The New Marvel: ‘The Fearless Defenders’

The New Marvel is a series that looks at the changes that the mega-comic empire made following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men and the impact that those changes have on the stories of Marvel NOW! Six issues (or more) into each Marvel NOW! title, we see what our favorite characters are up to and what to keep an eye out for in the future.

It isn’t unusual for a group of superheroes to come together in a time of crisis, but this time it is very different. Facing a threat from ancient Asgard, the shieldmaiden Valkyrie, escort of the honored dead and leader of the Valkyrior, brings together her fellow female superheroes to take on the enemy, even though they don’t know what it is yet. Throughout their struggle, they come face-to-face with a chilling aspect of Valkyrie’s past that could change the world as we know it. Determined not to give in, to protect the innocent, and to stand side-by-side in battle, these women are none other than the Fearless Defenders.


Covering Issues #1-8

It isn’t the first time there’s been an all-female team, but it is rather rare in mainstream comics. At the most there’s been an even distribution of male and female superheroes, though most teams seem to favor a predominately male-focused roster, so I was very interested when I learned about this team of women. The initial storyline is superb in some ways, though sorely lacking in others. Bunn has a great way of telling the deep emotions of team members, especially Valkyrie and Annabelle, as well as showing the bond and connection between the teammates when trouble comes a-calling, but I do believe that he put a bit too much in the way of the action sequences. Yes, this is a superhero comic, action is sort of required, but there were times when the action scenes felt a bit overwhelming and that there weren’t enough emotional entanglements during the battles that really make superheroes identifiable to people. For the most part, though, the close connection between the characters made the comic worth reading, but I do believe that it could have been much better.

The one thing I really do not enjoy about the series is how Marvel once again defies all logic and brings characters back to life, be they heroes or villains. Normally, this has been reserved for the big-name people, such as Johnny Storm or Victor von Doom, but it appears now that even the second and third-tier superheroes are becoming part of this ever-growing list. Being an iconic individual who defies death time and again is fine and is part of the core basis of what makings the comics so captivating, but when someone dies they really should just stay dead, or at the very least bring back some none-centric characters. Why can’t “Random Passer-By A” who got crushed by a falling Skrull assault vehicle come back? I can understand why bringing people back to life is quite specific to a title’s plot (or at least the issues shown thus far), but it really has become something of a ridiculous trope in comics these days.

In the future I would like to see just what being titled a Fearless Defender means to these superheroes. Based on what I’ve seen of other Defenders, there’s no real relation to who they were and what this team is other than the name. I’m reminded of an old, 1980s cartoon, Defenders of the Earth, in which a group of heroes “defended” the Earth from enemies both foreign and domestic.  I believe that something like that could happen here, too, but aren’t the Fantastic Four, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men, and the Avengers already doing that job? While it is good for this group to enter the halls of superheroing along with these rather iconic teams, surely there’s more to do as a Defender than what everyone else is doing. I certainly hope they learn to branch out and find their own niche without falling into the same rut everyone else has. Dare to be different, please.

Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 16:28

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