Defenders/Avengers: X-Sanction Preview Book
Marvel Comics (2011)
This is going to be a bit different, more like last week’s look at A Planet’s Cry in that this isn’t a full comic but a preview, one that if memory serves was not given away at Free Comic Book Day or Halloween ComicFest but one of those free promos by the door. Coming off the event “Fear Itself” came another attempt at The Defenders by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson. The other is Avengers: X-Sanction, a preview for a story by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness setting up either a miniseries or a storyline in The Avengers. Who can tell anymore in the “trade writing” days of comics?
The preview is presented as a flipbook, with The Defenders on one side and the Avengers story on the other. Both include an excerpt but most of the real estate of both sides are interviews with the creators.
Starting with The Defenders we don’t even get pages of the first issue. Instead it’s an excerpt from Fear Itself #7, which means you aren’t really seeing what the book being previewed will look like. Instead it’s the Hulk tracking down Nul, a creature that took him over at some point somewhere. It’s not really clear. In the interview portion Fraction just says that Nul “wants to be the Hulk’s Hulk”, what the Hulk turns into when he gets so mad he hulks out, which I would say is the dumbest thing in the preview but then we get a line where he talks about his story idea. “The team is made up of everybody’s favorite characters, too–and the book is very much about them. These wildly divergent, completely amazing Marvel characters sitting together in one room trying to solve a mystery they can’t talk about and save the whole world in the process.” When you have characters like the Hulk, this Nul character that has even more rage issues than even Savage Hulk, Red She-Hulk (basically Bruce Banner’s ex), Doctor Strange, Namor, Silver Surfer, and Iron Fist, sitting around not talking about a problem because that gives Nul power or something sounds right boring.
The odd thing is Fraction is doing all the “talking”. Terry Dodson doesn’t get a solo interview as long as Fraction does, and then they discuss the members Fraction is doing these short paragraphs while Dodson does three to four words like he’s playing word association. Personally I wasn’t impressed with any of it.
The Avengers: X-Sanction side is slightly better in that they actually have an excerpt from the book being promoted, as someone shoots down Falcon while he and Captain America are taking down Whirlwind during yet another prison break. (Geez, how often did the Avengers deal with prison breaks in the 2000s?) It’s beautiful artwork, and of course the inker (if not McGuinness) and colorist aren’t credited. Loeb and McGuiness do their interview together discussing the storyline but it’s not clear why Cable has decided to come back and hunt the Avengers. It might have been tied to Marvel trying to limit the X-Men in the Marvel universe because of the movie rights issues, solved when Disney bought Fox because that’s what they do now, buy out competitors and spit on their animation legacy.
Overall this is not a book you have to do any effort to track down. By now there are other ways to find out if you might want to check out these books in the back issue bin or order the trades. So if you see it don’t think it’s another comic. It’s a flipbook preview with very little comic to it.