Fearless Defenders #9

Issue Date: 
November 2013
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Will Sliney (artist), Veronica Gandini (cover artist), 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: 

Hercules, X-Man, Cannonball, Dr Strange, Iron Fist, Flash Thompson and Jack Russell gather at the Luck of the Irish Pub to come up with a plan to convince their respective female companions that forming this Defenders team is not a good idea, however the women are late, and when several of the men try summoning them, they get no response. The men compare stories of how life with their girlfriends has become difficult. For Flash Thompson, he is having trouble dealing with Valkyrie when she switches into her human host, Annabelle Riggs. Hercules explains that the last time he saw Warrior Woman she lost her head – literally. Dr Strange isn't sure why Clea has forgotten about him since she returned to Earth, however he is unaware that she did go to visit him, but saw through a window that he was being entertained by several scantily clad women, so she left. Meanwhile, the Defenders themselves – Moonstar, Valkyrie, Misty Knight, Clea, Warrior Woman and Elsa Bloodstone are battling the Headmen, the young Enchantress and Quicksand who have raised strange skull-like totems from beneath the city. The Defenders eventually take cover. The totems follow the villains down a street, while the Enchantress calls their employer, Caroline Le Fay, to report that they have the Pandemonium Axles as requested. However the villains must once again deal with the Defenders who mount another assault. During the battle, Valkyrie switches to Annabelle Riggs when she sees an ex-girlfriend in the crowd. Back at the bar, Jack complains to Iron Fist about dating a monster hunter, while Cannonball asks X-Man if he and Moonstar are an item. X-Man explains that he doesn't know – they just had a thing in Madripoor. Flash Thompson tries to get everyone to focus, when the bar waitress, who has been listening to the men complain, is revealed as the former heroine called Shamrock. She points out that the men seem not to think that their girlfriends can handle this super hero business without them. The Pandemonium Axles are then thrown into the bar, and the men join the battle against the Headmen, the young Enchantress and Quicksand. During the battle Misty Knight agrees to go on a trip with Iron Fist to Paris, while Moonstar is annoyed at X-Man for breaking the “what happens in Madripoor stays in Madripoor pact” and Clea informs Strange that she wants a divorce. With the villains defeated, Flash explains to Valkyrie that they thought she and her team needed help, to which Valkyrie reminds them all that she has won wars, while Warrior Woman informs Hercules that she is not interested in catching up. As Valkyrie strongly tells Strange that they don't need his help, Cannonball informs Moonstar and X-Man that it is cool they are kinda together, as he has his own thing going on – he is an Avenger now.


Full Summary: 

New York City, a cab pulls up outside the Luck of the Irish Pub, which has a sign on the door stating that it is closed for a private party. The Olympian god Hercules enters and exclaims 'Where the ladies at?' as several men turn and look up at him. 'Uh... hey, Herc. Uh, Hercules' remarks Flash Thompson in his Venom guise. Also gathered are Danny Rand a.k.a. Iron Fist, Dr Stephen Strange, Jack Russell, the Werewolf, and mutants Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie and Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man.

'No, really. Where are the ladies?' Hercules repeats. Holding a glass of red wine, Dr Strange remarks that they are late, not that he is surprised, and declares that something tells him this little gathering is more important to the men here, than it is to the women. 'This is important, all right? To all of us. Remember, we're here to help. I'm sure this means a lot to them... they probably just got sidetracked is all' Flash suggests.

Indeed, several blocks away, the Fearless Defenders – Clea, Dani Moonstar, Misty Knight, Valkyrie, Elsa Bloodstone and Hippolyta a.k.a. Warrior Woman are engaged in a street battle with several villains, while two strange mounds of several large skulls loom in the background. Clea hovers in the air above the battle, taking on Sylvie Lushton the second Enchantress. Quicksand blasts a wave of sand towards Warrior Woman, who holds a car up overhead, protecting some civilians from the attack. Dani Moonstar stands near the civilians, bow and arrow at the ready, while Misty Knight dodges the tendrils that extend from Ruby Thursday, Valkyrie readies herself against Chondu, and Elsa Bloodstone leaps towards Arthur Nagan.

'Looks like the boss knew what she was talking about after all. The Buzzkill Brigade! Hold 'em off... take 'em down... take 'em out for makeovers – please!' the young Enchantress orders, before remarking that she needs, like, three more minutes here, as her magic energies clash against Clea's.

'Lady Sandman, the Headmen and the Wicked Witch as played by Paris Hilton. I need a sit-rep from someone who understands this kind of crazy' Misty calls out to her teammates, while pointing at the skulls and guessing these sculptures are of the big and evil variety. Clea announces that they are, but that they aren't sculptures – they are alive, merely dormant, underground for a long time, and their foes are using a mixture of magic and technology to prod them awake. 'My best guess? They'll wake up cranky' Clea reports.

