Fearless Defenders #1
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Will Sliney and Veronica Gandini
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by George Marston
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Cullen Bunn's Fearless Defenders has the makings of a great buddy-cop action story, but needs a little more polish to push it above and beyond the typical mold. Anchored by the unlikely but effective pair of Valkyrie and Misty Knight, Fearless Defenders centers on the hunt for strange Asgardian artifacts, crossing the paths of its two heroines, and setting up what could be a pretty ripping cross-dimensional adventure yarn. There are a few bumps in the road, but there's enough fun and potential to make Fearless Defenders worth a read.
Right from the get go, Cullen Bunn does his best to establish Valkyrie and Misty Knight as, for lack of a better term, badasses. What else would you call someone who basically lives in a Slayer song, sticking out her tongue to catch drops of blood as the rain on her face, or someone who uses her bionic Satan Claw to whip through hordes of undead and mercenaries? Bunn's take on the two heroines is exciting, and engaging, and easy to accept, but for those more familiar with the characters, there are a few questions, such as why Misty Knight is in the position that leads to her team-up with Valkyrie. These are questions that aren't biting enough to detract from the amount of fun Bunn is having with the characters, but the hand-waving of small details can quickly lead to a plot that looks like Swiss cheese, if it becomes a crutch.
Fortunately, artist Will Sliney has some serious storytelling chops that give this book some slick panels, and some terrifically engaging pages. His work on Misty Knight's fight scenes, in particular, is really exciting and enjoyable. Sliney's inking is particularly accomplished, and colorist Veronica Gandini has just the right balance of mood and expression to suit Sliney's lines. Sliney does have a few anatomical issues, particularly with occasionally awkward faces, and a specific panel of Misty Knight running, which coupled with Bunn's occasional dialogue snafus, like Misty saying "Makes no never mind to me," lead to small moments that bring the proceedings down, but overall, the storytelling generally makes up for the small missteps in the details.
Fearless Defenders has a hill to climb in this market. Female lead team-up books starring B-Listers are a hard sell, but Bunn and Sliney are on a great path. The relationship between Valkyrie and Misty Knight already has echoes of the unlikely but effective partnership between Iron Fist and Luke Cage, with a spiritually aware warrior playing off of a street-smart brawler. With a little bit of , a little of the , and lots of Marvel charm, there are more than enough hooks to make this book worth your continued attention.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!