Some super-teams are governed by things like charters and chairpersons, but,when your ranks include several of the most powerful individuals in the Marvel Universe, you don't really need leaders or even formal rules. The original line-up of the Defenders -- The Hulk, Namor, Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer -- are just such a “non-team.”
The group first united back in the '70s and, over the years, they've reunited on a number of occasions. Those reunions were often fleeting, though, because of the mercurial temperaments and outcast nature of the founding Defenders.
This December, the original Defenders will suddenly find themselves thrust back into each other's orbits in The Best Defense, a series of one-shots that find the founders operating both on their own and as a team.
Writer Al Ewing and artist Simone Di Meo focus on the Jade Giant in Immortal Hulk: The Best Defense. In Namor: The Best Defense, writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Carlos Magno put the spotlight on Atlantis’ brash king. Gerry Duggan tells a tale of Earth's Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange: The Best Defense, which features art by Greg Smallwood. Jason Latour serves as both writer and artist on the Sentinel of the Spaceway's voyage in Silver Surfer: The Best Defense. And in The Defenders: The Best Defense, Ewing and his Immortal Hulk collaborator, Joe Bennett, get the titular band back together.
CBR spoke with all four writers about their individual one-shots, how the spirit of the “non-team” lead to their “non-collaboration” and the connective tissue that binds their tales together.
CBR: So, with the original Defenders you're not only dealing with a great line up of characters, but a super fun dynamic of the "non-team." I imagine those were both parts of the appeal of this project.
Al Ewing: Yeah -- I always liked that the Avengers had all these rules and regulations and a special charter and the Defenders just hung around in Doctor Strange’s house. That splash page in Avengers #2 where they’re trying to have a meeting to discuss minutes and orders of business and the Hulk is just standing there in his underpants and Thor begs him to put some clothes on and they all just openly hate him -- that’s probably the birth of the Defenders in some ways. The idea that some super-people just don’t fit. So this ended up as a story of four totally different people essentially colliding with each other in a way that briefly looks like a team, if you squint, but it’s not. They definitely don’t call a meeting at any time during this.