Hippolyta remarks that the artifacts bear resemblance to the totem poles of Dani Moonstar's culture, but as Dani ushers some civilians to safety, she replies 'Do these things look Cheyenne to you? Does anything about them really look “Native” or “American”?' she asks, adding 'Next time I see a lady in a tapout tee-shirt should I just assume she's one of your Amazons?'

As Arthur Nagan in his gorilla-suit lunges at Elsa Bloodstone, she dodges him and asks 'Are these twits part of a regular club?' and remarks that she loathes when the bad guys play nice with each other.

Valkyrie's sword clangs against Chondu's metal centipede-like body, and declares that they can figure that out later, but they must get the civilians to safety first. Hippolyta flies towards Quicksand and slams a fist into her face, while telling Valkyrie that her spirit is too greatly tempered by her human host. 'Let the mortals do the grunt work. I tire if playing nursemaid. What is that old saying about a good defense?' she adds, as she punches Quicksand's arm right off. 'That... should... do... it' the Enchantress exclaims. 'Somebody give the sorceress with incredible fashion sense a gold star' she grins, as her magic spell causes the large skull mounds to full rise out of the ground with a loud rumbling. 'Oh, $#%&!' Misty gasps  before leaping behind a cab that has been knocked onto its side and taking cover with Dani and Elsa as one of the large skull-mounds breathes fire towards her. 'The three of us ducking for cover... you know Hippolyta will never let us live this down, right?' Dani remarks. 'Look at the bright side. Maybe she won't survive' Misty points out as Hippolyta, Clea and Valkyrie stand before the strange skull mounds, that walk towards them on spindly legs, as Sylvie hovers overhead.

Back at the Luck of the Irish Pub, 'Well...whatever's going on, Val's not answering her phone' Flash announces. Iron Fist reports that Misty isn't answering either, and Jack Russell tells the others that Elsa's went straight to voice mail. Dr Strange puts his fingers to his temples and remarks that Clea is not responding to his mystic summons. 'Or my phone calls' he adds quickly, while a photo of a heroine clad in a green outfit hangs on the wall behind them. Nate Grey looks at his mobile phone and remarks that there is no response from Dani, either. Cannonball does the same, and adds that he doesn't know why she carries a phone, as she never answers. 'Noticed that, too, did you?' Nate asks, before both men say in unison 'Why are you here again?' Flash Thompson tells them that they are both here because he invited them, and that no one seems to know which of them dated, or is dating, the Moonstar chick. 'We care for Valkyrie and the others. And I think we can agree that this Defenders thing is a bad idea'. Dr Strange remarks that the idea behind the Defenders is sound, as the world is stranger than they might believe, and someone must stand against the tide of aberration and deviancy. 'Says the guy having a drink with the werewolf' Jack Russell remarks. Dr Strange adds that he thinks they can agree that this group could use some guidance.

'This is not the kind of party I expected. We should have just met a my tavern' Hercules remarks, before turning to the woman with red hair behind the bar: 'Barkeep! Is there not something we can watch on yon television?' he asks. 'A football match? Or perhaps a televised cheerleading competition?' he enquires. 'Nah. The telly's bust' the woman replies, leaning over the counter. Flash tells the others that ever since Val started this little all-girls club of hers, well, her life has gotten a little confusing. 'I mean dating an Asgardian is a challenge anyhow. But once you get past the bruises and mixed signals... hey, hooking up with a goddess isn't as bad deal. Or so I thought'.


Flash and Valkyrie are in bed, kissing, when suddenly: 'Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!' Dr Annabelle Riggs calls out as she appears in place of Valkyrie and finds herself kissing Flash. 'Hands off!' Annabelle shouts as she punches Flash. He turns away from her and rubs his jaw, while Annabelle tells him that she is sorry, but she is supposed to be looking out for Val, making sure she doesn't lose control. 'It's just that I... I wasn't sure how to handle that. I didn't want her to do something she might later regret. Sorry' Annabelle tells Flash.


'I mean, look, this other girl... Annabelle... is nice enough. But she's going to throw one helluva wrench into my love life' Flash points out. 'So you're lamenting that you have two ladyfriends for the headache of one?' Hercules asks, holding up a large glass of beer. 'You should be celebrating!' he exclaims, suggesting they share a flagon. 'I... I don't drink' Flash replies, adding that he figured it would be easier to convince everyone to show up if there were... refreshments. 'And I'm not sure how you'd define my current ladyfriend situation' Flash adds as he removes Hercules' hand from his shoulder.

'I hear you there, my friend. When I last saw Hippolyta... she... uh... lost her head' Hercules remarks, hanging his head. 'You mean that literally, don't you?' Iron Fist asks, adding that is exactly why he is not sure he loves the idea of Misty hanging around with some misandric Amazon warrior woman. 'Ahh... misandry! Never have the gods blessed us with a more potent aphrodisiac!' Hercules exclaims.

