Comic Book Review: Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #2
Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders is one of those books where the sheer optimism behind has the strength to lift it up despite a few short comings. It’s one of those moments I question whether I’m biased or overlooking flaws because of how good I want it to be. The series follows Dr. Faiza Hussain, a superhero with the ability to disassemble and reassemble living things, whose arrival at the Battleworld of Yinsen City has caused a stir. Her presence has turned the local heroes, Kid Rescue, White Tiger, Spider Hero, and She Hulk, against their God Doom. In retaliation, Doom severs them from his rule and Yinsen falls under attack of the neighboring Mondo City One, a world bearing a not too subtle similarity to Mega City One of Judge Dredd. With their Baron dead, the heroes of Yinsen City must stop the invasion of their home or else all is lost.
One of the things I wonder upon reading this title is why it’s been limited to only two issues. Perhaps that was the choice by writer Al Ewing, but what makes Captain Britain and the Mighty Defender s so unique compared to other Secret Wars tie in books is how unabashedly optimistic the proceedings are. This is one of the most uplifting stories out of Marvel in a long time, boasting themes of acceptance, understanding, and peace. Yet at the same time there’s a five issue miniseries with the awkward portrayal of First Nation superheroes in Marvel’s 1872, a book that was meant to push the caricature of Red Wolf into the spotlight. The Defenders boast a roast made mostly of women of color who see violence as a weaker way out, yet that barely gets more than a one shot.
Anyway, the biggest comparison I can say is that the structure resembles that of DC’s Convergence tie ins of a few months ago. The conflict is two cities of a superhero hero multiverse battling for survival, not terribly new but I’d say this is the best version of such a story. While Captain Britain is taken for interrogation, the Defenders bust their way out and take on the forces of Mondo City. While last issue was a bit of a rush with a lot of standing around, here the Defenders each get to have their standing big hero moments. She Hulk in particular gets the best moment but there’s some heartwarming moments for Spider Hero and Kid Rescue as well. It’s hard to discuss the ending without going into spoilers, but I’ll say this is one of the most refreshing and hopefully it will somehow influence what happens in the main Secret Wars series.
The artwork by Alan Davis is much more refined this issue. The offices of Big Boss Hill in particular give a great sense of setting. The other locations in the book are rather vague, giving little backgrounds to determine where they are but there’s never any confusion. The battles are exciting and energetic, never going on for too long but still very engaging. The scene where Hussain cuts loose with hero powers is one of the best and most terrifying. The coloring by Wil Quintana is equally on point. He shows a great range from dark and moody panels to the kinetic battles. The heroes all boast bright and beautiful colors.
Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #2 is a comic with such raw enthusiasm that the rushed and unbalanced story is easy to overlook. Does it tie things up a bit too nicely? Certainly, but it’s better than a number of other Secret Wars tie ins. The Marvel universe would greatly benefit from dropping these characters into the All-New All-Different line up, I mean they can somehow fit in Old Man Logan so why not these five?