Looking at the cover, you would immediately think that this will be an interesting adventure for The Defenders. The cover art is certainly interesting, but is that the case with the rest of the book?
Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes Graphic Novel Collection #30 opens with Nightmare talking to Dr Strange, offering him advice and begging for his assistance. But what could scare Nightmare so much so that he would turn to his enemy for help. This grasps Dr. Strange’s attention and he entertains one of his greatest foes. Nightmare brings bad news; Dormammu has turned to his greatest rival in order to gain the power to change the universe. He teams up with his sister Umar as they forge a rather unholy and unstable alliance. Strange has to stop Dormammu from moulding the world into one of his own image and desires, and the Doctor cannot do this on his own. Instead, the good doctor has to make a few house calls as he approaches both The Hulk and Namor in order to assist him and his noble cause. You will notice that Silver Surfer is on the cover, but he provides nothing more than some comic relief. One of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe and he does not offer much to this story at all – such a waste. Namor, Hulk and Strange attack Dormammu head on as they attempt to save mankind; but there are plenty obstacles in the way. Obstacles known as their egos!
Yes, Namor is arrogant as one comes to expect from his character. Dr. Strange sounds like William Shakespeare and The Hulk is actually not a dumb brute! From the get go the “defenders” find themselves in troubled waters but this allows for some great one-liners as the banter between characters is the one and only strong point of this graphic novel. Our heroes rip each other apart verbally. They cannot stand one another and this makes for great entertainment. The same can be said for the villains as the siblings: Umar and Dormammu are also at each other’s throats for the entire book. These two cannot stand one another as they are rivals so their alliance is also on thin ice.
The real strength of this book is the writing; the writing is timed well when it comes to the one-liners and banter on offer. The writing also sets up a good pace; so the rush job of an ending is particularly noticeable. This book has one hell of an anti-climactic ending. It has some of the weirdest reasons for Bruce not being able to Hulk out, truly it is crazy! But the character that is the most memorable is definitely Namor. His arrogance will leave you in stitches.
The art is not the greatest. The characters look too polished and rounded. This takes away from the cosmic level of destruction that is occurring in this issue. The colours and polished finish makes things look a bit unappealing. The artists redeem themselves when they show some interesting “Dormammu” versions of our favorite heroes. However, other than that there is nothing much that stands out – except for Namor’s ridiculous head shape which seems to change as the page number changes! Besides the few interesting looking heroes, there was no real great art on display.
This book had great potential, but it was executed poorly. The good writing could only save it that much. But much like the art, the writing also had its moments of inconsistency. Worst of all, the reader is left wondering what the Silver Surfer had to offer to the story. Seriously, what did he bring to the table besides some half-hearted comic relief? Or did I miss something?