Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A few Defenders previews

As is standard when I complete a full set of Essential volumes for any particular series and/or character, it's time to take a look at any later issues reprinted in other volumes. For the New Defenders there's one and a quarter issues, a somewhat unusual arrangement.

New Defenders #145 and the first six pages of #146 written by Peter Gillis (all) and drawn by Don Perlin (#145) and Luke McDonnell (#146), reprinted in Essential Ghost Rider volume 4

These issues take place in the aftermath of a big battle and see the New Defenders recovering from their injuries and apparent losses. In the course of this an examination of Cloud suggests there is something non-human about her body yet a soldier has a newspaper clipping about a girl resembling Cloud being involved in a car accident. Amidst all this Johnny Blaze, now free of the Ghost Rider, and his girlfriend Roxanne Simpson visit his old Champions comrades to catch up and ask for a loan. Now free of all his demons, not just the ones with blazing skulls, Johnny has an optimistic outlook on life and contributes to persuading the New Defenders to not disband. The second issues is cut short as Johnny and Roxanne head off.

The partial inclusion of the second issue is to allow the volume as a whole to end on a good moment, this serving as a happily ever after epilogue to the Ghost Rider's own series. Otherwise this is a downtime moment for the team as they lick their wounds and face the future with depleted numbers, as well as advancing a number of subplots such as Andrea, a mysterious woman in New York, Cloud's background or Moondragon's continued struggle with the Dragon of the Moon. In isolation this is actually quite a confusing issue and a bit, especially as Johnny and Roxanne's visit is largely incidental to just about everything else.

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