Or – “An Interesting Start For A New Book…”

A couple of years ago, Marvel put out a book called “Girl Comics,” which featured some of their most recognizable female characters put together by female creators.  While it was a step in the right direction, there were some great flaws in the execution.  This book, while still featuring mostly male creators, features three of Marvel’s most interesting female charactors working together.  Will this issue impress as much as the previous two?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

FearlessDefenders3CoverFEARLESS DEFENDERS #3
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Will Sliney
Colorist: Veronica Gandini
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Ellie Pyle
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Fearless Defenders: The Valkyrie, sometimes known as Brunhilde, was dispatched to Earth in order to find a group of women to serve as her new Valkyrior, but failed in her task, leaving a void in time and space that is being filled by the monstrous Doommaidens.  Now, with the assistance of Misty Knight, Danielle Moonstar, and the resurrected Hippolyta of Olympus, Val scrambles to put things right…


We open with Valkyrie being beaten up by Hela, the Asgardian Goddess of Death, while Hippolyta poses in the background.  The first several pages of the book are dedicated to the lop-sided throwdown between the two, with the Asgardian All-Mother looking on.  There is a truly unfortunate amount of infodump in the first few pages, dealing with Asgardian history, Val’s mission, and the status of the legendar Doommaidens, with some additional information on the resurrection of Hippolyta.  (She died a couple years ago during Incredible Hercules, if memory serves.)  Things pick up just a little bit afterwards, as Annabelle Riggs (normal human archeologist) is named a shield-maiden and thrown into a mission with the experienced warrior-types.  Misty Knight gets a few good lines in, but the balance of the book is put way off in the first half by the length and insistence of the expositionary material.


It all looks really awesome, though, including Hippolyta’s new armor-and-tattoos battle togs, and business picks up as our foursome sets out to find the Maidens.  Of course, the fact that the villain of the piece has already revived all eight of them, leading to a two-on-one fight.  Each Doommaiden gets named, and their gimmick shown to us before the shocking reveal that the villainous monsters recognize Valkyrie as one of their own.  Given the excellence of the previous two issues, the pacing here feels a bit off, with a lot of information and talky-talky packed into it’s 20 pages, a strange town full of super-hero manniquins, and a villain who is evil seemingly for the sake of being pure evil.  At lot of the brilliance is still here, but I’m finding that I love the character-driven bits much more than the plot itself, especially given that Dani Moonstar (ostensibly another new shield-maiden herself) has fewer lines in this issue than any of the eight bad guys.  It looks really good, though, and I’m inclined to give the creators the benefit of the doubt given how strong the launch of this newest Defenders-type title was…


In short, we have a good but not great issue, where the art and dialogue outshine some problems of pacing, leading to an above-average comic book.  The title page is also a hoot, featuring Misty and Val arguing with each other as they explain what has happened thus far, using the best part of the book to great advantage.  With any luck, Hippolyta’s character solidifies into something that’s clearly not Wonder Woman, and we’ll get past the need to explain all the bits and pieces of backstory and back to the fun interactions.  Fearless Defenders #3 dips a bit in terms of structure, but still delivers a solid punch, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  (I’m also watching to see how consistent Hippolyta’s new tattoos end up being…)

Rating: ★★★½☆


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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


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