Fearless Defenders #6

Issue Date: 
September 2013
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Will Sliney (artist), Veronica Gandini (colorist), Virtual Caligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Mark Brooks (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: 

As Valkyrie recalls how Odin rescued her, turned her into a Shield Maiden, and then the Shield Maidens' corruption and decimation, she fights her friends and takes them all down with ease. She leaves, and craving further destruction, sets her sights on a small village nearby. However Annabelle Riggs picked up Valkyrie's sword and follows her. She speaks to Valkyrie and reaches out to her. Valkyrie realizes what is going on, but the corruption consumes her once more. Moonstar, Misty Knight, Hippolyta and the other heroines wake to find the Doom Maidens all withering away, and Valkyrie then returns to them – with the lifeless body of Annabelle Riggs in her arms. Valkyrie explains how Annabelle spoke to her, and tells other heroines that the world doesn't need Shield Maidens, but Defenders. She explains how they can work together around the world, but Misty Knight punches Valkyrie and she and the other heroines start to leave, unaware that Caroline Le Fey escaped back to Manhattan, and is plotting to put together a new team of Doom Maidens!


Full Summary: 

She was born Brunnhilde of Wrlstead Arms. But she would live her life as the first of Lord Odin's Valkyrior. Right now, Brunnhilde has been transformed into a Doom Maiden, and as she lashes out the other Doom Maidens, her mind flashes back to a time when she hel a dying man in her arms, and Odin appeared behind her, asking Brunnhilde if she would die to ensure that this man's soul carried on. 'I would' she responded. But things did not turn out as Brunnhilde expected, as the Shield Maidens were symbols of the All-Father's sacred promise, a paradise awaiting those worthy of reaching it. So, too, were they Odin's warriors, scouts, envoys and spies, riding to the farthest reaches of the universe. Brunnhilde and her sisters were like creatures of dream and noble warriors longed to glimpse their faces after hard-fought battles. Valkyrie shoves her mighty sword through one of the Doom Maidens and recalls that something they encountered in the vastness of space changed them and the dream became a nightmare. 

She holds the decapitated head of one of the Doom Maidens, recalling how those warriors they met on the field of war were like lambs to the slaughter, staring into the gulfs of the abyss, the Shield Maidens were driven mad. 'That's not her. That's not Valkyrie!' exclaims Dr Annabelle Riggs as she stands alongside Misty Knight, Hippolyta a.k.a. Warrior Woman and the She-Hulk. 'We became the Doom Maidens' Valkyrie recalls. They fought warriors with ease.

'Come along, Mr Raven. This operation has gone south for us more quickly than I anticipated' Caroline Le Fey remarks to Mr Raven as she helps him away from the heroines, geysers spouting lava nearby. Caroline admits that their goals are accomplished just the same – the die has been cast.

Valkyrie reminds herself that those who did not flee before them were crushed – the way insects are crushed beneath one's boot. It was Odin himself who put an end to their campaign of destruction, and it nearly broke him to see how far his Shield Maidens had fallen. Only Brunnhilde stood before Odin, while the others lay scattered at their feet.

Odin cast the Doom Maidens into darkness, except for Brunnhilde. Such was his love for her, the first of his Shield Maidens, that he allowed her to live, her memories reforged so that she might once again know the meaning of honor, and she joined the heroic Defenders.

Brunnhilde turns her attention away from the fallen Doom Maidens to the heroines gathered before her. 'More' she utters, while knowing that Odin concealed her madness, even from herself – until now. And now, the woman that she was, the lie that she was living for so long, that is the insanity... and the only truth is rage.

'MORE!' she screams as she moves amongst the other heroines, scattering Colleen Wing, Captain Marvel, Storm, Elektra, Spider-Woman, the Black Cat and Misty Knight, while Dani Moonstar protects Dr Riggs. Brunnhilde strikes Misty and Thundra in unison, knocking both women over.

'Valkyrie! Control yourself! I do not want to harm you, but -' Storm calls out from above, while Spider-Woman flies alongside her. Valkyrie responds by slamming her foot to the ground, creating a seismic shockwave that extends upwards, knocking Storm and Spider-Woman about. 'Are these the cows that stood against my sisters? Pathetic! No wonder I was our father's favorite!' Brunnhilde declares as she knocks Captain Marvel, Tarantula and the Black Widow aside.

