Fearless Defenders #2

Issue Date: 
May 2013
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Will Sliney (artist), Veronica Gandini (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Clayton Cowle (letterer), Mark Brooks (cover artist), Marcos Martin (varian cover artist), Ellie Pyle (editor), Tom Breevort (executive editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

In the dead of night, some mercenaries arrive at 1128 Mission Street, San Francisco with the task of apprehending Dani Moonstar. They find her more of a match than they assumed, as she easily takes several of them out. She battles more of them, and defeats them, too, until she is shot with a tranquilizer dart by their boss, Mr Raven. Moonstar wakes to find herself the prison of an elderly woman, who unbeknownst to her, is Caroline Le Fey. The old woman has Moonstar imprisoned in a strange Asgardian device, and reveals that she needs Moonstar because she wants to become a Valkyrie. The device then closes on Moonstar. Meanwhile, in Broxton, Oklahoma, Valkyrie waits impatiently as Misty Knight and Annabelle Riggs finish their breakfast. They briefly discuss the world they live in, before transporting to Asgardia. Valkyrie contemplates her life between Asgard and Midgard, the gods and mortals, while Annabelle tries to talk to her about the kiss earlier, but Valkyrie tells her it was nothing. Misty realizes that Annabelle has feelings for Valkyrie. They meet with the All-Mother who want to know why Valkyrie has not formed the Shield-Maidens. Valkyrie explains that she couldn’t find the right women, and then she was distracted. The All-Mother explain the looming danger of the Doom-Maidens, before Hela appears, announcing that the Doom-Maidens are returning to finish their work. Valkyrie and Hela battle, with Hela blaming Valkyrie for not assembling the Shield-Maidens to be ready for the approaching battle. Misty tries to help out, but Hela takes her down. Annabelle attempts to pick up Valkyrie’s sword, until another woman stands on it. It is Hippolyta, who Hela calls Warrior Woman, and explains she plans to set things right with Hippolyta, that she will undo what Valkyrie’s inaction has set in place, and stop the All-Destruction!

Full Summary: 

San Francisco, specifically 1128 Mission Street, in the dead of night. This suburban street has received some unexpected visitors, as a group of armed mercenaries burst from a vehicle. ‘Hustle! Hustle! In and out in ten minutes!’ one of them announces. ‘The girl’s friends are otherwise occupied. Covering for sick co-workers…investigating hidden codes in online games… following up on rumors of techno-organic life blossoming in India’ the mercenary declares, adding ‘The very best distractions money can buy’. The mercenary kicks the door down, ‘Target is alone’ he declares. The others follow him into the house, torches on their weapons lighting their way. ‘Remember…accuracy with these tranq darts is diminished. But we only need to tag her once’ the merc reports. He turns to his comrades and instructs two of them to finish sweeping this floor, while the rest of them wil take the upstairs. ‘The way we came busting in… the girl’s probably scared witless… hiding under her bed. Hooyah!’ he boasts.

Suddenly, from upstairs several arrows are fired, striking some of the mercenaries, who fall backwards. ‘Let me guess. Whatever passes for reliable intel in the jackboot community said I’d be an easy target’ Danielle “Dani” Moonstar remarks, sliding down the banister, she holds her bow armed with another arrow ready. ‘In a world of eye beams and telepathy and adamantium claws, I’m just a girl. No super-powers. Nothing special’. Dani lands on the ground floor, over the motionless bodies of the mercenaries. Dani suddenly flips backwards through the air.

‘Waste her!’ another mercenary calls out. ‘We are under attack! We have a man down!’ the second declares. Dani lands several feet away from the others. ‘Repeat - we are under -’ one of the mercenaries radios to someone off site. ‘I heard you the first time’ the response comes over the communicator. ‘Now stop cluttering my airwaves with your whining and finish the job’ the person on the other end of the communicator instructs the mercenaries, while Dani picks up an arrow that she previously fired.

‘On it!’ one of them shouts as they open fire. Their tranquilizers land in the wall near where Dani stands. The defiant young hero raises her bow and arrow, and fires the arrow, it striking one of the mercenaries on his helmet, rebounding and hitting another. ‘I’m…I’m hit…oh…’ the leader reports, after one of the others fired his tranq at him when struck by the arrow. Dani looks pleased with herself, when suddenly, ‘I got her!’ one of the mercenaries calls out. ‘HEY!’ Dani shouts, shoving her head back, she cracks helmet. Dani then slams her bow into the mercenary, breaking it, but knocking him out. ‘Stand down, Pocahontas! Looks like you broke your bow. You’re out of options. There’s nothing else you can -’ the leader of the mercenaries begins, raising his gun to Moonstar, who smirks at him - and an instant later, throws him through the front window.