'They're going to kill us. You know that, right?' Iron Fist asks, turning to Flash, who rubs the back of his head. Dr Strange looks at his empty wine glass and states that he would be happy with imminent doom – if it mean Clea would talk to him. Dr Strange tells the other men that Clea was his greatest disciple, his closest friend – his lover, his wife. So why, then? After years of exile, would she not seek him out for aid when she returned to this realm? He adds that it troubles him that after all they went through together, all the adventures, that she forgot him so easily.

Flashback images

Clea did arrive at Dr Strange's home after her return to Earth – but when she walked up to the window, she found Strange sitting on a chair, with several scantily clad women dancing around him.


'Clea?' Hercules asks. 'With the leggings' Strange replies. 'Ah, yes! I liked her!' Hercules exclaims. The woman behind the bar listens as Flash suggests that it might be a good thing the women aren't here yet, and points out that they need to be on the same page if they are going to help. 'And, from the sound of it, we need a little time to get our act together. After all... let's call this what it is – an intervention'.

Back at the battle scene: 'That's right, Ms Le Fay. We found the Pandemonium Axles just like you said' Sylive Lushton tells Caroline Le Fay via her mobile phone, while Quicksand and the Headmen stand nearby, and the large skull mounds – the Pandemonium Axles – blast fire across the street. Sylvie assures Caroline that the incantation she gave her gassed them right up, and adds Ruby Thursday and her science geeks provided them with locomotion, and they are marching them down the middle of the street, letting them do their thing. 'Who's your girl?' Sylvie asks. 'Enchantress, you might want to -' Ruby Thursday begins, but Sylvie shushes her. 'Sorry, Ma'am, you were saying?' Sylvie asks. 'Phase two...sounds like a plan' Sylvie adds, before thanking Caroline and telling her that she will make her proud. Sylvie hangs up, and turns to Ruby Thursday, snarling 'Now...what is so important that you felt the need to talk all over me, Ruby?' 'If you weren't so preoccupied with your artful brown-nosing...you might have warned our employer that we are still in harm's way' Ruby replies, adding that they may have knocked their enemies for a loop, but it will only be a temporary reprieve. 'If there's one thing I've learned, it's -' Ruby begins, as Hippolyta swoops down and causes the villains to scatter as she smashes into Quicksand once more. '- it's that the Defenders always show up!' Ruby concludes.

Dani, Misty, Clea and Elsa confront Chondu and Nagan. 'Really, fellas' Misty tells them. 'It's in your best interests to stay down'. Elsa tells them that if they would prefer a proper hiding, then to please step up. Valkyrie leaps off her flying horse Aragon, towards the young Enchantress, 'Cxhild! You have chosen to guise yourself in the garb of one of my most hated enemies! I feel obliged to treat you as such!' Valkyrie exclaims. 'You really think five minutes out of boob armor gives you the right to question my fashion sense? Back off, skank!' Sylvie replies, casting a spell towards Valkyrie. Valkyrie lands on the ground and decides that she may dislike this teenage Enchantress more than the ancient one, but knows that she can vent her fury after she has gotten innocents out of harm's way. One of the Pandemonium Axles' fires a blast a building, and rubble starts to fall towards the street. 'Defenders defend after all' Valkyrie exclaims, holding her sword up to block some falling debris, while a woman covers her head in fear. 'Are you all right? Are you -' Valkyrie begins as she turns to the woman, before Annabelle suddenly takes over. 'Kaycee?' Annabelle exclaims. 'Annabelle?' the woman called Kaycee asks. 'What are you doing here?' Annabelle asks. 'I thought you were moving back to London' she declares. 'I... I...' Kaycee replies, before grabbing Annabelle and kissing her. Annabelle pushes Kaycee away and asks her what she is doing. 'You broke up with me! Remember!' she declares, telling Kaycee that she can't just kiss her out of the blue. 'Who does that?' she asks.

Valkyrie takes over once more: 'Annabelle, try not to become unsettled every time a mortal kisses us. We are fabulous' Valkyrie tells her. 'And take heed that it was your choice to retreat from this encounter. I did not ruin your chance at romance. Besides...I imagine you and Kaycee made a cute couple' Valkyrie remarks. 'Even though she wears clove-flavored lip balm' Valkyrie points out. 'Kind of nice when Annabelle can't talk back, isn't it?' Misty asks. 'I wouldn't know what you're referring to' Valkyrie replies, adding that they have a battle to win. 'Right on. After all... even amazing ladies like us can only keep the boys waiting for so long' Misty replies.

