The Defenders: Ashes to Ashes by Eric S Brown

Marvel’s 7th Epic Collection of the original Defenders run weighs in at 440 pages. The issues within it cover the time period from 1982-1983, issues 110 through 125 and Avengers Annual 11. The book opens with an issue devoted to an obscure character called the Devil-Slayer. It’s typical of the off beat, stranger tales that the Defenders’ series often presented but is a lackluster story at best and fails to set the tone for the issues that come after it. The second story in this epic collection also centers on a singular character, Hell-Cat, and while she is more important to fans of the Defenders, again, the issue falls short for a comic that is supposed to be team book. Next up in the collection is Avengers Annual 11 which finally brings a massive amount of heroes into play as the Avengers and Defenders must come together to confront an alien threat. At this point, the collection reads much more as one would expect with a focus on the Defenders as a team.

Over the course of this collection, the reader gets to say goodbye to the original Defenders and watch the slow transition being made to an entirely new team composed of Beast, Angel, and Iceman from the original X-Men alongside newer characters like Moondragon and Gargoyle with Valkyrie being the only member of the earlier team remaining.

This collection, like all Defenders’ comics, is for those with a taste for something more or at least something different than a normal superhero team book. Still, it’s a good representation of Marvel’s more literary side during the early 80’s.


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