I knew she wasn’t dead.  Many fans were up in arms over Annabelle Riggs’ apparent death last issue, but c’mon, one of this series’ other stars, Valkyrie is tasked with escorting souls to the afterlife.  There was no way spunky Annabelle was cooked for good!  In this issue, we catch up with her not fitting in at all in the debauchery that is Viking heaven.

Meanwhile, Valkyrie, remorseful over having killed Annabelle in the first place (she was possessed) sets out to restore her friend and potential romantic partner.  She gets to take out her frustrations on some hapless trolls before being reunited with an ally she and readers haven’t seen in ages!  Ultimately, there is a way to restore Annabelle, but it comes at a cost in one of the most interesting twists I’ve read in a while!  The balance of this book has shifted to say the least.

Stephanie Hans steps in on art chores this month for regular artist Will Sliney and does a fantastic job!  I’ve had issues with the art on this series, but this issue is gorgeous!  Oh Stephanie Hans, please take over this series full time!  Beautiful!  Absolutely!

The story is solid as well.  The twist at the end is really unexpected and that’s always welcome.  I loved the return of a past Defender playing a pivotal role in this story.  With the all-girls premise of this series, there is the natural assumption that this is a clean break from Defenders history, but with Val and this returning character (and possibly Hellcat), this book lives up to its legacy.

I was thrilled when this series was announced, but have been ever so slightly let down once it arrived.  I think this is the most satisfied I’ve been with an issue so far.



Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Stephanie Hans
Cover by Mark Brooks