Cullen Bunn is quickly becoming my go-to guy for coming up with amazing ideas. His latest comes in the form of The Fearless Defenders, a spin-off of Fear Itself: The Fearless focusing on Misty Knight and Valkyrie featuring art by Will Sliney (of Boom! and Image Comics fame). Boasting an all-female cast, including the first main antagonist, this book is setting out to redefine the “Defenders” titles we’ve grown to know and love over the years (including Matt Fraction’s run that just ended this week). In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Bunn wanted to not only establish an all-female team but wanted to make it something that evolved naturally over time and not rush right into the thick of things.
I didn’t want to go into issue #1 and say, “here is the team.” My goal is to take my time in building this team. I want to build it slowly — even after the first arc, the team will not be formed completely. Instead, I started looking at characters who make sense, and also can be interesting foils for Valkyrie. And that’s when this idea of Misty Knight came up. I put the two of them together in the first issue, and I liked the way they interact so much, and I think they offer something completely different than what you’ve seen before. They became my core team. They’re sort of the window characters — they’re the proxies for our readers. The rest of the team will build around them.”
As to who the rest of the team is, we’ll have to wait and see, but in that same interview he confirmed that Dani Moonstar, of New Mutants fame, will be one of the members that joins early on.
“The third member of the team, who you’ll see really quickly, is going to be Dani Moonstar. She’s an awesome character. She has a fanbase. There are a lot of people who really like Dani Moonstar — I’m one of them. Even better, she has such a connection to the Valkyrie. She was on the top of my list when I started putting together who I thought would be the core roster. I think she also represents what I’m talking about — she has a fanbase, she gets a lot of attention in New Mutants, but New Mutants just came to an end. I think she’s a character who deserves some time in the spotlight, and this will be a different capacity for her as a character. I think you’ll see Dani in a different light, and for so many reasons, she’s a character who deserves that moment to shine.”
Since the book is almost a completely new concept for Bunn, he wanted to make sure to establish original villains as well, instead of just relying on old standards.
“In the first issue I’m introducing a couple of new villains. One of them is, in my mind, the nastiest villain to ever come into the Marvel Universe. She is absolutely ghastly. At her very core, she is a horrible, horrible person, and she is capable of some really deplorable things that we’ll be seeing. We’re creating a new team, and I felt like it would be important to create this mastermind-type character who’s coming in to be the main antagonist for the foreseeable future for the team. She’s not the only villain you’re going to see, and you’ll some other Marvel Universe villains, but she is new, and I wanted people to believe she is a challenge for Valkyrie. Look at Valkyrie — she’s a very powerful character. This woman is definitely going to be a challenge for Valkyrie, and she’s going to be that challenge without having any powers whatsoever.”
At the end, Bunn had this to say, driving home a point that I think everyone should pay attention to:
“I’ve heard, for many years, that a female presence in Marvel books is important. I hear a lot of readers saying that. I also hear a lot of readers saying, “Let’s do something different.” Something that’s not the same old trick. I believe this book answers both of those things. Those are some great reasons for readers to give the book a try, if nothing else.”
The Fearless Defenders #1 will be released in February.