I can’t believe it’s over so soon!  ‘The Fearless Defenders’ started off a little rocky, but the creators, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Will Sliney, eventually found their footing and this book has been pretty consistently great in the past few months.

Here the team finally, officially comes together.  Misty points out that Valkyrie was supposed to assemble either Shieldmaidens but that since Val and Annabelle Riggs now occupy the same body, that they were one hero short.  They wind up recruiting a girl named Frances who insists that she’s not a hero, but Misty insists they need her unique talents.

The new fully formed team then jet off to South America to foil the plans of Caroline LeFay, who has menaced this team almost from the beginning, even forming her own team of evil Shieldmaidens made up of female villains.  We gain a little more insight into Annabelle’s earlier resurrection, which has caused a rift between her and Valkyrie.

Finally we get the big throwdown between the two groups of Shieldmaidens, with the issue capping with a surprise return of a previously deceased villain.  And we learn who this mysterious Frances really is and she’s a familiar face in the Marvel Universe.

Like I said, this creative team really hit its stride.  Sliney’s art is the best its been so far.  He clearly poured his all into this final issue, with sweeping two page spreads and even experimenting with a different style in a flashback sequence.  Even the detailing as far as faces and such are upped from previous issues.

And the writing is just as solid.  It felt a tiny bit rushed, but the book was cancelled suddenly, so there was a lot that had to be crammed into this issue.  But there still is a nice balance between action and character development, with Valkyrie and Annabelle’s currently contentious relationship playing a key role.  There’s so a bit of advancement in Annabelle’s fledgling relationship with new hero Ren.

I’m really going to miss this book.  It had a nice mix of interesting characters, many of which haven’t even had a chance to shine.  The team is left intact at the end, though, so hopefully that leaves the door open for them to return at some point.  As it states when the team strikes a pose after their battle “The Fearless Defenders, The Most Fabulous Fighting Team Of All.”  You won’t get an argument from me!  Here’s hoping for a swift return.  And because this is the last time I get to review it, and the creators went above and beyond, I’m giving it…



Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Will Sliney
Cover by Mark Brooks