Story by Cullen Bunn
Art by Will Sliney and Veronica Gandini
Review by Mara Wood
Here we are. After twelve issues of Marvel’s female fighting force, we have to say a quick goodbye. This final issue comes much too soon for the Fearless Defenders and gives fans little time to say their goodbyes.
Valkyrie is nearing the end of her collection of Shieldmaidens of Migard. However, there is a slight hiccup: since she and Annabelle share a body, there are technically only seven of the eight required maidens recruited. Leave it up to Misty to locate and hire the eighth maiden, a pleasant surprise for most Marvel fans. The women unleash their strength against the Doom Maidens in an attempt to stop Caroline Le Fay, but it may be too late.
Annabelle and Valkyrie, in the meantime, are having some domestic issues. Sharing a body is a difficult endeavor, especially when the thoughts of one woman can spill into the mind of another. Something the All Mother told Annabelle in confidence has been haunting Valkyrie and forcing her to rethink some of her more distinguishable personality traits. As indicated by the cover (how beautiful is Mark Brooks art?!), the two women offer some degree of comfort to each other as they learn to cope in their new state.
For what it’s worth, Bunn and his team do not wrap the title up in a nice, neat little package. They continue to tell the story they intended to tell through Val and Misty. As a reader, I can respect that decision. It does not compromise the original story or patronize the readers. Sometimes it is healthy to live with some loose ends in life, especially in comics. What we get from this last issue is the idea that Val, Misty, Annabelle, and the rest of the fearsome femmes continue defending earth, regardless if we are there witnessing their accomplishments.
Without Fearless Defenders, there will be a giant hole in the Marvel universe. Hopefully an equally awesome book will swoop in and fill that hole as spectacularly as Fearless Defenders. Fearless Defenders gave us an all-female team book that was not focused on drama, loving dudes, or family. It was a group of hardheaded ladies learning to work together to defend their home. It showed the growth of Valkyrie as she slowly began trusting Misty and the other women she fought with. It showed how jealous some of Marvel’s men were of the powers and teamwork these women had. It showed a HUGE variety of Marvel women without prejudice. It showed us some of the most incredible cover art (the manga cover?! the Street Fighter cover?! the paper doll Valkyrie cover?! All gorgeous. Every last one of them.). In short, Fearless Defenders was a bold, funny book that showed how versatile Marvel women are. I hope to see them sprinkled throughout the Marvel universe more often.
Definitely a must-read for those of you who have kept up with the series. If you have already read it, I would love to know your thoughts. The rest of you – consider picking up the trades. The first one is already available. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to some of the less visible women of Marvel.