The GeeksverseFlashback Review: Secret Defenders #1 (1993)

Flashback Review: Secret Defenders #1 (1993)
Published on Friday, September 28, 2012 by

Marvel Now? Marvel Then! Flipping through the back issue bin and I spotted Nomad and Darkhawk leaping off the cover of a team book and had to pick it up. I don’t know how I missed this in 1993 when I thought Jack “Nomad” Monroe was the coolest thing and Darkhawk was still a cool new hero that I read. I suppose my limited allowance must have kept me from picking up their team up book. Rest assured this is definitely a team up book more than a team book. Doctor Strange has pulled together four individuals together to make a rag tag team in the style of Defenders, but this team is taking care of problems that are not usual for the spandex set.

Secret Defenders ran for 25 issues but it started with #1 and a shiny red cover on heavier than normal card stock.

March 1, 1993  a weakened Doctor Strange has enough power to peek into the future; what he knows tells him Nomad, Wolverine, Spider-Woman and Darkhawk will be instrumental in stopping an onrushing demonic horror. The story was written by Roy Thomas who has a long history with Doctor Strange and the Defenders. Thomas had  brought together the first set of Defenders in Marvel Features and the early run of the team’s self titled book. Thomas returned to kick off the next version of the team with Secret Defenders.

This title was intended to be a rotating line up of characters. Doctor Strange needed a way to pick the cast story arc after story arc. Roy Thomas credits his wife with deciding that tarot cards as the means to pick the cast.

Andre Coates penciled, Clem Robins lettered, Don Hudson inked, and John Kalisz colored the comic which looks like standard 90s Marvel fare. It has the same tone and flair as most of the 90s Marvel offerings. It is a successful team.

The motley crew of characters is facing a vague threat. Bank robbers are secretly elderly people disguised as youngsters. Mystery. Costumed villains. The usual 90s comics stuff. Overall it is a fun read.

Wolverine was already over used by 1993.

Nomad was a loner that could work with the spandex crowd when he needed to.

Darkhawk is a fun character that didn’t need to grow up. He was a nice return to the teenage hero angst.

Spider-Woman was pulled from the B-list of West Coast Avengers and brought some heart and soul to the group.

The book was a fun read and had potential to switch the cast enough to keep it fun and fresh following the in the tradition of Marvel Team Up. Years later, the Secret Avengers line up is more stagnant than Secret Defenders but the book has a lot in common with the 1993 series using Heroes to do the often overlooked or secretive. Secret Defenders was a logistic nightmare bringing together heroes between stories in their own series, whereas Secret Avengers is squarely rooted in the cross over events, S. Defenders took time out from cross overs.

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