Fearless Defenders is a new series in the Marvel NOW universe, written by up and coming scribe, Cullen Bunn. It features the characters Valkyrie, Misty Knight, Moonstar, Hippolyta and newcomer Annabelle Riggs. Zombies, evil Demi-Gods known as Doom Maidens, and a roaring good time is found within a book that is putting the fun back into comics.
Before I get you excited about this wonderful story, I must first point out the covers. If you haven’t seen them, I have them here for you. The covers are gimmicky and flash back to a lot of our childhoods, and are created by Mark Brooks. He does a fantastic job each month adding something new to the book. One of the exciting elements to the covers is that the characters featured on it are included in the story. This series is slated to have a rotating roster, yet is set to be an all female cast. I’m seriously exicited for this element and future covers Mark Brooks intends on creating.
Cullen Bunn, also known for The Sixth Gun, Venom, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe and Wolverine, has approached this series in a very interesting way that as I’ve mentioned is bringing fun back to comics. His writing is very casual, yet engaging at the same time. If a character is yet to be introduced in that issue, he will have a cute note introducing the character for the sake of new readers, and in a surprisingly twist on character development. Though these notes are never super serious, it is just another layer to place upon the story, and the characters they represent, as it can be their mood, or their thoughts on a location, their comfortablity, or thoughts on other characters. An example of this is one page introduces Valkyrie where she is in a diner having breakfast with the team and her subnote is; “Valkyrie. A…Uhm…Valkyrie. Not really a breakfast person,” or “Misty Knight. Bionic Private Investigator. Doesn’t recognize the existence of decaf.” Cullen braving the use of non-mainstream characters and throwing them into a team book, and pulling it off is worth commending.
Will Sliney is on art duties in this book, and it’s his break into mainstream comics. He has worked previously with Boom on Farscape, and Image on MacGyver: Fugitive Gauntlet. The art flows nicely, is a bit pervy which has raised eyebrows, but being a female team book, with two guys working on it, I think fun will be had. However, Will doesn’t make the Fearless Defenders wear what I call, “slut armor.” The girls are covered appropriately respectfully, and yet still manage to be sexy and powerful. I salute Will for being tasteful in his approach.
This book currently has four issues out, and I am amazed at the quality of the overall effort supplied by all involved. The story involves Misty Knight doing some investigating, running into Mercenaries and finally Valkyrie, to battle zombie Asgardians. We find out Valkyrie has been shrugging off some of her responsibilities and is responsible for the coming apocalypse, not just for Earth, but all Realms. The only fault is the weak return of the Amazon Hippolyta, who is now known as Warrior Woman, and the constant reminder that Moonstar is a depowered mutant, only to have her turn into a Shield Maiden at will without much explanation may confuse newer readers.
A violent book, with horror elements and a bit fantastical, I would recommended this for teens and up. This is steadily climbing my must read list, and I can’t wait to see more of the Fearless Defenders as they battle the Doom Maidens!
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