COMIC REVIEW: Fearless Issue 1

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An anthology of stories about Marvel’s female characters, staffed by Marvel’s female creators is a great idea. Releasing the first issue the same week as a massively hyped X-Men relaunch featuring really big hats and spooky flowers? Perhaps not so much. Especially as Fearless is one of the most interesting titles Marvel have put out in a while.

‘Campfire Song’ opens the anthology. Written by Seanan McGuire, it follows the frantic preparations at Camp Gloriana in Maine for their latest speakers. These speakers include Sue Storm, Captain Marvel and Storm. We follow all three women as they make their preparations and get a glimpse at not just their own lives but the possibility of something odd at the camp…

No one on Earth does menace like McGuire. Likewise humor and there’s plenty of both here, all of which is great fun .But what really stands out is the very different approaches each of the women invited take. Sue is all but pushed out of the door by Reed, as part of an ongoing attempt to become more visible and see what good she’s doing in the world. Captain Marvel doesn’t want to do it at all but trusts her staff enough to actually schedule them pushing her into it. Storm is Storm; determined, implacable, compassionate and troubled. None of them are sitting right in their lives, they all know that and Camp Gloriana is a line in the sand they won’t cross. That combination of heroism and humanity is extraordinarily well realized here and the installment is drawn brilliantly too, thanks to Claire Roe and Rachelle Rosenberg on color art.

‘Style High Club’ by Leah Williams brings back classic Marvel character Millie the Model. The art by Nina Vakueva has a really lovely style to it that manages to simultaneously evoke certain manga characteristics, older Western techniques and have a style all it’s own. The story follows Millie and friends through a photo shoot and while it’s light and breezy it’s also very information and action dense and elegant at every step. This is exactly how you reintroduce a character, and as pilot episodes go you won’t have seen as graceful or as kind a one as this in some time.Rachelle Rosenberg’s color work is especially impressive too.

The final story here, ‘Unusual Suspects’, is written by Kelly Thompson. Starring Jessica Jones, a character Thompson always writes well, it’s illustrated by Carmen Carniero with color art by Tamra Bonvillain. It’s a great team and the payoff is glorious and impossible to talk about without spoiling. This is a story that gets odd in the best way and has the best double act in comics at it’s core. Trust me. Go into this one unspoiled.

Fearless is off to a fantastic start. Rounded out by spotlights of some of the creators involved it’s an endlessly inventive, fun book. Pick it up for everything. Trust me. It’s all that good.

Fearless Issue 1 is out now.
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