Uniting The World’s Greatest Non-Team In Defenders: The Best Defense #1
by Josh Davison
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
The Train and its Celestial Conductor are on their way to Earth, and it’s being controlled by the creature Nebulon, which is directing the Train on its path. This is being told to us by the Doctor Strange from the future (as seen in Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1). Silver Surfer confronts Nebulon, while that future Doctor Strange attempts to recruit the Hulk to his cause. He reveals that a few demons from a hell set Nebulon free from death to accomplish this mission. Meanwhile, Silver Surfer is struggling to stop Nebulon when Namor arrives with Toomie, Silver Surfer’s board.
Defenders: The Best Defense #1 brings the team together in a manner that very well suits “The World’s Best Non-Team.” They don’t consciously decide to unite; the threat just happened to pass each of their purviews.
The drably-named “Train” is a cool and almost Kirbian concept. It is a celestial that rides an engine of cosmic energy and constantly feeds the engine with worlds.
The comic weakens in two areas. Firstly, the demons that orchestrated this plan are corny riffs on the Wall Street executive concept. They’re not interesting, and the jokes are fairly weak (“I know how to short a soul, brother”).
The murderous figure dressed like a ghost that was seen in the other Best Defense issues is left unexplained. We know he was killing the Conductor’s familiars, but we don’t know who he was. Was it Nebulon? Was it a demon? That plot thread is left loose.
Beyond that, Defenders: The Best Defense has a solidly enjoyable story that gels pretty well.
Joe Bennett is given the job of rendering this story, and I’ve praised his art already in my reviews of Immortal Hulk. Bennett is a damn fine artist, and this comic thrives under his pen. Silver Surfer and the Conductor look especially awesome. He’s joined by inker Belardino Brabo and color artist Dono Sanchez-Almara, both of whom also do excellent work in bringing this comic book to life.
Defenders: The Best Defense #1 is a solid culmination to this short crossover. I’m unsure if it’s the best Best Defense issue, but it is an enjoyable read and gives the Defenders legacy a good homage. This one receives a recommendation. Check it out.
Defenders: The Best Defense #1 comes to us from writer Al Ewing, artist Joe Bennett, inker Belardino Brabo, color artist Dono Sanchez-Almara, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover artist Ron Garney with Richard Isanove, and variant cover artists Arthur Adams with Paul Mounts, Sal Buscema with Dave McCaig, Valerio Schiti with Jason Keith, and Skottie Young.