The Marvel Universe spans across galaxies and alternate realities, but some stories hit close to home. Marvel is reviving one of its classic, street-wise superhero teams, The Defenders, in a new ongoing series starring the four spotlight characters from Marvel’s successful Netflix shows.
In June, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist will team up in a new Defenders comic, a revival of the 1972 series last published in 2011, with Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez. The comic will be set in the Marvel Comics continuity and not in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s certainly art imitating live-action art in a book Bendis calls a “street-level” crime saga set all across New York City.
“I wanted to do a sprawling, Godfather-like epic at the street level of the Marvel Universe,” says Bendis, which he hopes will create “a modern, elaborate organized crime story that is different than what has gone before … and putting them in the hardest battle for the street that anyone can imagine.”
Bendis, who with Marquez just wrapped on the blockbuster Civil War II to mixed reception, says most writers coming off a huge book would want something “quieter.” That won’t be The Defenders. “This is the least quiet, ‘quiet book’ to do after an event,” says Bendis.
Bendis has more than enough experience writing grittier tales, however. In the early 2000s, Bendis was the writer on Daredevil, the angsty Ultimate Spider-Man, and Alias, the neo-noir comic starring ex-superhero Jessica Jones working as a P.I. The latter served as the basis for the acclaimed Netflix drama Jessica Jones.
While Marvel will air The Defenders on Netflix later this year, the new comic is actually sprouting from seeds planted way back in 2012 to Bendis’s New Avengers, which starred the same characters in addition to Wolverine and Spider-Man. “Read the last two pages of Brian’s New Avengers!” says Marvel senior VP executive editor Tom Brevoort. “[This] big new exciting Netflix TV show coming is a good excuse for us to get to that story that we planted the seed on.”
On that last page, Jessica Jones, Cage, along with their daughter carried by Squirrel Girl, walk down a midtown block with Cage proposing to revive the Heroes for Hire with “a whole new way to play it.” (Cage eventually did revive his freelance superhero team with best bud Iron Fist in Power Man and Iron Fist in 2015.)
The Defenders comic will be released in June. The Defenders will premiere on Netflix in 2017.