FEARLESS DEFENDERS #9
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Will Sliney
Release date: September 11, 2013
Take any ’90s sitcom, add in a dose of old school Defenders and combine that with an over-the-top action adventure movie and you have the recipe for the latest issue of Fearless Defenders. In order to truly enjoy this series there are many traditional team-comic-book conventions that you have to set aside. Once that is done you can laugh, laugh harder, then slap your knee and chuckle with glee as it all wraps up for the next edition.
This issue pokes fun at the classic Defenders team, who are looking to push the girls into disbanding their newest little endeavor. Meanwhile, the girls are once again taking care of business. There is a combination of word-play, call-backs and character references that bring continuous chuckles from the guys who are basically sitting on their butts drinking, while the women save the world. It’s a combination that creates a feeling like you’ve gathered around your television on a Thursday/Friday night during ABC’s or NBC’s high points for sitcom ratings. It also makes you second guess, analyze and (probably) over-think gender dynamics in superhero comics. Plus, seeing Caroline LaFey’s little group showing what they can do in battle is never a dull moment.
Now the assumptions you need to discontinue to get full laughs:
First, there is an assumption in a team book that each character will get an arc, an issue or continuing plot to create a long payoff of character development. Throw that out the window. So far the only really people who have taken center stage are Valkyrie, Misty and Annabelle. (This is just from what I see BUT…) there seems to be this idea out there that anyone joining these three characters is going to be fully developed with each introduction and have major back-story or development happening. You cannot do that, because then you, the reader, are creating too big of a main cast. Supporting characters have are coming along for the ride, enjoy their presence.
Don’t look at the cast as being too big, but at the relationships between the characters. Just like someone’s personality is not created in a vacuum, neither is a single character.
Finally, everyone looks for the art to be anatomically sound… or at least make sense. However, at this point, it is apparent that the over-the-top combination of fight scenes throughout many issues seem to be more about poking at the genre, than taking itself seriously.
This might seem like some hefty apologetic talk for a comic, but hey, laugh with it. Heck, at this point, laugh at it. It’s fun.