Defenders was a bit more straightforward this issue than some of the recent ones, which was definitely a good thing. I think the title suffered for a bit from trying to be too chaotic or cryptic or strange. Also, the return of Terry and Rachel Dodson on art duties didn't hurt one bit. They really knock it out of the park with Black Cat, most notably when she crashes through a window and falls through the sky trying to figure out how to work a Satan Claw. Also, the Dodsons' John Aman is appropriately creepy, as is the two-page spread of his kingdom, Z'Gambo. Even though the name McKelvie can only bring me joy, I am a little sad to see the Dodsons return and then depart again so quickly, because they're just the ideal artists for this book in my mind.
The story, as I said, is fairly direct. The details learned from last issue lead our heroes to take action against John Aman, while Black Cat is hired by a mysterious group called The Antiquarians to go after Aman for their own purposes. All of this sets us up for a Wakanda-Z'Gambo war, a war which The Defenders essentially caused by asking for Wakanda's assistance, and will now no doubt be right in the middle of, along with Black Cat, who knows basically nothing about what she's heading into.
Black Cat is by far the best part of the story as well as the art, and I look forward to seeing her playing at a level of power she's maybe not used to. Red She-Hulk also continues to be one of the most entertaining characters, even though we've seen perhaps the least of her so far. She's definitely a part of the two funniest moments in this issue.
Matt Fraction has a clear affinity for his cast and a passion for the larger story he's telling about these mysterious engines, but sometimes in his enthusiasm I think he lets it all get away from him. Not the case this time out, where we get something that feels like a classic superhero tale, while remaining a bit more nuanced than that.