Brunhilde the Valkyrie was tasked with recruiting a new Valkior made up of the female heroes of Midgard (Earth), but she dragged her feet, unsure of what actions to take, allowing the fearsome Death Maidens to be released instead. And, oh surprise, Brunhilde was a Death Maiden at one point. (Being immortal, one forgets things.) Brunhilde has been joined by cyborg private eye Misty Knight, civilian archaeologist Annabelle Riggs and Wonder Woman… er, I mean Hippolyta, a.k.a. Warrior Woman. (More on that in a sec.)
Noticing Valkyrie’s hesitation, Misty taps into her resources and calls upon Marvel’s A-List of female heroes to step in and assist them against the Death Maidens. (It’s pretty much all the ladies on the cover… really, Tigra, Black Cat and Hellcat on one team?) Most of these ladies will probably not stick around for good. Storm, Spider-Woman, Black Widow and Captain Marvel are occupied in their team books. But a few of these, like the under-utilized Tarantula and Thundra may end up being permanent fixtures on this team. It was also nice to see Misty reunited with her longtime partner Colleen Wing, although it wasn’t entirely amicable.
I wish I could be as excited about this book as I was for X-Men. Dumping a dozen new characters into the mix was perhaps a way to satiate fans who were waiting for bigger names to show up in and each character gets a line or two to distinguish them. It was nice that Captain Marvel is depicted as being grounded, which reflects the events in her own book where she is currently unable to fly.
Will Sliney was born to draw disgusting, giant monsters. The Death Maiden’s grotesque steeds look fantastic. Alas, I am not as enthusiastic about the rest of his artwork. His anatomy is a tad off. The inks are too heavy. His story telling is nice, though. I don’t love the artwork, but I’ve seen worse.
The plot was a bit thin, as this was mostly a big fight scene, but there was an obvious effort made to distinguish the various characters. I don’t quite get “Warrior Woman” a.k.a. Hippolyta the queen of the Amazons. She is clearly a rip-off of Wonder Woman. (In DC Comics, Hippolyta is Wonder Woman’s mother.) She has the same power set. In the “Age of Ultron” tie-in issue, she is even shown throwing the eagle on her mask like a boomerang, the same way Wonder Woman throws her tiara. I’m just not sure why Marvel (or writer Cullen Bunn) felt that they needed a “Wonder Woman.” They already have some pretty big name female heroes with similar powers, such as She-Hulk and Captain Marvel. (As if that weren’t bad enough, Black Cat is shown slinging a whip, a la Catwoman.)
I want to love this series, but honestly, it’s just okay. Maybe once the full team is assembled and solidified, things will take off.
THE FEARLESS DEFENDERS #5
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Will Sliney
Cover by Mark Brooks