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Comic Book / The Defenders (2017)

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Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil.

Daredevil: I think we need to work together. I think people on the street need to know we're working together.
Iron Fist: Yeah, sure... We've talked about this before... If the Avengers, and whatnot, are up there... we need to be down here.

The Defenders is a 2017 series written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by David Marquez. Unlike the previous Defenders teams, they are specifically tailored after the roster from the Netflix show, with the four main heroes being Luke Cage, Danny Rand, Matt Murdock, and Jessica Jones.

It starts when Luke, Danny and Matt break up a drug operation that just happened to be run by Diamondback — the same Diamondback that, years earlier, had been Luke Cage's arch-enemy and had died. In retaliation for this, Diamondback targets each one of them in their secret identities and shoots Jessica Jones in her office.

After Jessica gets out of the hospital, she, Luke, Danny, and Matt team up to find and stop Diamondback and, in the process, form a team to defend the streets.

The following tropes seen in the 2017 series:

  • Anti-Villain: Felicia is not only freaked out by Diamondback's level of violence but also saves Luke after he is poisoned.
  • Arc Welding: It's revealed Hammerhead was investigating I.G.H on the same night he fought Spider-Man (Miles) when the latter came vengefully knocking on his door.
  • The Adventure Continues: The run ends with Luke, Danny, Jessica, and Matt reopening Heroes For Hire.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Mocked by Luke, who suggests that Frank settle down and "have a couple of psychos".
  • Back from the Dead: Diamondback is not only alive and well, after having been actually properly buried six-feet-under dead, he Came Back Strong and is able to fight evenly with Jessica and move faster than Matt and Danny.
  • The Cameo: Rio Morales, Miles Morales' mother, makes an appearance in one issue where lots of people recount Luke's origin.
  • Canon Immigrant: While The Defenders exist as a team with varying line-ups for a long time in the comics, that particular line-up is the same as in the Netflix series The Defenders (2017), which before that series was seen as an In Name Only adaptation of the comic.
  • Clothing Damage: Luke loses his shirt thanks to Frank Castle, then grouches about losing yet another shirt. Daredevil asks him why he doesn't just get one made of unstable molecules. (They're expensive.)
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Crazy-Prepared: Frank Castle keeps acid on his person just in case. Lampshaded by Luke, who asks who exactly carries a vial of acid around, and then by Daredevil, who says that this is the sort of thing someone like Frank does.
  • Creator Cameo: Brian Michael Bendis drops in in issue 9 the only way he can — being hauled off by police, proudly proclaiming that a 17-year-old Running Gag is hard to do (namely dragging people into jail and making fun of events going on at the time, something he did periodically in Ultimate Spider-Man).
  • Drugs Are Bad: Diamondback is trying to muscle in on the New York drug trade. He's also taking pills to give himself powers, but starts developing an immunity.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Black Cat may be a villain, but Diamondback's level of violence is a bit too much even for her. She actually saves Luke by bringing him to a hospital. It's at least partly out of pragmatism though, as killing Luke in such a brutal manner is guaranteed to get the entire superhero community coming after them. She does state that a good man like Luke deserved better than to die like that.
    • Hammerhead seriously considers taking some I.G.H., then puts the pill back, muttering how he's "better than that".
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: It apparently never occurs to DB that Black Cat would save Luke instead of letting him die. (Of course, Black Cat isn't good, she just doesn't want Luke to die because it would bring everyone down on their heads and also Luke is a good man.)
  • Heel–Face Turn: After helping the group take down Diamondback, Black Cat declares herself retired from crime and even wants to join the Defenders, coming off her experiences in this book (and presumably, Venom's lecture at the end of Venom, Inc.). Luke, for his part, tells her she can't just expect to get out of a hospital bed and declare herself one of the good guys.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Black Cat seems to be under the impression that Diamondback, who wants to be the new Kingpin, can conduct himself in a reasonable fashion the way she did. She ends up getting a load of bullets in her stomach for her trouble.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Iron Fist and Elektra have a brutal, all-out brawl in issue #7 that goes back-and-forth throughout.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Just as Jessica says Luke has the Diamondback situation handled, it cuts to Luke getting beaten into the ground.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the third issue, when Frank Castle points out that he doesn't trust Daredevil because he doesn't know who he is, Luke says that he has a point and that in order to truly work with him, they should at least know his name. Daredevil (who, at this point, has had his entire secret identity restored so that nobodynote  knows who he is) says that he'll think about it.
  • Lampshade Hanging: At the beginning of issue four, Hammerhead points out how Inhuman Growth Hormone is just Mutant Growth Hormone, the old Marvel bad drug du jour, with a different name.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Wilson Fisk, unsurprisingly, is the one who brought Diamondback back, and gave him information on the Defenders. He thought Willis would do something a little more subtle than what he did, though.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: At the end of the first issue, Black Cat reunites Luke Cage with Diamondback, who was thought dead for the longest time. Diamondback puts Cage through a Curb-Stomp Battle and as he constantly smashes Cage's head into the floor, Cat has lost her cool and realizes she's done something terrible.
  • Noodle Incident: We never learn what Deadpool did with that Mexican dinner entree, only that it convinced Daredevil he's certifiable.
  • Obfuscating Disability: When Daredevil unmasks, Iron Fist thinks he's using this trope in his Matt Murdock identity, to conceal his Secret Identity. Then Daredevil reveals that he really is blind.
  • Oh, Crap!: Diamondback, at the end of issue #4, when he's informed he's being shipped to prison in the same transport as the Punisher.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Diamonback makes himself comfortable in Felicia's appartment. She doesn't attack him or even dwell on it.
    • Hammerhead gets most of his comment to the press deleted by swearing.
  • Ret-Canon: The very comic itself, given the line-up consists of the same line-up as a the TV show: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, with Jessica having jack all to do with any of the other incarnations of the Defenders before this point.
  • Running Gag:
  • Shout-Out: The opening of issue #1 is a homage to the famous Ctrl+Alt+Del loss.jpg meme.
  • Stealth Expert: Luke Cage has some expertise, courtesy of having a toddler who likes to nap.
  • Take That!: The fight between Daredevil, Cage and the Punisher has Matt utterly refusing to take Frank seriously, poking fun at Frank's usual anti-heroic spiel.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A junkie takes some I.G.H. and then decides to mix it with some other drugs as well. It predictably kills her.
  • World of Snark: Brian Bendis is at the helm, so pretty much every character gets their snark on sooner or later.
  • The Worf Effect: Somehow, Diamondback is able to beat down Luke Cage in the very first issue. In the third issue, he catches Danny's iron fist. In the fourth he beats up Jessica, which is subverted seconds later when Danny gets right back up again and kicks his ass, broken spine and all.