Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: The Last Defenders #5

[Continuing my look at Joe Casey's The Last Defenders. The sixth and final post will go up tomorrow.]

What happens when the fan writer gets his shot at the bigtime and then he fails? Self-pity, of course. Now, this could be Casey thinking back to numerous assignments on which he "failed" (aka got fired) for various reasons and I wouldn't want to point to any of them specifically since I don't know how much actually applies to any of them specifically. When Kyle Richmond screams about not being able to make it work, it seems to be the frustration that Casey must have felt coming through, especially since, as we know, Richmond's failures this time were not his own doing. Oh, he might have been able to make the forced ideas work, but did any of us expect him to? Do we blame him because he's failed? No. No, last issue, he did what any angry person does: rebel and he was banned from doing what he loves most. To put in other terms, last issue, the fan writer spoke out about his problems with the company and they said "You can't write for us anymore. Ever." I can point to a few examples where that's happened (in some variation).

A lovely scene features She-Hulk telling off Tony Stark in an odd display of loyalty (although that doesn't really come up). It's almost like She-Hulk was an indie artist who only came to work on the book because her buddy asked and now the company is telling her to draw some other book, and she's not going to do what they ask. Just because she did a favour for a guy, doesn't mean she's beholden to Stark.

The rest of the issue has Yandroth confront Richmond and discuss how the original Defenders formula of the Hulk, Namor and Dr. Strange was flawed (note the lack of Silver Surfer... why?), and he's set about slowly creating the ultimate team. This involves taking Richmond into his past and revealing an encounter with Yandroth--again, nothing of real significance happens much like the flashback to Yandroth and Hellstrom in issue two, but it again demonstrates the power of the professional writer to go back and tweak continuity. He then sics weird versions of Hyperion, the Whizzer and Dr. Spectrum on Richmond, and the issue ends with the Last Defenders appearing: Nighthawk, She-Hulk, Hellstrom and Krang.

This issue is light on metacommentary despite the Yandroth scenes. Really, it's more text than subtext. Nothing wrong with that, though.

As the final page says: "NEXT: FINALLY... THE LAST DEFENDERS!"