The Defenders return to tell Doctor Stranges “last adventure” this summer

Update: Following a teaser of a new Defenders story pitting the so-called ‘non-team’ against the omniscient Beyonder, complete with animated art (seen below), Marvel Comics has unveiled the details of Defenders: Beyond, a new five-issue limited series from writer Al Ewing and artist Javier Rodriguez, following up their previous Defenders limited series.

In Defenders: Beyond, Doctor Strange – who is currently dead – sends a summons to assemble a new Defenders team from the afterlife, whatever that looks like for Strange. The new team will consist of Blue Marvel, America Chavez, Taaia (Galactus’ mother), Tigra, and a Loki variant based on Ewing’s own Loki: Agent of Asgard title.

“It’s great to be co-storytelling with Javier again on another Defenders book – he’s more than an artist, he’s the other half of the equation. There’s no Defenders without him,” states Ewing. 

“And of course, we had to go even bigger – so in this book, we’re going on a magical journey into the Mystery itself, mapping the Marvel Godhead and bringing back knowledge that ties into what has gone before, some seismic things to come… and if we’re lucky, maybe a little off-the-page magic to feed your hungry head.”

Defenders: Beyond #1

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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According to Ewing, Defenders: Beyond will tell the story of Stephen Strange’s “final spell,” which will wrap up what Ewing describes as “ten years” of plotlines relating to the tale.

“We’ve got an eclectic new crew of Defenders chosen for the task by the final spell of Stephen Strange – I’m saying what’s probably a final goodbye to a lot of stuff from the past ten years with this one, and for at least one character, this will be the last adventure,” Ewing concludes. “Hope you survive the psychedelic experience, pilgrim!”

Defenders: Beyond #1 will go on sale June 16. Stay tuned to Newsarama for Marvel’s full June 2022 solicitations coming later this month.

Original story follows…

The Defenders are returning in a new series starting this June – though details are scarce, thanks to the typically mysterious nature of Marvel’s announcement of the return of the Doctor Strange led so-called ‘non-team’.

The Defenders recently starred in a limited series courtesy of writer Al Ewing and artist Javier Rodriguez, with the final page of the last issue, January 19’s Defenders #5, promising “The Defenders will return” – which means we now at least know when that return is coming.

Along with simply teasing the arrival of an “unexpected foe” for the Defenders “from beyond”, the cryptic teaser includes art from Ron Lim showing the Beyonder in his original Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars armor, with a dome bearing an Omega symbol over his head. 


(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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An animated GIF version of the art included with Marvel’s announcement transforms this version of the Beyonder into one more recognizable, removing the dome from his face and showing a version of the omniscient villain as he appeared in his human form in Secret Wars II (’80s Jheri curl and all). You can see the transforming art right here.

As for the Omega symbol on the helmeted version of the art, it could symbolize a few different things. In Marvel lore, there’s no direct connection between the symbol and the Beyonder (unlike at DC where Darkseid is directly associated with the ‘Omega Force’). But a semi-obscure Marvel Comics hero called Omega the Unknown recently made his return in the pages of the Darkhold: Omega one shot.

Though Omega the Unknown and the Beyonder aren’t directly connected, Omega does have a long history with the Defenders. Perhaps plot elements from the recently wrapped Defenders limited series and Darkhold event will come together for June’s new Defenders story.

Whatever the case, Marvel promises more information about the new Defenders title coming on March 10 – so keep your eyes peeled here as the story breaks.

Defenders returning in June puts the title hot on the heels of new launches for Savage Avengers and Thunderbolts in May. Stay tuned to Newsarama for Marvel’s full June 2022 solicitations coming later this month.

The Defenders’ odd history leaves them just short of making Newsarama’s list of the best superhero teams of all time

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