Review: Fearless Defenders #6 by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney

Fearless Defenders #6

Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art by: Will Sliney
Colored by: Veronica Gandini
Lettered by: VC’s Clayton Cowls

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $2.99

Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from Marvel on Comixology.

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Summary (contains spoilers): Over the last few issues, we had found out that Valkyrie had been tasked with gathering a group of female warriors on Earth to serve as Shieldmaidens. She basically got distracted from this task, which allowed a force of zombie Asgardians called the Doom Maidens to create some serious mayhem under the command of Caroline LeFay and the mysterious Mister Raven. Misty Knight ends up going out herself and “hiring” a bunch of female heroes to step in and fight. Last issue ended with us finding out that Valkyrie herself was once the Doom Maiden of Rage.  She ends up getting overcome with this Rage again, and is about to thrown down with all the gathered heroes.

This issue starts with giving us some background. Odin had recruited Valkyrie as one of his Shield Maidens back in ancient Asgard. During one mission out in space, the Shieldmaidens encountered something that changed them into Doom Maidens, Valkyrie included. Odin himself had to take them all down. He was torn up by how far his Shieldmaidens had fallen, so…

Misty and her gathered heroes do the best they can to subdue Valkyrie, but it is a losing battle. Dr. Annabelle Riggs, a human archaeologist who had kind of fallen for Valkyrie, stands tall, trying to force Valkyrie to remember who she is.

Annabelle manages to convince Valkyrie to release the rage, but in one last act of spite, Doom Maiden Valkyrie kills Annabelle.

Valkyrie returns to the other heroes, carrying Annabelle’s body and saying how her strength and bravery served as a beacon to bring her back from the darkness. She talks some about the future and what needs to happen next. We catch some glimpses of female heroes banding together again in the future (including Songbird!!):

She says these women are needed as Defenders. Misty floors Valkyrie with a punch and tells her to “Go #$%@ herself!”

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Caroline LeFay and Mister Raven are looking at files of villains like Mystique, Lady Deathstrike, Enchantress, Shriek, and Titania, looking to choose new Doom Maidens.

Review: I don’t want to rant too much, but it really bums me out that Fearless Defenders isn’t even in the top 100 comics from June according to Diamond’s sales figures. As much as people want to complain about crossovers and overplayed, stale characters, the top books are things like Superman Unchained (dumbest title ever) and Age of Ultron. The only ray of hope in the top 25 to me is Kick Ass. Meanwhile, unique, great books like Morbius and Fearless Defenders just can’t seem to find an audience.

Frankly, until readers start putting their money where their mouth is and getting outside their comfort zone a little more, they are going to continue to be bombarded with crossovers and the same old shit month after month.  Of course Marvel and DC are going to do things like Infinity, Inhumanity, Forever Evil, and Trinity Wars. It’s guaranteed cash. On the one hand, it does give them a little more leeway to take some risks on books like Fearless Defenders or Morbius, but until the readership actually TRIES THOSE BOOKS, there isn’t much of a chance of them surviving all that long.

Back to the book at hand, I want to give Fearless Defenders some credit for having such cool covers. This issue featured a very cool homage to old school comics, even going so far as to made the edges look frayed and worn.

In the past, we’ve also gotten designs that homaged: Paper Dolls:


Action figures:

And next issue’s cover appears to be Under Construction:

Fearless Defenders cover artist Mark Brooks is doing some really amazing work here, and I am always excited to see what he is going to come up with next.

But, this book is about more than just creative covers. While I did think this series had a bit of a unsteady start, it had course corrected pretty quickly. By the time we reached issue 6, it was completely smooth sailing.  Even though this book has featured a lot of characters (and seems like it will be doing that quite often), each character is given plenty of panel time and stands out. It is a great testament to Cullen Bunn’s talent how sad I felt at the end of this comic. Even in just a few comics, I had really started to become a fan of Dr. Riggs. What she does in this issue and how it affects the other characters was by far the most powerful moment in any comic I read this week.

This issue did start a little exposition heavy, but it worked well and didn’t take away from the rest of the comic. It built up the anticipation on Valkyrie’s attacks on the heroes perfectly.

And I am very excited to see Songbird in an upcoming story!  MAKE THAT HAPPEN, MARVEL!!!

Along with the great writing, Will Sliney manages to draw some strong, beautiful female characters without ever really getting into cheesecake territory. And the action scenes in Fearless Defenders are as exciting and brutal as any other comic out there.

Yawn. I get tired of repeating myself, but here goes: Fearless Defenders and Morbius are the two best books you are not reading. Put down those crossovers you are always complaining about, and try something new. You’ll thank me later.

Final Score: 8.5: A real unexpected and powerful ending to Fearless Defenders first arc. This is one of the most original books out there right now…and no one is reading it.

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