The mercenary lands on the street, and Dani stands over him. ‘Let’s you and me have a little talk about your boss’ she suggests to him, when suddenly a voice announces, ‘That would be me’, and a tranquilizer dart strikes Dani in her neck and she falls to the street. Mr Raven stands over Dani. He kicks puppies on command and enjoys his job. ‘Let’s wrap this up. Get in her the van’ he tells two men that are with him. Mr Raven points out that there are some lights coming on in a few houses. ‘Looks like we woke some of the neighbors’ he remarks, before instructing his men that once Moonstar is secured to knock on a few doors and spread some good-will - there are to be no witnesses.

Meanwhile, in Broxton, Oklahoma:
Some of the locals stand outside a diner and examine the winged horse called Aragorn, while inside the diner, Brunnhilde a.k.a. Valkyrie and her companions Misty Knight and Dr Annabelle Riggs occupy a booth. ‘It’s something, isn’t it? We live in a world where aliens and men from Atlantis and dinosaurs are almost everyday occurrences. But people still get excited over a winged horse’ Misty Knight remarks, gazing out the window. ‘A Valkyrie’s steed is a glorious sight, even in the most amazing of times’ Valkyrie replies as she leans against the table. ‘Yeah. So you said while you were teleporting us through time and space’ Misty reminds her. ‘Ugh! Don’t even mention teleportation. I’m not sure my stomach can take it!’ Dr Riggs’ mutters, resting her head against her hand. She is an archeologist and would trade the Kabwe Skull for some Dramamine. Misty raises her hot drink to her mouth and adds ‘Still…in this great big marvellous world of ours… there is one universal truth. You can always find the best coffee at the Greasy Spoon’. Misty is a private investigator and does not recognize the existence of decaf.

Valkyrie tells Misty that she has heard of these heroes who would rather share a meal than an adventure. ‘I did not take you for one of them’ Valkyrie is not really a breakfast person. She surveys the diner, as Misty tells her that she gets it - they are in a hurry to figure out this prophecy of impending doom holds water or not. Misty reminds Valkyrie that she volunteered to come along. ‘It just hits me sometimes, y’know? No matter how big I imagine the world is…it’ll still take me by surprise if I stop to think about it’ she admits, while looking at her coffee. ‘I just need a moment. That’s all’ Misty adds, gazing out the window, she sees a sees and asteroid floating over Broxton, with out-of-this-world buildings and a strange tree.

Elsewhere, there is darkness, as a voice calls out ‘Open your eyes, Miss Moonstar. I assure you, feigning unconsciousness will not afford you any time to plot an escape’. Dani slowly opens her eyes, and sees an elderly woman standing before her. ‘I can appreciate the effort, but - trust me - it’s wasted. You’re not going anywhere’ the woman tells Dani, who is restrained in some contraption. ‘Where am I? Who the hell are you?’ Dani asks. ‘See? Isn’t this much nicer? Once we dismiss with the charades and scheming, we can have a pleasant discussion like two sensible woman who respect one another’ the old woman replies, before telling Dani that, as to where she is, it is as far from any position to ask questions as she can possibly hope to be. ‘As to who I am, I can’t see how that possibly matters. Suffice it to say, you don’t know me’ the woman grins. She is Caroline Le Fey, and Dani does not want to know her.

Caroline informs Dani that her remaining time on this Earth isn’t sufficient for the two of them to become - ‘What do you girls say - BFFs’. Moonstar frowns at Caroline and replies ‘Lady, I might not know who you are, but if you think you can just kidnap me, you’ve got another thing coming. I’ve got friends who -’ Dani begins, but the old woman puts a finger to Dani’s lips, ‘Tsk tsk tsk. Don’t, sweetie. Just don’t. it’s insulting to both of us’ Caroline declares. The old woman turns from Dani. ‘Your friends are big and mean. my friends are big and mean. And if your friends have any idea what’s in store for them, they’re wetting themselves right this very second’ she exclaims. The contraption that Dani is trapped in appears to be some sort of rune that she is now encased in. ‘What are -’ Dani begins, but Caroline turns back to her: ‘Ah ah ah. No position for questions, remember?’ she scolds her. Moonstar just grits her teeth and demands to be told why she is here. ‘Tell me what you want’ she calls out.

