Dr. Strange. The Silver Surfer. The Hulk. Namor. Typically, these are the names associated with the mismatched superhero group the Defenders, often called on to face some of the threats too weird or cosmic for the Avengers. But starting in February, the team is getting a new lineup, as sometime member Valkyrie assumes leadership of a new team with a new mission under writer Cullen Bunn ("The Sixth Gun") and artist Will Sliney ("MacGyver") in "Fearless Defenders".
The book sees the creative tasking the Asgardian with assembling the Earth's strongest women to fight by her side. Her first pick: cyber-armed private eye and sometime Daughter of the Dragon, Knight. Bunn was kind enough to answer a few questions about the new lineup, the new direction of the book, and when we'll see Colleen Wing rejoining her partner in "Fearless Defenders".
MTV Geek: The Defenders has always been an odd, hard-luck team. What was the appeal for you in tackling the book?
Cullen Bunn: When I first pitched the book, it wasn’t as "Defenders". I went through a number of titles, but none of them really had pizzazz. It was only a few weeks ago that my editor, Ellie Pyle, let me know that this would be the new incarnation of "The Defenders"… and it just seemed to fit. The oddity of "The Defenders" has always been appealing to me. The team (or non-team if you prefer) has always worked best when it showcases a roster that you least expect. More than anything, I hope this book defies reader expectations of what a team book represents.
And strictly from a fan point of view, "The Defenders" is a longtime favorite of mine. Contributing to the legend of that group is a geeky little dream come true!
Geek: What's the mandate for the book? What kinds of threats will the all-female team be taking on here?
Bunn: With this series, you will see the rise of a new host of Shield Maidens, gathered from the women of Earth and led by Valkyrie. The threats they’ll be tackling will be as diverse and unexpected as the team itself.
I guess I should point out that the origin of this team wasn’t a matter of me saying, “I’m gonna write an all-female team!” Instead, it was a matter of me coming across an idea I thought would lend itself to great stories and great characters… and they just happen to be women.
That said, this book will be a showcase of the women of the Marvel Universe. If you have a favorite female character, chances are, she’ll show up at some point. I’m not saying she’ll join the team. There are only a certain number of full-fledged Valkyrie positions available. But there’s still a good chance they have a role to play.
Geek: Could you tell us a little about the lineup?
Bunn: Much to the chagrin of some folks, I haven’t revealed many of the core team members. This isn’t some secretive strategy. In fact, I’ve thrown the idea out there that we should release a teaser image of the entire core team. I’m not sure if that would be a good move or not. I think there’s still some discussion if we’ll do that or not. But, I don’t plan on pulling the final team together quickly. It will take time and will develop in a way that makes sense.
Valkyrie, Misty Knight, Dani Moonstar, and a new character will comprise our first look at the new team.
This, however, doesn’t mean they are the only heroes you’ll be seeing. There will be many guest stars in this book—drawn from “big name” characters as well as lesser known “cult” favorites. Some of them may become members of the Valkyrior, but definitely not all of them.
The book will have something of a rotating cast. Even as we build the core team, you’ll see certain members taking center stage for particular arcs, sometimes with other Defenders, sometimes with guest stars.
Geek: Misty and Colleen Wing are typically inseparable. Why are we only getting one half of the Daughters of the Dragon here?
Bunn: Misty and Colleen have operated separately from time to time… but there’s nothing to say you won’t see more of the Daughters of the Dragon in this series. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say the opposite of that. Misty is embarking on a path, though, that may puzzle and confuse Colleen. Even I’m not sure they’ll remain friends after this.
Geek: Finally, what kinds of threats can we look forward to the Fearless Defenders taking on in the future?
Bunn: In the first arc, I’m introducing a new villain who will be plaguing the heroes from time to time. Right off the bat, she’s trying to awaken an ancient, world-destroying evil… an evil that Valkyrie herself is at least a little responsible for. It’s a big, epic fantasy story.
After that, we’ll be seeing some otherworldly adventures as well as some “street level” stories. As much as I like the idea of throwing a character like Misty into these big, fantastic stories, I like the idea of Valkyrie being out of her element in the more down to earth stories, too.
There will be some serious... and seriously strange… threats that this team will be facing. Our characters will be facing some real consequences. But throughout the series, I want it to be a fun read. I’m glad Marvel decided to take a chance on this series, because it’s a book I feel really strongly about.
The first issue of Fearless Defenders makes its debut in February.
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