Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Fearless Defenders 9, originally released September 11th, 2013.
Taylor: Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Bros before hoes, sisters before misters. Men and women are two different species. Such platitudes have been woven into the fabric of society since the dawn of civilization. Given their age, you might find yourself uttering such phrases during awkward conversations in the lunch room at work because you know they will be accepted with little umbrage. However, that doesn’t make these seemingly innocuous phrases any less offensive or misinformed. While men and women are different in many respects, the truth is they share far more similarities than differences. Some might call this a progressive view, but in reality it’s just a logical one. With that being said, you would think Fearless Defenders, a title which seemingly strives to show that female superheroes are just the same as male superheroes, would champion the similarities between the sexes rather than exaggerate them. But is issue nine, which examines this idea, up to the task?
Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Fearless Defenders 8, originally released August 14th, 2013.
Shelby: Another day in the life of the Fearless Defenders: tracking monsters, fighting crazy mystics, teaming up with alien parasites. All in a day’s work. It’s not all business as usual, with the whole Annabelle and Valkyrie sharing a body situation. While I’m intrigued by what that means for those two, and the rest of the team, I really found the art lacking; for the first time with this title I was really bothered by the way these awesome women are depicted. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Fearless Defenders 7, originally released July 31st, 2013.
Drew: Death is hard to relate to. By it’s very nature, nobody alive has ever experienced it, and people are bad at relating to things that aren’t walking, talking people (which is why we anthropomorphize everything from pets to brave little toasters). It’s no wonder, then, that comics are so notoriously bad at dealing with death — or at least treating dead as dead. Everyone from Superman to Captain America has cheated death, and while we’re often told that it’s “against the rules” to come back from the dead, characters that actually stay dead seem to be the exception, rather than the rule. These days, the death of a character is simply the starting point for the saga of the inevitable return of that character. Fearless Defenders 7 leans heavily into those expectations, but ultimately subverts them, compressing the “saga” into a single issue, and forcing some actual consequences for Annabelle’s death (and resurrection). Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Fearless Defenders 6, originally released July 10th, 2013.
Patrick: Hey guys: GENDER IN COMICS! If there’s one thing we get whipped into a frenzy about on a fairly regular basis over here at Retcon Punch, it’s the portrayal of women in superhero comics. And with good cause: not only is there a decades-long tradition of turning female characters into disposable subjects of the leers and catcalls of male readers, but the inequity between male and female characters continues to this day. When DC relaunched it’s line two years ago, the editors found a home for 4 different past male-Robins, but couldn’t be bothered to include Stephanie Brown in their ranks. Why? The same can be said about Earth’s Green Lanterns: Guy, John, Kyle and Hal were all zipping around the universe, but whither Jade? And even a series like Fearless Defenders, which in 6 issues has only featured one named male character, seems to be plagued with gender problems: occasionally-cheesecakey art; a hysterical, flakey lead; and now the ubiquitous woman in a refrigerator. But it is possible that we put too much responsibility on these all-women series to be paragons of gender equality? Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Fearless Defenders 5, originally released June 5th, 2013.
Drew: Comics love engaging in their own history. Whether they’re rehashing origin stories, resurrecting campy villains, or just making winking nods to their own pasts, comics always find ways to reference their own histories. It makes sense — both creators and fans love comics — but what do you do when the history your referencing isn’t so charming? It’s no secret that comics don’t always have the most enlightened views when it comes to female characters, but what is a writer’s obligation to that history? Should they ignore it? Reclaim it? Embrace it? These are the weird questions Cullen Bunn is forced to address in Fearless Defenders 5, as he blows up the scope to comment on virtually all of Marvel’s female characters. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Fearless Defenders 5AU, originally released May 22nd 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Patrick: I make up our posting schedules around here, so any time you see two of our writers fighting about something, I’m partially to blame to for that. Also when someone is like “I don’t normally read this title, so I don’t know what’s going on or who any of these people are” – that’s my fault too. Our writers are always good sports, though, and I think they all sort of relish the opportunity to say “I don’t have all the information, but here’s what I do know.” And isn’t that the experience of reading superhero comics? It almost doesn’t matter what you’re reading – you’re in the deep end. Throw this whole alternate-alternate timeline from Age of Ultron into the mix and you’ve got yourself a perfect recipe for misunderstanding. Oddly, Fearless Defender’s contribution to this event offers context to both the event and the main series by making explicit connections between the characters that transcend conflicting timelines.
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Fearless Defenders 1-4, originally released February 6th, March 13th, April 10th and May 8th, 2013.
Patrick: The premise of first four issues of Fearless Defenders is simple: Valkyrie was tasked with recruiting eight female warriors from Earth to serve as Shield Maidens of Odin, but she put off making the decision for so long that a handful of undead Doom Maidens have risen to take their place. Now no longer a matter of selecting who would make the best — or most cohesive — unit of Shield Maidens, Valkyrie ends up assembling a crew who can best be described as motley – composed entirely of women. This ends up being the series’ greatest strengths: no top-tier characters, no common theme connecting the cast and no expectations as to what this team is capable of or responsible for. Continue reading →