6 Women I’d Pick for the Fearless Defenders
Picking my own superhero team lineups has become a bit of a game here at Henchman-4-Hire, one I love playing and sharing with you readers. Who among us hasn’t thought up their own ultimate Avengers lineup in their heads? Who among us hasn’t wished for a chance to pitch to Marvel their awesome new X-Force roster?
How about the Fearless Defenders?
This list started as characters I would add to Cullen Bunn’s Fearless Defenders series – but the comic got the ax after only a dozen issues. I didn’t read it as much as I should have, but the idea of a women-only superhero team (or at least one with a single token male) could be a lot of fun, and it definitely makes a statement in the world of comics. So join me, won’t you, in coming up with our own ideal Fearless Defenders squad!
In my humble opinion, I think Bunn focused too much on plot and not enough on character. Regular readers of my blog will know that’s my complaint about a lot of comics, but I think it’s a legitimate issue these days. Mark my words, character-based comics like Hawkeye, FF and the new She-Hulk are the wave of the future, while comics like New Warriors or All-New X-Factor aren’t going to last.
As such, my Fearless Defenders would put more focus on the ladies out of costume bonding and doing normal people things than it would be about them gearing up to punch random bad guys. Though, of course, they would punch some bad guys.
Honorable Mention: Scarlet Spider
While I like the idea of publishing a comic about an all-girls team, if you really want to flip the expectations on their head, then the all-girls team needs one token guy. That’s how it works the other way. There’s the Justice League and Wonder Woman. The X-Men and Jean Grey. The Fantastic Four and the Invisible Woman. The Avengers and the Wasp. That’s the trope. So for my Fearless Defenders, we’d have one token guy, and I pick the Scarlet Spider!
I think Kaine, the gruff clone of Spider-Man, is in a pretty great place these days. He’s got his life back, he’s a pretty badass superhero, and he generally wants to help people. Sadly, his solo series didn’t last very long, but it was a good comic. The writer, Christopher Yost, has decided to bring Kaine into his new New Warriors comic, but I don’t think that’s going to be a very good fit. Instead, I like Kaine for my Fearless Defenders! He’s got the right sort of attitude to fit into a team of all women. He’s not a chauvinist and not particularly full of himself, so he wouldn’t be trying to prove anything gender-wise. And he’s not a horn dog, so he wouldn’t always be trying to get into his teammates’ underpants. Plus being part-Spider-Man is always fun. Kaine would be a tough, no-funny-stuff, but still sometimes witty foil for the all-girls squad.
Plus he’d have to look after…
The breakout star of Yost’s Scarlet Spider series was Aracely the Mexican demigod! She’s picked the name Hummingbird, has some cool empathy powers, and wears a kind of overly complicated costume. But she’s the perfect mix of adorable or eager to help that she could be the cute, young, rookie member of the team. She needs a better mentor than Kaine, and the ladies on the team could provide that leadership – though Kaine and Aracely would still be an important buddyship.
Janet Van Dyne would be the leader of my Fearless Defenders, the one whose bright idea it would be to gather a team of all-women to take on whatever threats I wanted them to take on. Janet was a founding member of the Avengers, and she deserves her own project and a higher profile, especially after she just spent a few years being ‘comic book dead’. (She wasn’t really dead, just shrunk down to the Microverse.) But instead of just being the Wasp, I would expand Janet’s power-set to include growing as well as shrinking. And why not include Matt Fraction’s new definition of Pym Particles from Scott Lang’s big climax in FF? I would give Janet the ability to grow, alter her density and her strength levels. Why let her ex-husband have all the fun of swapping identities? She could be a new Hornet or Killer Wasp or something sufficiently badass.
Every team needs a powerhouse, and I didn’t want to just add She-Hulk to the roster because she’s just too obvious. So how about She-Hulk arch-enemy Titania? She hasn’t done anything worthwhile in a long time, so why not make her the bad girl trying to go good? Everybody loves a story about a super-villain trying to reform, especially me, and Titania would be my choice. She’s got the strength, she’s got the unique body type, and she’s got the gregarious personality to help shake things up in a team setting.
Joystick is a personal favorite of mine, and someone I would absolutely bring out of Comic Book Limbo if Marvel would let me. Janice Oliva Yanizeski is an adrenaline junkie who gets off on action and excitement, and just so happened to model her villain identity after video games – not that anybody has used a joystick in nearly 20 years. She started life as a wealth-obsessed villain, but had a stint with the Thunderbolts that I definitely enjoyed. Joystick is ripe for bringing back as a modern, sassy superhero with a lot of moxy. Kids still say ‘moxy’ right?
2. Black Cat
Black Cat has tried teams before, but the dangers of cancellation have always cut her chances before she could really shine. She was even in an issue or two of the real Fearless Defenders. Black Cat is one of those characters who always deserves more attention, but rarely gets the chance. Kevin Smith once tried to make her a star, but the less said about his take on her the better. Kevin Smith is mostly dead to me because of that comic. Black Cat had a pretty nice solo mini-series a few years ago, and was one of the Marvel Divas. But on my Fearless Defenders, she would be one of the main characters, since I know she has a big fanbase, and deserves the spotlight more than most.
Why hasn’t Marvel given Songbird the prominence she so richly deserves? Songbird has been waiting since Dark Reign to be given some exposure. She’s a fun, fascinating character who has a truly inspiring personal story. Songbird started out as the obscure, pointless villain Screaming Mimi, then got picked to make the jump to would-be superhero when she joined the first Thunderbolts as Songbird. Since then, Melissa Gold has been struggling to maintain her life as a superhero even as the rest of the world seems to want to treat her as a villain. And she was instrumental in gathering evidence against Norman Osborn when he took over the world. But alas, Songbird has languished in nowheresville since then.
Now is the time for her to shine, Marvel! Just give me the chance!
That’s my team, what about yours? Which female superheroes would you put on your own Fearless Defenders? Let us know your dream team in the comments!