Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney continue the conversation between Hela, Valkyrie and the All-Mother to open “Fearless Defenders” #3 as it is decided to include Hippolyta on the quest to halt the Doom Maidens. This magnifies the tension on the team, but gives Bunn more grist for the mill.
Bunn drives the exposition-heavy story through dialog and caption boxes and has a bit of fun with the lower-third style character descriptors for each new character that appears on the page. As they are introduced to the reader, Bunn also gives each a quick snap of dialog to reveal the personality. This includes the antagonists of “Fearless Defenders” #3 as well as the Doom Maidens once they appear. To get there, the All-Mother charges Annabelle Riggs to join the quest as a member of Valkyrie’s team, which Bunn plays up to comedic effect both at the time of declaration and later on as Riggs parades around in her civilian attire with a Viking helmet.
Will Sliney’s art is good enough to get the job done, but not spectacular. This issue is filled with female characters and only one male character and Sliney does a solid job of individualizing each of the ladies by their outfit and equipment, despite a tendency to give them all a very similar, slender build. To his credit, Sliney doesn’t resort to cheesecake poses or overly sexualized costume construction. Veronica Gandini’s coloring emphasizes lighting, darker hues and energy effects while splashing patterns into the story. The overall look helps the story move forward with quickly, catering to bursts of action, but falling just short of awesome.
The final page “cliffhanger” isn’t charged with any sort of suspense. It packs a revelation and asks the reader for reaction, but the revelation just isn’t must-see. It’s a nice thread pulled out for next issue, but seems like a limp break, most likely the result of this issue being written for a longer story. Truly, “Fearless Defenders” #3 is a snippet from a longer arc and reads as such, but that doesn’t stop it from providing some entertainment and solid character bits for future issues as the team continues to coagulate while Bunn tries to find appropriate voices for each of Valkyrie’s new allies.