When the impossible is everywhere and the very fabric of reality is threatened by insanity, the world needs more than super heroes…they need Defenders! Enter DEFENDERS #1, from the top-selling creative team of Matt Fraction (FEAR ITSELF, INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, MIGHTY THOR) and Terry Dodson (UNCANNY X-MEN), as Doctor Strange assembles a new team of heroes to face a new kind of threat that will leave readers shocked. Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Namor, Red She-Hulk, Silver Surfer and more of your favorite Marvel heroes will band together exploring corners of the Marvel Universe you never knew existed for missions so deadly they have to be kept secret. Once a Defender, always a Defender – no matter the cost or sacrifice.
There are six covers for this issue:
- 1A - Terry Dodson Cover
- 1B - Limited 1 in 10 Variant Cover - I Am a Defender
- 1C - Limited 1 in 25 Variant Cover (Neal Adams)
- 1D - Limited 1 in 50 Variant Cover (Stuart Immonen) Doctor Strange
- 1E - Limited 1 in 200 Variant Cover (Neal Adams - Sketch Cover)
- 1F - Blank Variant Cover
NOTE: The following is a detailed page-by-page review of this issue. It is basically all spoiler. So only read on if you REALLY want to know what happened in the issue.
The story begins in Bucharest... or does it?
Narrated by Dr. Strange, as if he is relaying a dream, he goes on to explain how a series of seemingly unrelated symptoms continue to escalate. From the patients in a Bucharest mental hostpital coming together to scream and foam at the mouth, to the duty nurse aimlessly filling out the blanks of a crossword with the same answer - things kept getting worse.
Then things get weird. A man receives a phonecall from a long dead abuser. An elevator "grows" a button for non-existing floor - elevator passengers pushing that button, never to be seen again. Airline pilots lose all control of the flight control instruments, and just sit helplessly while their plane crashes into the mountains... all this and things still get worse.
"It can always get worse."
As the plane crashes into the background, in the forefront a nightmarish figure emerges, screaming - Nul is here!
Dr. Strange still narrating, mentions how thin the layer between reality and nightmare truly is.
"All it takes is one thing to rupture it and the entire world can break..."
- What is that one thing?
- Was this a dream?
- Is the world breaking?
Well, the story begins here, "Breaker of Worlds - Part 1: I Hate Myself And Want To Die"
New York City - Now back in "reality" (?) we see Dr. Strange and a forgettable, yet attractive grad student - planning the best route for their walk of shame.Though she states she will not bother him again, Stephen is still haunted by remnants of her, both phyiscal and conceptual. He brushes off his regrettable early morning by heading out, into the world for a distraction.
While at a diner, out of boredom and curiosity for his own future, he decides to provide us, the readers, "A little kitchen sink divination from the former sorcerer supreme..." - letting the earl grey drip on his newspaper, four letters are highlighted: G. R. E. A.
But not in that order. As he ponders the letter placement, he suddenly realizes what he had feared. Things do look like they will be getting worse, as he states, "Well, tomorrow sounds awful."
R A G E (as the last panel displays these letters left to right)...
The next day does bring quite a bit of action for Stephen. As he sits contemplating, he remembers a dear friend who just a short time ago, both showed a disturbing vision of the future and a very real demise by stepping in front of a train (see Marvel Point One, "The Shaman of Greenwich Village").
Suddenly, his thoughts are interrupted by Wong attempting to hold back the Hulk. Needless to say, there is no holding back the Hulk, especially when he needs help.
First he needs the "Magic Man"... then the "Water Man"...
The Aegean Sea - Namor, in the middle of protecting the waters from deadly poachers, is interrupted by a mental incursion by Stephen.
He reluctantly agrees to assist the good Doctor, which leads the three of them to their next stop.
Now, for the Cosmic Man...
The Cantabrian Mountains - Stephen, Hulk and Namor are searching for the Silver Surfer. It is cold, real cold. Snowing. Everybody's breath crystallizes with each breath.
The Surfer agrees to assist, first mistaking the Hulk for Bruce. Apparently he has not yet heard about their recent split as discussed in the recent Incredible Hulk series. Hulk explains to the Surfer and team what they will be going up against, and that he cannot tag along - fearing that he may once again become one with it. Apparently the Defenders need a Hulk, so he sends them for some extra muscle.
Now, for the Red Woman...
Pamplona - All the bulls are afraid. They are running from HER, not with HER. She is not happy.
Stephen, Namor and the Norrin walk in, each in their "street clothes". Even the Silver Surfer, isn't so silver - but just as bald.
Witty (and sexy) as ever, Betty greets them, "Oh, Hey, Doc. Bald Guy. Mr. Spock."
Thinking it was Bruce that sent them, she is skeptical. Stephen explains it was Hulk, just Hulk. She agrees, her only condition, "Can I bring my Big-Ass Sword?"
Realizing that the Eurail will not suit their needs for this mission, they decide they need a plane. Stephen knew just the person, and the plane.
32,000 Feet Over China - Daniel Rand, Iron Fist, is trying to relax, reading a comic.
He is interrupted by the flight attendant who informs him that two million people are ready to witness his weightless free-fall as part of the maiden voyage of the Dongxi-Rand's Zero-G dives for astronaut prep - a 10-figure piece of bleeding-edge equipment invented by his company.
The introduction of Iron Fist is a bit different than the others, we see him in his plane, going about his business. As the Zero-G dives start, so too does an assassination attempt. We watch as Daniel employs some Zero-G Kung-Fu to fend off the assassin - an Urumi with a Whip-Sword.
New York City - The next morning Daniel wakes next to a forgettable, yet beautiful naked woman, and an astral projection of Stephen. Daniel was eager to start his walk of shame, so it didn't take much convincing. Iron Fist and his billion dollar plane - added to the party.
Somewhere over Europe - These five members of the famous non-team are flying to their dangerous destination - Wundagore Mountain. There is not much time for banter, as their big fancy expensive plane starts to experience the same symptoms as the first plane mentioned in this story.
The plane is shot down.
Namor assists Dr. Strange. Silver Surfer assists Iron Fist. Betty, who briefly contemplated her invulnerability, falls to the ground. She hit the ground so hard, she is knocked out for a moment. She wakes to Iron Fist willing to lend a hand; as he wonders about the fate of his escaped pilots, and worries about the ten-figure price-tag on what is left to the twisted metal burning in mountains.
Just when he says, "If today could suck any more, I'd sure like someone to tell me how--" - he is shot in the chest.
As he lies there, the team is surrounded.
All they hear is: "Tagar. If they move--kill another." Then, "Prester John has travelled through space and time to herald the breaker of worlds' arribal here and the end of this universe. Nothing will stand in my way."