Tag Archives: Misty Knight

Fearless Defenders Needed to Be Canned, But Please Salvage the Heroes!

It’s not the popular opinion, but here is one woman thrilled to hear about the cancellation of Cullen Bunn and Will Silney‘s Fearless Defenders. The apparently too-small (despite the outpouring of lamentation across the internets) community of its readers, however, are understandably distraught about it.  I say understandably, because the most common lament is about the loss of an all-female ass-kicking team of some of the coolest superladies in comics.

It’s true. The comic promised new life for fan favorites who’ve been lost in blurry backgrounds of splash pages and random panels across Marvel comics for some time now. Fearless Defenders was supposed to give us a no-nonsense leader in the born-leader Misty Knight, a powerful Dani Moonstar unleashed from the strictures of X-Men adolescence, and a snarky Elsa Bloodstone rescued from the obscurity of third-tier heroics, serving up one delightfully geeky bouquet of big personalities and heavy hitters.  But instead it gave us “Ya Ya” feminism and a thinly-veiled boyhood fantasy realization starring Valkyrie.

Cullen Bunn even admits in the issue #1 letters column that he was all about this  project because he’s always wanted to write Valkyrie. And the preference shows… Valkyrie had an interesting storyline, complete with a one-sided lesbian love affair, a little existential rage beast dilemma, and a mission from god or something (one that she basically lazily failed at).  And every other character was just kind of there… for some flimsy reason or another; it certainly can’t be because they actually like each other. Their chemistry is basically defined by caustic sarcasm, bravado, and what looks like barely concealed tolerance of each other. Seriously, the motivations for each character to be a part of this new all-women team were about as flimsy as Misty’s belly shirt.

Taking a bunch of awesome characters, each of whom could easily lead their own comic, and turning them into Valkyrie side-kicks is just the first problem. As great as it’d be to see another all-female team in comic book land, there are just so many other reasons I’m so very unsad to see this comic go:

2. We’re women and we’re so awesome! Girl power! Ya! Superheroes or Spice Girls?

Feminism is awesome. A superhero team comprised of all women is awesome. Given the fact that there have been so so many all-men super teams throughout comics history, it’s pretty sad that there haven’t been more all-women teams. But it’s probably because whenever the women get together to do some bad guy punching they’re so distracted by the fact that they’re all-women that they spend the whole time cheering about it and sticking their tongues out at their boyfriends who didn’t think they could do it.

Yea… so there was an entire issue dedicated to the men in these women’s lives being all wompy and imposing their textbook male privilege on their womenfolk by trying to encourage them to disband. The women, though, are of course too strong for all of that nonsense so they show off their baddie-punching skills they roll their eyes at the menfolk and promptly humiliate them for their efforts. Female empowerment is awesome, but issue #9 read like a third graders review of the Spice Girls movie.

Compare Fearless Defenders to Brian Wood’s all-female team in X-Men and be ready for a study in contrast.

2. Did you know that lesbian women are attracted to all other lesbian women always?!

Okay. Annabelle Riggs was awesome, a great redeeming quality of the series. She was a marvelous contrast, and later a great and almost too literal foil, to the high, mighty, I’m-basically-a-god Valkyrie. And it’s wonderful to see more LGBTQ characters in comics, but, as many fans expressed frustration about, she was basically “put in a fridge” with the whole body-switching nonsense, which seemed more like an easy out from having to actually explore Annabelle’s crush on Valkyrie and Valkyrie’s (not-exactly) rejection. Then, just in issue #10, came another hit. A second lesbian character appeared! And lo! Annabelle immediately gaydar-ed her and was trying to tap that (possibly statutory style…), because, apparently, lesbian women in the Marvel universe are so thirsty for it that they basically set the bar at “is she gay?”

 3. The covers…

Everyone’s been harping on this one. Some fall on the side of “they’re fun!” and others are squarely in the camp of “wtf?”  The covers were indeed fun, drawing on different concepts and pop culture fads, like a paper doll Valkyrie. Fun! I’d love to see something like that in the letters column or in a back promo page or something, but does that really belong on the cover? I suppose it depends what you think covers are for, but I think most comics artists would probably agree that the cover should in some way capture or represent the story that the issue tells… ideally. Too often with Fearless Defenders  it was a serious stretch. And their worst they gave the impression that the content would be as frivolous as the covers. Of course there are other types of gimmicky covers, like the ones that tease a superhero’s death or otherwise dramatize what happens inside to get you to pick it up. So maybe Silney and Bunn were going for a spoiler-free, drama-free, anti-marketing strategy or something… Either way, the cover is what gets folk to pick it up in the store. So if sales were the problem…

4. We Don’t Have to Throwout the Heroes With the Comic!

The biggest reason I’m not sad to see this comic go is that with the death of Fearless Defenders the dope super women who composed the team now have a chance to join other teams and become major players in other comics. While Fearless Defenders was pretty bad, it did give us a Misty Knight, Dani Moonstar, Elsa Bloodstone, and Annabelle-possessed Valkyrie back in action. So maybe other heroes in the Marvel verse will get word that these ladies are taking names and, given all the crazy ish going down with the Avengers, maybe they’ll give them a call.  I hear Luke Cage and crew could use a hand.

Here’s hoping a strong writer with some solid knowledge of and enthusiasm for the characters will get her hands on some of these heroes and do them justice. That’s not to say Cullen Bunn is a bad writer. Not at all. The man has shown his chops on several other titles including The Sixth Gun, but this was like a bad marriage, or better yet like a polygamous marriage where Valkyrie was wifey #1 and everybody else got cleaning duty.

