Valkyrie, Misty Knight, Hippolyta, and Dr. Annabelle Riggs are on a mission to rescue Dani Moonstar from the resurrected Doommaidens. And though they have successfully freed Moonstar from her imprisonment, the fight is not necessarily going smoothy. Things take a darker turn when they claim Valkyrie to be their sister. And during the fight, she starts to realize how true they speak. Remembering that she was more than just the first Shieldmaiden, but also the first Doommaiden.
The one thing I believe Cullen Bunn is doing right in scripting this book is making the women very strong without overpowering them. They are of clear mind to understand the situation they are in and properly assess the best course of action to take. Sometimes they don’t like it, such as Hippolyta wanting to stay and fight instead of retreating, but she nonetheless understands that it’s better to do what is necessary to survive rather than desire an impossible glory. I personally haven’t seen too many female characters in comic books who are able to maintain focus and be able to do what is needed to get the job done and get everyone back in one piece. Most are usually portrayed too much as damsels in distress or super strong ladies wanting to prove their worth, neither type being capable of being cool under pressure.
On the other side of the coin, Will Sliney continues to do better and better in illustrating the book. As with the last issue, he tones down the cheesecake a little more and are treated to some very nice action sequences and a few dramatic moments that are pleasant to look at. I particularly like one page where Valkyrie remembers her bloody past and Annabelle attempts to reach out to her. How the whole scene is drawn does a fantastic job of being able to tell so much without having to rely on word bubbles. That’s the mark of a good comic book artist. In coloring the book, Veronica Gandini does not use a lot of shading, which is kind of a detriment in the opening pages. Yet she nonetheless is able to use the right set of colors wisely to make the drawings come to life. The flashback scene of Valkyrie as a Doommaiden facing Odin is a good example of this.
As long as Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney continue to develop the book the way they have been, Fearless Defenders could easily become the smash surprise of the Marvel NOW! initiative. The characters are rich, the action is sweet, the story is interesting, and the art is sweet to look at, even with the cheesecake being toned down. As before, I can’t help but highly recommend readers to check this title out. You just might be taken aback how much fun you will have reading it.
Which Marvel heroine would you like to be seen as a Shieldmaiden? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @LordAkiyama.