‘A statement. A command. That’s much better…and much more suited to your station in life…regardless of how short that might be’ Caroline smirks. A device above Dani moves down and covers her face - it appears Asgardian in design, some sort of mask. Caroline tells Dani that she is here because she needs her. ‘And what I want is simple. I want to be like you. I want to become a Valkyrie’. Dani is unable to respond.

Asgardia, the floating asteroid with a strange tree and exotic looking buildings. Aragorn flies overhead, while Valkyrie, Misty and Annabelle walk through Asgardia’s streets. Misty and Annabelle survey their surroundings as men look on. Valkyrie reminds herself that she is the last of her kind, a Shieldmaiden of Odin, but that she was born Brunnhilde of Wrlstead Arms, a princess, a clueless child, chosen by the All-Father as a symbol of paradise after honorable death. And the truth is, Valkyrie has never felt at home among the gods any more than she has felt at peace among mortals. ‘Gods can go astray as oft as humans. This I have in common with them both. And in my delay, I have brought shame to a post I hold most dear’ Valkyrie admits. She sees Misty taking her time and tells her to make haste, as it is unwise to be late to an audience with the All-Mother. ‘You wanted to come with me. Don’t drag your feet’ Valkyrie adds. ‘Yeah, yeah. I’ll get there when I get there’ Misty calls back as she looks into a room where a man is working on some weapons and armor.

Valkyrie leads Annabelle up some stairs, and the mortal woman asks ‘Hey, uh, Valkyrie. I was hoping we’d have a chance to talk -’ to which Valkyrie interrupts and suggests that now is as good a time as any. ‘It’s about… well… about before’ Annabelle stammers. ‘Before?’ Valkyrie asks, confused. ‘The… kiss? I just -’ Annabelle begins, but Valkyrie continues on walking and tells her not to dwell on it. ‘I have lived for millennia’ Valkyrie points out and asks Annabelle if she thinks she is the first person she has rescued - man or woman - who has rewarded her with a kiss? ‘It is a small matter’ Valkyrie remarks. ‘Riiiight. It meant nothing’ Annabelle smirks, when suddenly, Misty walks up beside her: ‘You’re not hitting on the demigoddess again, are you?’ she enquires. ‘Misty… I hope you understand’ Annabelle replies, hanging her head. ‘…no amount of kung fu is gonna save you when I toss you over the side of Asgardia’. Misty doesn’t reply, and Valkyrie glances back at Annabelle.

Soon, in a chamber, the All-Mother - Freyja, Gaea and Idunn - stand atop some stairs and look down at Valkyrie, who is kneeled before them. Misty and Annabelle stand nearby as do some male guards. ‘These are grim tidings you bring us, Valkyrie. The Doom-Maidens are a long-forgotten nightmare’ one of the All-Mother remarks, adding that their return will bring nothing but madness, destruction and death. ‘Are we supposed to kneel, too? Because I went to Sunday School for most of my childhood, and the teachers never mentioned anything like this’ Misty remarks to Annabelle. Freyja reminds Valkyrie that the Shield-Maidens of Asgard vanished months ago, while Gaea tells Valkyrie that it has been her sacred duty to assemble the host of the Valkyrior once again. ‘Mayhap your failure to complete this task has wrought terrible consequences’ Idunn adds. ‘Were there no portents of trouble ahead?’ one of them asks. Valkyrie remains silent, head hanging, as her mind wanders back to an earlier time, where rain poured down, and her face was covered in blood.

‘None that I recognized’ Valkyrie claims. ‘So… this “big nasty” you’re worried about could have been prevented if you just got some super heroes together for a girl’s night?’ Misty asks Valkyrie. Valkyrie declares that calling the Shield-Maidens together has been no easy feat, as the mandate from the All-Mother was clear - she was to choose woman from the realm of Midgard to become symbols of honor and valor and courage, she would lead them into battle, into death. Valkyrie remembers examining her options, and on computer monitors before the images of several female heroes were displayed - Storm, Rogue, the Black Widow, the Black Cat, the Wasp, Tigra, Jocasta and Rachel Grey. But she saw no one who would live up to the standard of the Valkyrie. She remembers pondering her decision over a brew, distracting herself with a handsome man, and enjoying watching television while deciding what it mean to be a Valkyrie.

‘You are not meant to be alone’ Freyja remarks. Gaea adds that the absence of the Valkyrior has created a void in the natural order and Idunn fears that under the right circumstances, the Doom-Maidens could rise to fill this void. ‘They were Odin’s first and most powerful Shield-Maidens, Brunnhilde… they were his messengers, his spies and his most deadly warriors’ Idunn explains. She adds that something they saw on their journey through the depths of space changed them, corrupted them, and when they returned, they were ghastly monstrosities, the killers of mortals and gods alike. They were the embodiments of carrion and slaughter and filth and vermin and deceit and insanity and torture and seduction and rage. ‘Had Odin himself not stopped them, they would have scoured all of the nine realms’ Freyja reveals.

Suddenly: ‘And the omens are true. They are returning to finish their work’ a voice calls out. ‘HELA!’ someone gasps as they turn to see the Queen of the Underworld materializing before them. ‘The dead stir! The imperial realm threatens to spit out its demons! This reeks of your plotting!’ Valkyrie accuses Hela. Valkyrie’s sword is ready, and she tells the Death Goddess that whatever treasons she births against Asgardia or Midgard she will regret her meddling. ‘Who do you think you’re dealing with, nursling? I am the Mother of Death! And I do not meddle!’ Hela exclaims, lunging towards Valkyrie, ‘HA!’ Valkyrie shouts as their swords clash. ‘Whole world of super heroes at the ready… but Metal Breastplate Barbie can’t find anyone worthy to stand by her side. And now we have to fight a goddess’ Misty mumbles.

Hela knocks the surprised Valkyrie’s sword out of her hand, and tells her to banish it back to the heavenly realm. ‘You cannot hope to win this battle. No more than you can hope to divert your guilt toward me’ Hela remarks. ‘HAI!’ Misty shouts as she leaps towards Hela from behind, ready to strike her with her powerful foot - but Hela spins around and grabs Misty’s foot, ‘What’s this? Instead of gathering your shield-maidens you pass your time as a drunk, lout and harlot…and then at the last minute you choose this feeble creature as a Valkyrior? ‘Hela asks, tossing Misty to the ground, Misty screams. Valkyrie uses this moment to lunge at Hela, slamming her fists into the goddess’s face. ‘I’ve chosen no one! Nor do I need them to send you back to Hel!’ Valkyrie declares. Hela grabs Valkyrie by her throat and pushes her up against a wall. ‘Gnats! I’m pestered by insignificant gnats!’

Misty is a little weary, but sees Annabelle reaching for Valkyrie’s sword. ‘Just…just stay out of this…’ she tells her. ‘I can’t do that, Misty. I have to make myself useful some -’ Annabelle begins, picking the sword up, when suddenly, someone wearing a golden boot stands on it. ‘Stay your hand. Though your actions are foolish, your sentiment is admirable. It would be a cruelty of fate if you forced me to smite you. After all, we’ve only just met’. Everyone turns to the blonde-haired woman who stands tall and proud. ‘Do you understand what your inaction has wrought, Valkyrie? You have sown the seeds of the All-Destruction’ Hela exclaims, still holding Valkyrie by her throat. Hela announces that to set things right, she has brought her own Warrior Woman. Her real name is Hippolyta, the Warhawk of Ares. And she hates being called Warrior Woman….

Characters Involved: 

Misty Knight, Dani Moonstar, Valkyrie (all Fearless Defenders)

Dr Annabelle Riggs

Hippolyta / Warrior Woman

Freyja, Gaea, Idunn (the All-Mother)


Caroline Le Fey
Mr Raven


In flashback images:


Aldvi / Deceit, Arnleif / Seduction, Balda / Slaughter, Daggaerdh / Torture, Disthora / Insanity, Hermotha / Filth, Nedra / Carrion, Sigotta / Vermin (all Doom-Maidens)

images on monitors in flashback:
Black Cat, Black Widow, Rachel Grey, Jocasta, Rogue, Songbird, Storm, Tigra, Wasp

Story Notes: 

The New Mutants, as the X-Men’s clean-up crew, moved into 1128 Mission Street, San Francisco, in New Mutants (3rd series) #34.

Dani lost her mutant powers following M-Day.

Dani last appeared in New Mutants (3rd series) #50.

Written By: