REVIEW: Fearless Defenders #1
Or – “We’re Almost Out Of 70’s Marvel Heroes To Revive… Have They Done Tagak Yet?”
The last few years at Marvel have been full of interesting takes on heroes, albeit some that just aren’t viable in the long-term. The repeated attempts to revamp Heroes For Hire have established Misty Knight as a badass on a par with her on-again/off-again boy-toy Iron Fist, while the Valkyrie has once again been in the spotlight due to the events of ‘The Fearless.’ Can a girl from New York and a girl from Valhalla make it together in the Marvel Universe? And will we get more Colleen Wing? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Previously, on Fearless Defenders: Brunnhilde has been down a hard road in her time, and is now seemingly the last surviving member of the Valkyrie, the group of warrior women who carried slain Asgardians to their final reward. She’s also an Avenger, a Defender, and one of the few heroes who have been able to shut down Thor and the Sub-Mariner in head-to-head combat. Misty Knight has also been through some stuff, a former cop who lost her arm in the line of duty, fought hordes of ninjers, been to other dimensions, and ramrodded multiple versions of Heroes For Hire. What’s their common link?
A TRULY DISTURBING OPENING…
We open with a brief vignette of the Valkyrie standing on a picturesque hill, closing her eyes and musing upon portents and storms. As the downpour turns to blood, she repeats to herself that all she tastes is rain, and horrified chills run up my spine. Smash-cut to a ship, somewhere in the Atlantic, as a group of pirates finds themselves at the mercy of a lone woman in a wetsuit. Though they get the drop on her, things aren’t always what they seem, as Mercedes “Misty” Knight turns with a smile on her face, and informs them that her ninja-skills are good enough that she probably meant for them to find her, “because I really want to kick your @$$es.” Heh. Bunn has me hooked right there, as the fighty-fighty commences, and Misty escapes with a strange relic from the ship’s cargo. Strangely, someone onboard the ship is named “LeFay,” which might bode ill for our heroes. Artistically, this issue is a triumph, phenomenal work from Will Sliney, as both Valkyrie and Misty maintain their recent looks (Misty’s red jumpsuit and fro from the last H4H, Valkyrie her updated uniform and braids from Secret Avengers and The Fearless) and the combat sequences are amazing. When Misty delivers the Macguffin to her archeologist pal, all hell breaks loose (or at least all Hel does) with Asgardian zombies rising from the Earth to seek vengeance.
“WHY DO YOU TALK LIKE THAT?”
As the Viking zombies start to shamble about, Misty leaps into action, with Valkyrie swooping from the sky moments later. Cullen Bunn cements this book as a contender with a single moment, as the two-heroines end up fighting back-to-back, using Dragonfang and Satan Claw (a version of which Stark Enterprises apparently built into Misty’s latest bionic arm) to take down the monsters, only to stop and question each other’s speech patterns. “Whatever works,” says Misty without missing a beat, to which Val responds, “Verily.” That buddy-cop interaction makes me want to read more of this book, especially if it looks this good. There’s some clever stuff with Misty’s archaeologist friend (and, in her shoes, I might kiss the Valkyrie, too) and the Macguffin inevitably leads to a quest, with the unlikely duo brought together to stop an unspoken mega-doom. I really liked the dialogue, and I have to admit excitement that next issue promises an appearance by Dani Moonstar, former New Mutant, who starred in some wonderful tales back in my early collecting days. Marvel NOW! has been a mixed bag for me, but I’m happy to say that, while I still miss Fraction’s Defenders, getting a title like instead makes the loss less distressing.
THE BOTTOM LINE: THESE SHIELD-MAIDENS ARE COOL!
First issues aren’t easy, but this issue makes you forget that fact. We get some nice mythological background, lovely contrast in characters between the stately Valkyrie and the streetwise Misty, and art that’s flat-out wonderful on every page. Short and sweet, Faithful Spoilerites, Fearless Defenders #1 is pretty cool from every angle, and I encourage you to seek this book out and enjoy its wonder for yourself, awarding it 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. (If you can get it, I recommend the Manara variant cover.)
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!