Who’s Side are You on Again? (The Defenders (2017) #3 Comic Review)

THE DEFENDERS (2017) ISSUE #3
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Color Artist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The Defenders now know their enemy is Diamondback. Their last attempt to get him was halted by none other than the punisher, but why?

What You Need To Know:

Diamondback has returned from the dead and is after the status of kingpin. So far the Defenders attempts to get to Diamondback have failed, even leaving Jessica Jones and Luke Cage temporarily hospitalized.

The last show down between Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist and Diamondback ended with an alleyway pursuit. Diamondback made an escape utilizing a super speed power the Defenders didn’t know he had. Just as they lost track of him, they were suddenly gunned down from a rooftop by none other than the Punisher.

What You’ll Find Out:

Diamondback confronts the Black Cat for saving Luke Cage’s life. The meeting turns into a fight between her and Diamondback’s henchmen. Black Cat easily wins and walks away, her position in this conflict finally clear.

Jessica Jones wakes up in the medical center Luke Cage was taken to, along with Daredevil and the Iron Fist. The Defenders were shot with non-lethal, paralyzing rounds, and they know it was the Punisher. But why would the Punisher want to stop them from chasing Diamondback? The Punisher literally got his name by punishing bad guys!

Next, we get some backstory. Various people around New York tell the childhood story of Luke Cage, real name: Carl Lucas, and Diamondback, real name: Willis Stryker. The two boys were friends until a girl, Reva Connors, came between them. She fell for Cage and Diamondback couldn’t handle it. He planted diamonds on Cage that he stole from the mob. Cage went to jail (which is where the experiment was done that gave him his unbreakable skin.) While he was in there, the mob killed Reva over the stolen diamonds.

We then join two goons as they discuss the mysterious way Diamondback returned from the dead with so much money and a new drug to distribute. One of them predicts that Diamondback must not be working alone. The Punisher shows up and kills one of the goons before interrogating the other for Diamondback’s location. Daredevil and Luke Cage show up just in time to save the second goon from being shot. Daredevil and Cage capture the Punisher who won’t tell them why he gunned them down and let Diamondback get away. The Punisher expresses a distrust of Daredevil because he wears a mask.

The other half of the Defenders, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist, do a stake out from inside a car to find Diamondback leaving a club. When he spots them, Jessica tries to drive away but Iron Fist jumps out to fight instead. Diamondback effortlessly flips the car with Jones inside as Iron Fist draws back to punch him. Shockingly, Diamondback catches his glowing fist, displaying even more unknown superpowers. The fight does not go as Iron Fist planned.

What Just Happened:

This issue really gives us a good look at how the characters interact with each other. During Daredevil and Luke Cage’s fight with the Punisher, Cage gets his shirt burnt off with acid. Daredevil and Cage have a humorous conversation about how crazy the Punisher must be to just carry acid, and how tired Cage is of having his clothes ruined, all while still fighting. Then after the Punisher points out that Daredevil’s identity is still a secret, Cage begins asking about his real name, and guesses that it’s “Gary”.

We also got a funny moment when Jessica Jones and Iron Fist are doing the stake out, Jones says that she does stake outs all the time, Iron Fist’s only reply is “I have to pee”.

This series still has us asking a lot of questions, mostly about Diamondback’s mysterious return. The scene with the goons tells us that not even the people working for him know how he’s returned and come to power so quickly. Now we at least know the Black Cat is not on Diamondback’s side, but the Punisher has shown up and his motives are still unclear.

Rating: 10/10

Final Thoughts: Things are definitely heating up. This series has been very compelling and this issue only makes it more so.

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