We’ve been keeping an eye on Joe Casey's The Last Defenders series since shortly after it was just a twinkle in Casey’s eye, so with the next to last issue hitting this week, it was time to catch up with the writer once again to talk about just what’s going down in the issue.
In preparation for this, Joe shipped us over three exclusive pages from the issue, which show…well, that’s what we’re going to talk to Casey about.
Newsarama: So we're at the penultimate Last Defenders issue, and what've we got? From the preview pages, Kyle's down - but is he out at this point?
Joe Casey: The great thing about Kyle Richmond... throughout his entire life, he's almost always down, but he's never out. Over the course of the series, he's been stripped of everything that means anything to him. We're really breaking him down to see how resilient he truly is. He may not be wearing the Nighthawk cape n' cowl ensemble in this issue, but he's still a hero.
NRAMA: From the pages you're providing, this is Kyle finally meeting the big bad, in this case, Yandroth. It's Dr. No time, and Kyle learns what the whole plan is, right? Hey - what is the whole plan?
JC: Yandroth has had his designs on Kyle from the moment he came into this new quantum awareness trip he's been on since issue #1. The thing about Yandroth as a villain that makes him cool and weird and slightly difficult to write is that he's thinking and scheming and acting on a level that's beyond linear time, far beyond how the rest of us think. And, as part of his coolness and weirdness, he's clearly exploiting Kyle to help him take advantage of historical events (or even influence them) for maximum benefit. As it turns out, Kyle is/becomes/was much more involved in the overall history of the Defenders than even he knew.
NRAMA: And the big head shaped thing Kyle lands in front of?
JC: Let's just say that longtime Defenders fans might be able to recognize this particular location. At least, I hope they do. It definitely ties in with a specific point in their history.
NRAMA: What's Yandroth talking about when he mentions someone not being the "True" Defenders? It's a weird tense to be using if he's taking to Kyle about his team...
JC: Who said he was talking about Kyle's team? Actually, when readers see exactly who he is talking about, it'll come across as even more incendiary. But y'know what? I welcome the controversy. Feel free to send your hate mail to editor Steve Wacker, c/o Marvel Entertainment.
NRAMA: Speaking of controversy - the Squadron Sinister - but they're...green and gross. Are these the originals?
JC: One thing some readers may have forgotten is that Kyle started out as a super-villain, and the Squadron Sinister was his original team. And the nature of Yandroth's powers -- coupled with the nature of this particular location -- make it possible to pull skewed versions of these classic bad guys from across multiple dimensions. Not only that, these guys are -- in a strange way -- manifestations of Kyle's own inner demons. Yes, it's true... the man has inner demons. And we're going to exploit the shit outta' them for the sake of mass entertainment!
NRAMA: Any last teases for this week's #5?
JC: The last page of the issue is really what we've been building toward for the entire series. Through all the strange lineups and blind alleys that some readers felt we deliberately led them down (oaky, okay, it was so very deliberate), Page 22 of this ish and the entirety of issue #6 is what it's all come down to. No more bullshit. Once and for all, the Last Defenders are ready to rock out with their cock out. Or something like that...