Misty Knight successfully takes out a crew of smugglers in the middle of a rainstorm. She begins to investigate the stolen cargo when another group attacks and removes an artifact from the wreckage. Misty manages to escape with a trinket of her own as she meets up with her employer Dr. Annabelle Riggs at an archaeological dig in White Mountain National Forest. As they are examining the trinket, it mysteriously activates and causes the dead vikings in the area to reanimate. Which in turn garners the attention of the last shieldmaiden and defender of Asgardia, Valkyrie.
Fearless Defenders comes in as part of a secondary objective to the Marvel NOW! initiative in developing strong, independent heroines. For a first issue, I think writer Cullen Bunn pulls it off rather well. Misty and Valkyrie are portrayed as legitimate bad-asses, taking on and striking down the opposition in convincing fashion. Both are also fairly no-nonsense, taking a second to poke at how ridicules they sound when they give out their own battle cries when facing the reanimated vikings. Then there’s Dr. Riggs, who displays a great deal of intelligence, but has quite the weakness for powerful blondes like Valkyrie. I imagine there will be some who will object to the concept of a damsel-in-distress lesbian thrown into the mix, but I actually think she makes for a fine comic relief foil, as seen when Misty teases her for swooning and kissing Valkyrie so easily.
Illustrating the book is Will Sliney. Already there are readers who are quick to point out that there are a number of pages where some of the poses the characters display are anatomically incorrect. Take one where Misty gets herself in position before facing off against the entire crew of smugglers. Surely such a pose would break her back. I actually do not find such things to be a problem because the drawings serve to move the action swiftly and with force, which is exactly what Sliney achieves. What really makes the book look great is the coloring by Veronica Gandini. The right tone is used to convey the mood of the scene, but manages to look as crisp and clear so that I know precisely what is going on without needing to do a double take.
So far, I think Fearless Defenders is off to a good start. Cullen Bunn does a fine job in writing female characters who are engaging as well as convincing in their role as heroines. While not entirely on the button with the anatomy, Will Sliney still manages to draw some nice pages that are fully realized with excellent coloring by Veronica Gandini. As long as they can keep up the fun and excitement that is displayed in this first issue, there is a chance this might become a successful series. With that said, I recommend readers check it out and enjoy themselves.
Should I have posted an image of the lesbian kiss? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @LordAkiyama.