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The Fearless Defenders #1

The Fearless Defenders #1 cover

Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Will Sliney
Colored by Veronica Gandini
Lettered by Clayton Cowles

Somewhere in the Marvel universe, someone is plotting something eeeeevil involving some ancient Norse zombies that look like they walked right out of Skyrim. And it's up to Misty Knight and the Valkyrie to stop it...

I had passed on this the first time I saw it at the comic shop. But Valkyrie was actually one of my favorite Marvel characters when I was a kid, and this got a positive review from my buddy Dan, so I grabbed a copy on my next trip. I'm not so sure it was worth it.

Obviously this is the first part of a "getting the bad together" story, but it's painfully slow. At the end of the issue we've had two big fight scenes but still only have two heroes on the team, and the bad guy doesn't have a name or a plan or a motivation. It's all mildly diverting but there's not really anything here that would get me to return for a second issue.

And the art is only mediocre.

The Fearless Defenders #1, p. 17

The Fearless Defenders #1, p. 17

I can see that Will Sliney is trying to capture sort of crazy, crude Kirbyesque energy with his drawings and panel compositions. But his approach is far too grounded and realistic to pull it off.

Just look at that lower left panel of Valkyrie bashing a draugr's head in with an axe. The perspective is totally off. Someone who approached this with a more geometric, abstract approach like Tom Scioli could totally pull this crazy camera angle and its inherent inconsistencies and make everything seem action-packed. But because everything seems far too grounded the characters just seem (unintentionally) distorted and we become painfully aware that the perspective just doesn't work.

Then, in the next panel the foreshortening isn't extreme enough, to the point where everything is obviously distorted but in a way that doesn't lend the panel any more depth or action. It's just a really weird choice.

I also find the change to Valkyrie's costume baffling. I can understand the idea behind modifying her toropedo tits bustier, which is a dated look. And i can even undestand the idea of adding more decorative mdeallions in an attempt to mimic Thor's design and tie the two characters more closely together. But giving them that much depth is just... unsettling. It's like she has a pair of backup mini-breasts. Or dugs. Not flattering. And removing every other aspect of her column, like the distinctive belt buckle, just makes her a generic girl in blue spandex.

Mild recommendation to avoid.

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