Back at the bar, Jack Russell is playing darts, he remarks to Iron Fist 'I mean... I thought things were going great between us. It's not every day a monster hunter puts aside their way of life for the sake of a relationship with a werewolf'. Iron Fist tells Jack that he really stinks at this game, but Jack ignores him and remarks that then Elsa goes off on some adventure without him, and when she returns, she is obsessed with all sorts of strange things – strange for her, he means. 'All she talks about is covenants... and Doom Maidens... and cosmic evils. But I guess we're all feeling a little left out, huh?' Jack adds, as nearby, Sam and Nate are sitting together, and Sam turns to Nate, asking if he and Dani are an item. 'I dunno. We had a thing in Madripoor' Nate replies.

Flash tells everyone to focus, and reminds them that they want what is best for their friends, so suggests they huddle up before they arrive, and try to figure out how to convince them that they could use their help. 'Aren't ye a right bunch of moaners?' the woman behind the bar calls out. Her name is Molly Fitzgerald – the hero formerly known as Shamrock! She tells the men that she has listened to about all their crap she can stand. 'So yer women went and formed their own little super team... and they didn't invite a one of you along?' she asks.

Molly continues, and tells the men that the way they have been going on, she can't blame the girls for leaving them out. 'I don't think you really -' Flash begins, but Molly shakes a finger at him and declares that she understands what is going on all right like. 'Don't think a girl can handle this super hero business without a big heap of man to hug them close when the $#%& hits the fan!' she exclaims, asking if that sums the thing up. 'No... that's not it at all. I...' Flash begins. 'What did I tell you, eh? Ahh... misandry' Hercules points out. Flash rubs his head and tells everyone to take a step back. 'I feel we're way off -' he begins, before one of the Pandemonium Axis' is thrown into the bar. Jack switches into his werewolf form, while the other men ready themselves and Molly rolls up her sleeves. 'Sorry we're late to the party' Misty calls out as she and Valkyrie stand in the large hole in the wall. 'If all of you just stay put, you'll be safe while we wrap this up' Valkyrie assures them. 'Stay put?' Flash asks. 'Like hell!' he exclaims as he and the other men rush outside to join the battle. Hippolyta slams a piece of metal into Quicksand, and Hercules tells her that she looks different. 'You as well. Less impressive somehow' Hippolyta responds. Jack Russell the Werewolf growls as he latches onto Chondu and twists his spindly form backwards. 'Yes, sweetie. Whatever you say' Elsa mutters.

Cannonball blasts through one of the Panedemonium Axis' splittiing it in half, while Dani fires an arrow towards it and asks Nate 'What do you mean you told him?' She exclaims that she was going to break the news to him. 'What about “What happens in Madripoor stays in Madripoor”?' she asks.

Iron Fist and Misty punch remains of the of the Pandemonium Axis, and Iron Fist suggests that after this they ditch these other losers. 'How's Paris sound? I've got a private jet on standby' he suggests. 'It's a date' Misty replies. Flash has switched to Venom form and moves towards Nagan: 'I'll eat your brains head-boy!' he snarls. 'Charming' Valkyrie mutters as she slams the side of her sword into Ruby's head, while hovering nearby, Sylvie Lushton appears in agony as she is attacked by the magics of both Clea and Strange. 'It's good to see you again, Stephen. I want a divorce' Clea announces.

Soon, the clean-up has begun, as the heroes start to put cabs back upright, move rubble and capture the villains. 'So... you calls us all together in order to convince us to disband?' Valkyrie asks. 'Not exactly... well... yeah, I guess so' Flash admits. Dr Strange tells Valkyrie that they thought she could use their help. 'After all, few people know more about being a Defender than I do' Strange remarks. 'You do know that I'm centuries older than both of you, right? I've led warriors into the field of battle... time and time again. I've won wars. I think we can handle the threats that lie before us' Valkyrie declares.

Hippolyta is moving some debris, and Herc suggests to her that once they are done here, they take some time to catch up. 'No' Hippolyta declares. 'But I thought -' Herc begins. 'No' Hippolyta exclaims.

Elsa and Jack look at each other, while Sam turns to Dani and Nate and tells them that it is cool that they are kinda together, as he has his own thing going on. 'I'm an Avenger now, y'know' he adds.

Valkyrie remarks 'To quote a friend, “We've got this on lock”' and tells Stephen that they don't need his aid, though she can almost appreciate the sentiment. She narrows her eyes and declares that for now, though, her team has business to attend to – and prisoners to interrogate!

Characters Involved: 

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

Dr Annabelle Riggs








Dr Strange

Iron Fist

Jack Russell the Werewolf

Venom IV


Enchantress II


Arthur Nagan, Chondu, Ruby Thursday (all Headmen)





In Flashbacks


Dr Annabelle Riggs




Dr Strange


Story Notes: 

Annabelle Riggs was killed in Fearless Defenders #6, and since #8, has been the new human host for Valkyrie.

X-Man and Moonstar kissed in New Mutants (3rd series) #40.


Written By: