Fearless Defenders #5

Issue Date: 
August 2013
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Will Sliney (artist), Veronica Gandini (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Mark Brooks (cover artist), Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts (variant cover artists), 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: 

Valkyrie, Moonstar and Warrior Woman arrive in Brazil, at an Asgardian site. Valkyrie explains that Asgard’s reach was far, and Warrior Woman decides that they are in an arena. Before long, the Doom-Maidens, Caroline Le Fey and Mr Raven arrive on the horrid flying monsters, and the battle begins. Warrior Woman takes out one of the monsters, but the trio, despite how powerful they may be, soon realize they are outnumbered. Caroline knows this, too and is pleased with herself - until a number of super-heroines including Hellcat, Storm, Captain Marvel and the Black Widow arrive on scene with Misty Knight and Annabelle Riggs. The battle continues, with the newly arrived heroines proving their might against the ancient Asgardian warriors. Even Annabelle, accidentally, holds her own, although Thundra questions why the human woman is with them. Valkyrie recalls an earlier argument with Annabelle and sees her clad in armor, announcing that she is a Valkyrie. Moonstar confronts Caroline Le Fey, and ends up battling Mr Raven, before Caroline reveals that Moonstar is a “battery” and that Valkyrie is responsible for her being her, for being in this place where the Doom-Maidens can’t hurt innocent people. Valkyrie then draws on Moonstar’s Valkyrie energy and transforms herself into Brunhilde, the Maiden of Rage. The heroines watch on in shock, while Valkyrie sets about slashing her way through the Doom-Maidens. The ground erupts around her, and as Annabelle asks if Valkyrie will snap out of it, She-Hulk announces that she has seen this rage before and that it won’t pass without taking someone with. 

Full Summary: 

Descanso De Deus, Brazil, where Brunhilde the Valkyrie, Danielle Moonstar and Hippolyta a.k.a. Warrior Woman make their way through a strange rock formation, with large statues of the faces of warriors around them. Valkyrie tells herself that she has led warriors into battle more often than she can remember - literally. Every fight, whether skirmish or siege, has its own flavor, and it’s own cost, she decides, knowing that the price may be measured after the conflict, by counting the bodies of fallen comrades. Or, the toll may be weighed before the first volley - in what you must sacrifice in the name of strategy. In this fight, Brunhilde fears she has offered her own honor as a lamb for the knife. ‘What is this place?’ Moonstar asks as she and her companions examine their surroundings. Valkyrie hopes that she is wrong, and tries to tell herself that she has not betrayed her allies - her friends.

Moonstar asks where it is that they are, pointing out that the statues seem Asgardian - sort of. ‘But…no offense, Val…you’re pretty far from home’ Moonstar remarks. Valkyrie tells herself that withholding the truth is not the same as a lie, and announces that Asgard’s influence was not restricted to the North, and that in ages past, the gods dispatched messengers to bring word of their glory to all corners of Midgard. ‘Missionaries’ Hippolyta remarks. Sword at the ready, Valkyrie tells her companions that this is one of the most remote places in the world, but that there are villages in the foothills of this mountain where Odin and Thor and even Loki are held in high regard. ‘These are holy grounds where games were held to honor -’ Valkyrie begins, before Hippolyta declares that this is an arena. Valkyrie and Moonstar turn to Hippolyta, who reminds them that she is Greek, so she knows arenas. ‘Also…the only movies Pluto allows in the Underworld are “Gladiator” and “Mortal Kombat”’ she informs them. Suddenly, clouds roll over the sky, and the three women look upwards. ‘They’re here’ Valkyrie declares.

Indeed, two hideous serpent-like creatures with tentacles spiralling from their long bodies, and a huge gaping mouth with large jagged teeth descend from above making a horrid noise. The Doom-Maidens - insane Shieldmaidens that time forgot, and Valkyrie’s old gang - are riding on them, as are Caroline Le Fey and her associate, Mr Raven. ‘If I didn’t believe in the gods already, this might convince me. Our enemies…simply waiting for us with their throats out, well, if that’s not divine, I don’t know what is’ Caroline remarks. Mr Raven tells Caroline that he doesn’t trust this, ‘They’re planning something’ he calls out. ‘Oh, I hope so. I’m counting on it’ Caroline grins, while, down below, ‘Val…this plan of tours…tell me it involves lots of running’ Moonstar asks. ‘RUN!’ Valkyrie shouts as the two creatures breath powerful bursts of fire down at the trio of warriors, who turn and run. ‘Aagh! That burns!’ Hippolyta exclaims when some of the flames reach her.

Picking up one of the huge Asgardian statue heds, Hippolyta remarks that she didn’t think she could be burned. ‘But I know this for certain - I didn’t come back form the dead to be roasted by dragon spittle!’ Valkyrie looks on as Hippolyta declares ‘Here’s at least one ancient Asgardian who will prove useful’ and with that, she hurls the rock formation skyward, where it lands right in the dragon’s mouth, shattering the rock and causing the dragon to flail about, knocking the Doom-Maidens from it, the dragon and the ancient warriors plummet to the ground below. Valkyrie announces that she and Hippolyta will stave off the Doom-Maidens and tells Dani to take cover. “Take cover?” Dani quotes. ‘What? Did you forget I’m a Valkyrie, too? I mean… why else did you bring me along?’ she asks.

