make-up seems to be the type of characters you'd see on a shitty '90s version of the team. A mercenary with a gun, a failed villain-turned-hero, and a Spanish rogue... all paid to be part of the team. Let me spoil things: yeah, this team doesn't work. We see that they're willing to use lethal force and, well, does anyone expect this group to work?

What is tougher to figure out is the commentary since this team violates Initiative rules. The publisher/editor says no more book and the fan writer keeps on going, but with shitty characters... The transparent influence of Marvel and DC characters on the creation of the Image characters? The monetary motivation points there as well, as do the means by which this team will accomplish its goal.

Elsewhere in the issue, Hellstrom talks with Dr. Strange and the connection between them is strengthened a little.

Yandroth also has a scene that is full of commentary. He drops lines like "[RICHMOND'S] COMMITMENT IS HIS GREATEST VULNERABILITY," referring to how easily he pushes Nighthawk into the direction he wants. The fan's dedication is something the professional writer can take advantage of and rely upon: if they're going to buy the book no matter what, you can do whatever you want.

He also discusses the formula in creating the Last Defenders, how it comes through trial and error... much like the formation of the team in this series as it goes through several iterations before landing on a final one.

The issue ends with the Shitty 90s Defenders's mission crossing paths with Krang, future member of the Last Defenders.

Next issue: Shitty 90s Defenders no more, and the editor/publisher bans the fan writer for life.