Reading Defiant

DEFIANT and Broadway Comics, created by Jim Shooter after VALIANT in the 1990s.

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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:09:42 pm
Valiant fan since: 1994
Favorite character: Solar
Favorite title: 90s Shadowman
Location: PA
Reading Defiant

Post by SwiftMann »

Jim Shooter’s crazy universe after being bounced from Valiant. It was bold in its story, its marketing, and its approach but in the end didn’t really come together before the money ran out.

The majority of the titles and issues break down to one of two plots, intro and pre-Schism. The first is the set-up of Warriors of Plasm #0-7 (plus the one-shot) and Dark Dominion #0-3, which occur in story timelines between October 1993 and early January 1994. The second is the build up to Schism, which includes WoP #8-12, DD #4-10, Good Guys #1-9, Charlemagne #0-5, War Dancer #1-6. The events of these 35 issues take place over just three weeks with characters and plot points constantly shifting from title to title. Everything else seems to occur after the unpublished Schism event.

Birth of the Defiant Universe & Defiant Genesis / Origin of the Defiant Universe – Very solid primers for what was to come, particularly Birth. These show that most everything was pretty well laid out in advance.

Warriors of Plasm #0-13 - The keystone book of the Defiant universe. This definitely took a couple issues to get into since they were setting up an entirely new type of lifeform, societal hierarchy, and language. I got hits of Nexus in some world building and politics created here. There seemed to be a few issues where a few details were skipped, almost like they had spent so much time hashing it out in the planning they forgot to include it in the actual book. Other than that, this was a strong title for Defiant. #13 was a fascinating look into what could have been with Schism.

Splatterball - The only issue I don’t have and/or couldn’t find online.

Dark Dominion #0-10 - This was easily my favorite Defiant series. The idea that the things we think we see out of the corner of our eye are real and just live in a slightly different frequency of our world and cause our stress and doubt was fascinating. I really enjoyed the main character and his trips to McDonald’s and Mercy the homeless lady. What could have been an overly trite character in the Puritan was enjoyable.

Charlemagne #0-5 - A powerful series start with #1 that wasn’t really matched afterwards due to the series shifting to setting up Charles’ role in Schism.

Good Guys #1-9 - The same two or three plot points are repeated for ten horrible issues. Grey’s artwork on #1.5 has some great detail. That never happens again and is grossly lacking in details. The stories are just stupid and come off as pre-teen wish fulfilment. I really hated this series.

War Dancer #1-6 - A truly odd, quircky idea of a character made even more madcap by throwing professional wrestlers into the mix. I didn’t care for Alan Weiss art very much at all though and the writing on this got fairly repetitive. The reveal and connection to Plasm in #4 was quite compelling though.

Schism #1-4 - The plot notes available on the Unofficial Defiant Reading Room were pretty well done. It would have been fun to see Lapham bring this to life.

Dogs of War #1-5 - A spin-off for two of the human characters from Plasm that quickly became about just one of them essentially going Punisher on everything. There was zero point to this book.

Prudence and Caution #1-2 - This, like Dogs of War, quickly lost its titular point. Add to that the fact that I’ve never been a Jim Fern fan and this was a big miss for me. After two issues, I’m not sure where Claremont was planning to go with this series but it seemed like he was going to make Rick and Pru an item. Which seems wrong headed.

Grimmax #0 - A silly short story of Grimmax as an NYC bike messenger. I doubt this would have compelled anyone to check out Defiant, but since it was one of the later freebies it probably didn’t matter.

Glory #0 - A sweet story of Glory dealing with being needed on both Plasm and Earth. I really like this as the last issue of the entire run.

There was a truly entertaining and original idea behind the Defiant universe, but I can’t help but feel Shooter & Co made everything about it overly convoluted. From the zero issue card sets to all the titles effectively being one story with no map provided Defiant didn’t make it easy on readers.

While Shooter steered the ship on most titles there was a crazy amount of writer, artist, and editorial turnover in the one year of publishing. Oddly, the coloring approach gave everything a sameness that was kind of meh, until the one issue colored by Digital Chameleon late in the run and suddenly I missed the “painted” look of the coloring.

Defiant may never have survived all the obstacles thrown their way, but I can’t help but think if they had just Warriors of Plasm and Dark Dominion and one other title they may fared better. With WoP being the imaginary side and DD being the Earth side and the two slowly coming together (as they started off doing), a third title, whether Charlemagne/Dancer combo or an anthology of some kind, focusing on the other characters it would have felt far more cohesive and Schism could have simply taken place in the issues themselves.
"If you think any of these [older comics/shows/movies] do not carry a political content and is not using the medium of science fiction to explore real-world ideas, than you have not been paying attention." - Dan Abnett, VCR #246

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