The second dragon has landed and the other Doom-Maidens stand ready for battle. ‘Why fight, sister? You do battle with yourself as surely as you wage war with us! Give yourself to us!’ one of the decrepit warriors calls out as her weapon clashes against Valkyrie’s sword. ‘Torn flesh and spilled blood! Carnage for the -’ another Doom-Maiden exclaims, before Hippolyta punches her, sending her skyward. ‘The All-Destruction demands its tithing!’ another Doom-Maiden declares as she moves towards Moonstar, who prepares to fire and arrow, but the Doom-Maiden throws her ball-and-chain weapon towards the young hero, who flips into the air, dodging the weapon. Dani lands alongside Valkyrie and Hippolyta, as the Doom-Maidens start to close in on the trio. ‘I told you to seek refuge’ Valkyrie reminds Moonstar. ‘Yeah. That was dumb. So, if you’ve got something else up your sleeve, now’s the time’ Dani replies.

Caroline Le Fey and Mr Raven stand nearby as the Doom-Maidens surround the heroes. ‘It would be so much more efficient if you’d just skip ahead to your inevitable surrender’ Caroline suggests, adding that she would be happy to reward their cooperation with a quick, relatively painless death. ‘After all, you’re hopelessly - outnumbered’ she begins, before she and Mr Raven look up as a shadow looms over them - a jet has approached and from it emerge a formidable gathering of some of the world’s most fearless heroines - Hellcat! Tigra! Black Cat! Spider-Woman! She-Hulk! Elektra! Storm!’ Thundra! Colleen Wing! Tarantula! Black Widow! Captain Marvel! Led by Misty Knight and accompanied by Dr Annabelle Riggs. ‘I told you I wanted a flying horse’ Misty smirks as she rides on a sky-cycle. The Doom-Maidens look over at the new arrivals, while Mr Raven suggests to Caroline that now might be a good time to take cover. ‘There’s still only one way this plays out’ Caroline replies, announcing that she will be here to watch.

‘So this is your plan?’ Moonstar smiles. ‘Only part of it’ Valkyrie replies. Misty leaps off the sky-cycle and tells Annabelle to drive. ‘Me? Hold on! I don’t know how to dri-iiiiive!’ she screams as she loses control of the vehicle, while Misty fires bombs from her bionic arm towards one of the Doom-Maidens. Carol Danvers, now known as Captain Marvel, fires a bold of energy and asks Storm what her deal is with Valkyrie, as the last she heard, the two of them were duking it out over San Francisco. Casting forth a surge of lightning, Storm tells Carol that friends sometimes fight, and that, lately, they seem to fight a lot. ‘I thought working together might feel good for a change’ Storm explains. Nearby, the Black Cat tosses a rope, wrapping it around the wrists of one of the Doom-Maidens, which Tigra leaps towards, as Hellcat kicks another of the ancient warriors over. ‘Tigra, Black Cat and Hellcat - working together? If the Spider were here, he’d be cracking jokes about lost mittens!’ Black Cat remarks. ‘Then I’m glad he’s not here!’ Hellcat calls out.

Colleen Wing goes over to her dear friend Misty Knight as one of the Doom-Maidens raises creatures of disease towards them. ‘I get it, Misty. You want to expand your circle of friends. But this is what you do in your spare time?’ Colleen exclaims. ‘Girl, you do not even want to know how many zombies I’ve had to fight lately!’ Misty exclaims. ‘You two are no strangers to death. I can smell it on you. And yet you’re both so dreadfully juvenile in your understanding’ another Doom-Maiden remarks to Black Widow and Elektra. ‘Give us a second. We’ll show you how much we know’ Black Widow responds as she opens fire at the Doom-Maiden.

‘Greetings, green one! I am Hippolyta! Queen of the Amazons returned!’ Hippolyta calls out to the She-Hulk as they both slam their fists against one of the dragons. ‘Yeah. I know… .uh… I know your ex. Awkward, Jen. Real awkward’ She-Hulk replies. At the same time, Thundra grabs hold of one of the Doom-Maidens’s ball-and-chain weapon, and tugs on it. ‘Is this a game to you? Who do you think you’re dealing with, child?’ the Doom-Maiden asks. ‘I don’t know. But I’ve wrestled bigger… and meaner!’ Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman and Tarantula team up against one of the Doom-Maidens, who boasts that she will rip their spines from their carcasses ad offer them to the All-Destruction. ‘Remind me again why I agreed to do this?’ Spider-Woman asks. ‘Money, right? Wait a minute. We’re getting paid for this, aren’t we?’ Tarantula asks.

Valkyrie smiles at Misty Knight and reminds her that they only needed a total of nine Shieldmaidens. ‘I know’ Misty replies, pointing out that with Valkyrie being so indecisive lately when it comes to potential teammates, she figured that it couldn’t hurt to bring a few extras. Thundra and Hellcat smile, while Captain Marvel blasts another of the Doom-Maidens and the Black Widow opens fire once more. ‘Heads up!’ Annabelle Riggs calls out as she crashes the sky-cycle into the ground, she falls off it, and Captain Marvel and Tigra leap out of the way, as the sky-cycle skids across the ground, slamming into two of the Doom-Maidens. ‘Did you see what I did there? I totally did that on purpose!’ Annabelle claims. Valkyrie goes over to her and asks if she is injured, while Thundra points at Annabelle and asks the others ‘Am I the only one who is confused by this… girl’s presence?’

‘She’s no warrior! One of us should escort her back to safety! Why is she here in the first place?’ Thundra continues, arms folded, scowling. Annabelle looks embarrassed and tries to cover her face, ‘She’s here…’ Valkyrie begins, recalling how she told Annabelle that she cannot be burdened by a mortal presence, and how Annabelle told her that if she leaves without her, she will dig up some other artifact to summon her, and that next time, it will make her dance like a puppet on a string. Valkyrie remembers seeing an illusion of armor surrounding Annabelle, and then tells Thundra ‘…because she is a Valkyrie’. Thundra strokes her chin thoughtfully as she looks at Annabelle, while Valkyrie tells Annabelle that no matter what happens, she is to stay with Misty, as she will protect her. ‘Uh… am I the only getting mixed signals here?’ Annabelle asks Misty, Thundra and Hellcat who are standing nearby.

The heroines continue to battle the Doom-Maidens, when suddenly, ‘You! You kidnapped me! You used me as some sort of alarm clock to wake these monsters! You’ve got a lot to answer for, lady!’ Moonstar calls out to Caroline when she locates her. ‘Of course I do, child. I’m certain I’ll pay dearly for each and every one of my iniquities. But not today. And not by your hand’ Caroline smiles. ‘Mr Raven’ she declares. ‘Ma’am’ Mr Raven responds. ‘Really?’ Dani calls out as she slams the flat of her sword against Mr Raven’s hand when he reaches for his weapon. ‘Do I look like someone you want to trifle with?’ Dani asks. Mr Raven grabs his injured hand, ‘Are you…kidding? Day in, day out, I’m up to my ears in Valkyries. Been dying to show one of these little ladies who’s boss’ he tells Dani. ‘Oh, I see. You’re the type who wants payback for all the girls who dumped you in middle school’ Dani replies. Kicking Mr Raven in the face and knocking him backwards, she announces that she doesn’t have the time or patience for that level of pathetic.

‘Poor girl. You have no earthly idea why you’re here, do you?’ Caroline asks Moonstar. ‘You dragged me into this’ Moonstar reminds her. ‘Tsk. The ritual to wake the Doom-Maidens is ongoing. I simply started the process. And you, my dear, are the battery’ Caroline reveals to a shocked Dani. While Valkyrie places her sword into the ground and crouches beside it, Caroline tells Dani that it was Valkyrie who brought her here, as she knew she couldn’t defeat the blighted host - not even with all the heroes of the world by her side. Caroline explains that Valkyrie needed an edge only Moonstar could give. ‘Your friend…your ally… needed you here with her… where the Doom-Maidens couldn’t hurt innocent people. Where she couldn’t hurt innocent people. Away from civilization. Where she could cut loose. Where she could wake!’ Caroline announces.

Moonstar notices a strange energy glowing around her, and an armor materializes over Brunhilde. Brunhilde looks mad, and roars as she is now in full Doom-Maiden armor. There is a massive DOOM noise heard, and Colleen and Misty look on, concerned. Hippolyta says nothing, while Dani looks shocked and Caroline smiles. ‘Valkyrie?’ Annabelle utters, wide-eyed. Brunhilde has been transformed into the Maiden of Rage as she lunges forward and strikes one of the Doom-Maidens, spilling blood. Two streams of lava burst forth from the ground, as Brunhilde roars ‘Who’s next!?’ raising her sword overhead. ‘She’s changed’ Misty declares. ‘Like a berserker of old’ Hippolyta points out. ‘But…she’ll snap out if it, right?’ a frightened Annabelle asks. She-Hulk frowns and readies her fists and exclaims: ‘I don’t think so. I know a thing or two about rage. And that kind of fury…it’s not going to pass without taking someone with it…’

Characters Involved: 

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

Dr Annabelle Riggs

Black Cat, Black Widow, Captain Marvel VI, Elektra, Hellcat, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Storm, Tarantula, Tigra, Thundra, Colleen Wing


Caroline Le Fey

Mr Raven


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

Story Notes: 

Warrior Woman mentions that “Mortal Kombat” is one of the movies Pluto allows in the Underworld. The cover to this issue resembles a computer game screen where you can select your characters for a battle, such as the “Mortal Kombat” video games.


Black Cat and Hellcat working together is nothing new - their friendship has been established since Marvel Divas #1. Hellcat and Tigra working together is much rarer, and when the two have appeared together, Tigra has held a grudge towards Hellcat. [West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #14-16, Avengers (1st series) #305]

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