Two Sides Of A Coin: Avengers/Defenders Tarot #1 Reviewed

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead
We return to the winter of 1944 in France. The Invaders have stumbled upon an Ally regiment that was ambushed and destroyed. There are no signs of a fight until a man identified as Oberfuhrer Okkulte by Captain America attacks. He has magicks that allow him to animate the stone around the Invaders and he seems to have the upper hand. However, his stone soldiers are stopped by Cap suddenly…turning into the Hulk? We jump decades ahead as Namor is grappling with these new memories. He and the Defenders are attempting to wrest the power of the Infernal Ichor of Ish’izog from Cyrus Black. Doctor Strange is able to do so with the help of the Defenders, but he discovers that more of the Ichor exists on this plane in Avengers Mansion. Strange transports the Defenders to the mansion, only to discover that the team is battling one of their own: the Vision.

Avengers/Defenders #1 cover by Paul Renaud
Avengers/Defenders #1 cover by Paul Renaud

Avengers/Defenders: Tarot #1 reunites Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with the World’s Greatest Non-Team in a story set in the classic era of their careers. The Avengers are limited to Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, and the Vision, while the Defenders consist of Namor, Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, Hulk, and Valkyrie. 
As you could likely glean from the title and summary, it’s a tale that is mystical in nature. The Infernal Ichor of Ish’izog, a powerful substance left over from the elder gods, has infected our plane and villains such as Cyrus Black are looking to use it.
The story reads like one that could have taken place in the 1970’s. Alan Davis has been in the industry for quite some time and he can capture that late Silver Age feeling quite well. Aside from the Hulk, it does feel like the team personalities have been ground down a bit, though that might be deliberate with some of the twists towards the end.
Avengers/Defenders: Tarot #1 art by Paul Renaud, Paul Mounts, and letterer VC's Clayton Cowles
Avengers/Defenders: Tarot #1 art by Paul Renaud, Paul Mounts, and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles

Paul Renaud gives the book brilliant detailing and epic spreads. While his style here doesn’t seem to be harkening back to any of the classic artists of the era, he still gives the book a gorgeous aesthetic with thoroughly absorbing panels. Paul Mounts’ color work, as it often is, is bright and explosive, making the book all the more appealing.
Avengers/Defenders: Tarot #1 is a fairly enjoyable throwback story starring two of Marvel’s greatest teams. The plot is solid, and the art is fantastic. The dialogue and character work leaves a little to be desired, but it doesn’t sink the book by a long shot. As such, I can still recommend it. Feel free to pick it up.
Avengers/Defenders: Tarot #1 comes to us from writer Alan Davis, artist and cover artist Paul Renaud, color artist Paul Mounts, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, and variant cover artists Alan Davis with Morry Hollowell; and David Nakayama.
Final Score: 7/10

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