Marvel NOW!: The Fearless Defenders

From the Fifth Color over at comes this piece on yet another revamp of the Defenders. Honestly, I really really really dug the Matt Fraction run and miss it already. If Cullen Bunn can recapture some of that weird energy we’ll be in a good spot.

I’ll be honest, part of me really wants to curl up in a blanket with a pint of ice cream and bemoan the loss of Avengers Academy, whose final issue came out this week. That Avengers Arena ad in the back the book was a kick in the pants, wasn’t it? It’s sad to think the little book that could, one of the best all-ages titles on the stands, has ended and we may not see its like again in the foreseeable future. It wasn’t a top-selling title but what it lacked in sales it made up for in heartening and brilliant content. Again, I could foist my woes upon you, Dear Reader, but we are trying to live in the NOW (which is a little like the present but just a scooch toward the future), so let’s set aside our sadness and look at a new development this week.

Cullen Bunn will be bringing us the Fearless Defenders in 2013, a team book centered around Valkyrie creating a new team of eight Valkyrior (a cooler way of saying Valkyries) out of existing (and possibly new) Marvel heroines. It’s been a fantastic concept for a team book since Mr. Bunn previewed it in Fear Itself: The Fearless, and I’m happy to see that there was enough interest (from we, the fans) and support (from they, the editorial staff) to see this idea hit print. It’s a cool premise, we’ll see a lot of characters we honestly don’t normally get to and there’s a great overarching purpose to the book to keep it from getting stale.


How will being Fearless help the Defenders, who weren’t exactly timid before? How do we improve on OK? Well, we know that having the trappings of a Defenders book doesn’t exactly qualify you for the spot. Yes, you can have a huge threat bearing down on the universe and yes, you can have a motley bunch of heroes but there’s more to the Defenders and it all rests in the name. They have to defend something, whether that’s personal or professional, the characters need to be personally invested in order to defend what they have. Through most of Fraction’s Defenders run, I as a reader could barely comprehend what was at stake and couldn’t imagine a character like the Red She-Hulk needing to defend anything than her use of a giant sword. Here, with the Fearless Defenders, we already know what is at stake: creating balance. From the scoop at Newsarama:

The basic idea of the book is that Valkyrie is choosing a new team of Valkyrior, and she’s been asked to choose all these women from the heroes of Midgard, instead of from Asgard. She has completely failed in this task. [Laughs.] Valkyrie has been unable to choose anyone that she feels is worthy to be one of the hosts of the shield maidens. So she just hasn’t done it. She’s dropped the ball.

Because she’s not done what she said she would do, nature — or supernature, as it is — abhors a vacuum. The absence of the Valkyrior has opened the door to something terrible. Something awful is waking, and Valkyrie finds that it’s really her fault that she’s put everything at risk.

The Defenders need to defend something: Earth, their personal lives, their own domains, their status as superheroes, something needs to be at risk personally so that it means something to stand up to evil and beat its head in. Now that Valkyrie has put the world at risk by being choosy about her new shield-maidens, she is personally invested in keeping the worlds safe from what she might have allowed in. I can’t guarantee a sure thing, especially not in comics, but from Bunn’s premise, to the wide range of characters he can pull from and unique perspective this book is going to have in a sea of Avengers titles, I’m looking forward to the Fearless Defenders, and I hope you are too.

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