Nearby, Dani tells Annabelle Riggs to stay down, as there is nothing she can do now. 'No! I can talk her down... talk some sense into -' Annabelle begins, but a geyser suddenly erupts nearby, knocking both women aside. They fall to the ground, motionless. Hippolyta and She-Hulk rush towards Valkyrie, 'What do you say, green maiden? I'll hit her high, you hit her low?' Hippolyta suggests. 'Valkyrie just took down nearly two dozen heavy hitters. Let's dispense with the planning...and just punch her 'til she stops moving!' She-Hulk responds as she punches Valkyrie hard in the face. 'Works for me' Hippolyta agrees as she slams her fists into Valkyrie's back. Valkyrie responds by grabbing Hippolyta by her neck, her eyes narrow and blood trickes from her nose as she exclaims 'Amazon – yes! I remember your people. I remember how bravely you fought the blighted host. I remember how battle cries turned to pleas for mercy!' Valkyrie then pushes Hippolyta's head down so that her face connects with Valkyrie's knee.

'I get it. You're some sort of berserker. A personification of rage' She-Hulk remarks as she smacks her fist into Valkyrie's shoulder. 'Well – I know a thing or two about rage!' She-Hulk boasts as she pushes to Valkyrie to the ground – only for an instant though, as Valkyrie lashes back and grabs She-Hulk by her throat, then shoves her towards a geyser that is erupting nearby. 'Don't preach to me about what you know. You are an infant before a god!' Valkyrie roars. She stands triumpant over the fallen heroines, grins, and wipes the blood from her face. 'More' she utters as she walks away from them, leaving her sword sticking up in the ground, she doesn't see a hand reach out for the sword, 'This – is such a bad idea!' Annabelle Riggs tells herself as she holds Valkyrie's sword up, and looks around at the fallen heroines. She sees Black Widow, Hippolyta, Tigra and Misty Knight scattered nearby and wonders what choice she has, who else is left?

Valkyrie descends a staircase etched into the mountain, 'More' she utters as she sees a small village across the water nearby. Standing on a ledge, she looks out over the village, and does not turn around when Annabelle catches up to her, 'Valkyrie! Stop this! There are people in that village! You can't go down there!' she pleads. Valkyrie grimaces as she replies 'Isn't that sweet? A lovesick little Shield Maiden following me like a puppy – and you brought me my sword! Do you want a reward?' Valkyrie asks. 'Another meaningless kiss, perhaps?' she suggests. Annabelle ignores that comment and tells Valkyrie that she is not going to let her hurt anyone else. 'This isn't you, Valkyrie – this isn't what you want' she exclaims. 'If you had the slightest clue what I wanted, you'd run from me as fast as you could' Valkyrie informs Annabelle, who holds the sword out and announces that she is not going anywhere. 'Maybe... maybe I'm not much of a Valkyrie, but I ewas chosen just the same' Annabelle points out, as Valkyrie turns around to face her. 'Maybe the All-Mother knew you'd need me to stop you.. .and if that means I have to fight you...then that's what I'll do' Annabelle announces.

Valkyrie touches her blade and asks 'Do you really want a fight? Do you relaly believe you're worthy to stand against me?' Annabelle replies that she doesn't, but that she believes Valkyrie is her friend. 'I believe that deep down you know that. That's why you didn't slaughter Misty, Dani and the others...that's why you let them live. And that's why you won't let rage hurt me' Annabelle lays the sword at Valkyrie's feet and kneels before her. When she stands up, she is momentarily covered in armor, and Annabelle declares that a Shield Maiden is supposed to escort warriors to the land of the dead. 'But I'm here for you, Val. I'm here to bring you back to the land of the living'. Suddenly, Valkyrie seems to snap back to reality, 'Annabelle? I...you shouldn't...I can't...can't control...can't find my way...you have to get away...' she utters, before the ancient evil in her takes control, and wraps her hand around Annabelle's throat, 'You think this display of faith... of love... can wrest your beloved Valkyrie from me? I'll always have a hold on her soul. I strike, even as you call her from the void. There's a price, little Shield Maiden. And I'll exact it before I'm gone!' Brunnhilde exclaims.