It’s sad to see an all-female super team composed of such amazing characters go, but (barring our high hopes of seeing some of them lead their own comics) we’d rather see them well-written. In all fairness Fearless Defenders had some good elements (like Annabelle Riggs!) but they were mixed in with a lot of bad. Representation is only part of the equation; the bigger problem facing women characters in comics is how they’re represented. And sorry, but we can do better; we don’t have to settle for just any old female-led comic.

5 Superhero & Sci-Fi Movies That Could Add A Little Color to The Big Screen

These days it seems more and more the case that we are in a Golden age of Geekery. There are comics, cosplay, and gaming cons all over the world and new ones are popping up in unlikely places. And one look at the movie line-up for this year shows just how open are the arms embracing all that nerdery.

Iron Man 3 started the season off with a bang (and quite a few “boom”s). Star Trek: Into Darkness is still packing theaters. Man of Steel is right around the corner, and we’ve got Ender’s Game, World War Z, Thor, and The Wolverine to look forward to this Fall. In fact, at least 25 films with sci-fi or superhero themes are premiering this year.

It is a glorious time to be a geek.  But you’ll notice that the leading lads of all of these films are white guys. That, of course, is nothing new.

The industry has even been improving somewhat its representation of minorities with controversial casting choices like Viola Davis as Major Anderson in Ender’s Game or Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch in the upcoming Fantastic Four movie. John Cho as Sulu and Zoe Saldana as Uhura had major roles in the new Star Trek movie. A few other heroes of color, like War Machine (Don Cheadle) in Iron Man 3, Gail (Rosario Dawson) in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,  and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) in the next Avengers film, are on the roster…

Keep reading  at UnleashTheFanboy.com

Superhero Sunday: Dani Moonstar

Moonstar all Valkyrie-d out
Moonstar all Valkyrie-d out

Moonstar (aka Mirage aka Psyche) was born as Danielle “Dani” Moonstar a member of the Cheyenne Native American Tribe in Boulder, CO. She first appeared in Marvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants in 1982, and has been a part of various Marvel groups over the years, mainly the X-men, but she also had a brief stint with S.H.I.E.L.D, and at one point she resided in Asgardia after being selected as a valkyrie. Just last week she appeared in The Fearless Defenders #2 by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney, and will likely become a permanent member of a new all-female team alongside Asgardian princess Valkyrie and the bionic kung-fu powerhouse Misty Knight.

Moonstar’s mutant powers began to manifest when she was around 10 years old, as an empathic ability to communicate with animals and to project manifestations of people’s fears and desires. When these powers first appeared, she could not control them. She began having nightmares and visions of a demonic bear, and shortly after this her parents mysteriously disappeared. She was taken in by her grandfather Black Eagle who connected her with Charles Xavier, and she soon becomes the co-leader of a group of students at Xavier’s school, called the New Mutants, which originally included Cannonball, Karma, Wolfsbane, and Sunspot. Moonstar’s parents are eventually returned to her once she and her teammates face off with the demonic bear of her childhood visions.

In a particularly awesome chapter of her life, Moonstar is kidnapped by Enchantress along with the other New Mutants members, which now includes new member Magik, and taken to Asgardia.  Magik attempts to use a teleportation disc to rescue the group, but ends up teleporting them all to random places on Asgardia.  Moonstar ends up in a valley, where she rescues a winged horse that was trapped in mud and barbed wire. Moonstar bonds with the horse who just so happens to be Brightwind, one of the “Choosers of the slain”, who proceeds to select Moonstar to become a Valkyrie.Moonstar Bring It

On Asgardia, Moonstar fights alongside other valkyries and her powers are amped by her valkyrie powers, giving her the ability to see an aura of death around those in mortal danger, to physically fight Death itself, and to make her mental projections into solid physical beings. She’s so insanely superpowered that she beats up on Gods, like Ares and Hela, goddess ruler of Hel. However, her horse Brightwind is later killed in battle, and she returns to Earth shortly after, where she has a brief stint at S.H.I.E.L.D., before losing her powers in the House of M crossover.

Even without her powers, though, she’s still a force to be reckoned with, and proves it again and again. Nonetheless, she’s removed as leader of the New Mutants by Emma Frost, but remains a contributing member of the team (after a lot of fighting about it with Cannonball (Sam Guthrie)), using her hardcore hand-to-hand combat skills and her skill with various weapons. Her original weapon of choice was the bow and arrow, but she’s hardly gun shy…

Moonstar packs heat after losing her powers
Moonstar without powers is kiiinda scarier…
Moonstar Fearless Defenders
A de-powered Moonstar in Fearless Defenders #2 by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney

At one point she makes a deal with Hela and temporarily gets back her powers, but by the time she appears of Fearless Defenders #2, she remains depowered yet still hard to take- down. Moonstar is one of few Native American characters in comics, and is very proud of her Cheyenne heritage, bonding with other indigenous characters and wearing visible symbols of her culture.  Villains seem to always get a kick out of calling her “Pocahontas” after which she promptly kicks their asses.

She may not be officially part of the Fearless Defenders team yet (she hasn’t even met up with Misty and Valkyrie), but she’s a formidable addition. Good call Marvel.  Also, incredibly brief review of Fearless Defenders #2 — waaaay better than the first issue, like by a lot.  I was seriously concerned after issue #1, but this issue is definitely making me keep it on my list. I don’t doubt that this is in no small part due to Moonstar, who is just an incredibly dynamic character. I’m also loving that this team-up looks like it’s gonna have two non-powered women on the team.  Ballsy.