The Fearless Defenders #4 Mark BrooksI seriously wanted to cut out the Valkyrie paper doll and clothes on this cover to see if it all really fit together, but I held back because then… I’d just have a ruined comic.  Or a killer paper doll.  Depends on how you look at it.

At any rate the Death Maidens, the precursors to the Valkior, have returned and boy are they nasty!  But is Brunhilde one of them?  It certainly seems that way.  Having freed Dani Moonstar, the heroes put up a fight but must ultimately flee, to the chagrin of the battle-hungry Hippolyta.  Mastermind Caroline LeFay is confident that the Death Maidens will find their quarry though.

Brunhilde struggles with the thought that she may in fact be a Death Maiden and experiences… a vision?  A memory?  Ultimately, she rouses herself and goes to face the Death Maidens, taking Hippolyta and Moonstar with her.  In a lovely development, Valkyrie states, “They’ll catch up to me, and when they do…” Misty Knight instantly replies, “Don’t worry, I know what to do.”  Just last issue they were like oil and water and now they’re finishing each other’s thoughts.  Awww!

The story is great and all, but the character interaction is what sells this book.  There’s a quiet, awkward moment between Valkyrie in a moment of weakness and non-super Annabelle Riggs, who seems to be crushing hard on this goddess, that strikes a sympathetic nerve.  Hippolyta serves as the brash, confrontation member, always an amusing cast addition.  And Misty is calm, cool and badass, as usual.  There’s even a throwback to her former series “Heroes For Hire” which is a nice touch of overall continuity.

Sadly, Will Sliney’s art is still hit or miss for me.  The scene of the Death Maidens riding monstrous creatures?  Gorgeous!  Shot of Valkyrie wielding her sword after dispatching some Death Maidens?  Off.  Overall it’s solid.  It’s good.  (I can’t draw a lick!)  But there are just a few instances of weakness that dampen the experience a tad.  I guess it’s just inconsistent– sometimes great, sometimes weak, mostly decent.  Hopefully, with time things will even out more.

I wanted to absolutely love this book from the first issue and I didn’t.  But I stuck with it and over the course of four issues, it’s really starting to grow on me.  It’s not perfect… yet, but I think as things unfold, I’ll continue to like it more and more.  The character development is the main attraction.  The art isn’t flawless, but I have certainly seen much worse.  I think this book is just gelling over time and I must admit, I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

 

THE FEARLESS DEFENDERS #4
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Will Sliney
Cover by Mark Brooks