Back at the battleground, the heroines start to recover. Misty Knight and Hippolyta stare up at some ravens which have started to circle above, while Dani alerts Misty to the fact that the Doom Maidens are withering, mummifying. 'There's no life left in them!' Hippolyta announces as she stands over one of them. Hippolyta suggests that perhaps whatever magic kept the Doom Maidens up is moving and fading. 'Defeating them...all these women taking the role of Shield Miadens....maybe it stopped them. Maybe the spell is broken' Dani offers. 'But for how long this time?' Misty Knight asks. The three women suddenly turn, shocked, as a voice calls out 'For as long as we stand as their opposite'. 'ANNABELLE!' Misty gasps as Valkyrie approaches the heroines, carrying the lifeless body of Annabelle Riggs in her arms. 'Is she -' Dani asks as she and Misty rush over. 'She is gone. This mortal... this girl... stood against rage... against me. Her strength and bravery was like a beacon. I heard vher voice as clearly as I might hear the trumpet of Gjoll' Valkyrie explains, adding that Annabelle summoned her back, allowed her to regain her senses – but not before the Doom Maiden lashed out one more time.

As the other heroines gather around – Black Widow, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Storm, Captain Marvel, Tigra, Black Cat, Hellcat, Colleen, Thundra – they listen as Valkyrie hangs her head and declares that for so long she believed she was tasked with choosing those who were worthy – she thought it was her job to weigh each individual's merit. 'But I was wrong' Valkyrie admits. Blood poools around Annabelle's body is laid on the ground, and Valkyrie remarks that the choices have already been made. 'I just needed to open my eyes. And that frightens me' Valkyrie admits, as she sees several of the heroines before her wearing Shield Maiden armor. Valkyrie remarks that every valkkyrie is gifted with death-sight – the ability to see impending doom, and now she realizes that she sees potential Shield Maidens with those same eyes. 'And I do not know what this means' she adds, announcing that until she does, she will not call the Valkyrior together. Dani looks away from Valkyrie, while Misty goes wide-eyed and covers her mouth.

As Valkyrie points out that long have the heroes of this world come together to face the strangest of challenges, and that so it shall be once more, she recalls several team-ups of the heroines – Clea, Hellcat and Black Cat fighting a supernatural foe. Namora, Colleen and Elektra working together against shark-riding Atlanteans and Songbird, Moonstar and Diamondback fighting large warriors. 'With our resources, we can pull allies together anywhere in the world. We can call upon one another to face threats that might be beyond any one of our number. There will certainly come a day when the Valkyrior must rise again...and when that day comes, I'll choose them from those who have fought by my side' Valkyrie states, before declaring that the Shield Maidens did not defeat the blighted host today, and that despite what the All-Mother says, the world does not need Shield Maidens. 'It needs Defenders' she declares, as th heroines gather around Annabell's body. Suddenly, Misty frowns, 'Go #$%& yourself!' she shouts at Valkyrie, punching her to the ground. The heroines then start to walk away, leaving Valkyrie beside Annabelle's fallen body.

Midtown Manhattan, 'Ma'am? I thought you'd want to -' Mr Raven declares as he approaches Caroline Le Fey, who sits at a computer screen, 'Not now, Mr Raven. Can't you see I'm busy?' she exclaims. She announces that the door has been opened, that the blighted host awakened for only the blink of an eye, but that its purpose has been fulfilled and its call has been heard. 'And just as the Valkyrie usher the dead into the Afterlife, I'll usher this puerile realm into oblivion' Caroline boasts, and staring at several images on the monitor – Mystique, Titania, Enchantress, Dansen Macabre, Shriek, Anaconda, Aradnea, Lady Deathstrike – she declares that there is still so much work to be done, and so many new Doom Maidens to choose!


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

Various Doom Maidens


In Valkyrie's flashbacks

Angel, Beast, Moondragon, Nighthawk, Valkyrie (all Defenders)


Dying man

Shield Maidens



In Valkyrie's story

Black Cat, Clea, Diamondback, Elektra, Hellcat, Dani Moonstar, Namora, Songbird, Colleen Wing



Supernatural monster



Images on monitor

Anaconda, Aradnea, Dansen Macabre, Enchantress, Lady Deathstrike, Mystique, Shriek, Titiania


Written By: