As a new character joins the cast of Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney’s Fearless Defenders, so she joins team members Valkyrie and Misty Knight in our growing group shot of the team! Today sees the release of Fearless Defenders #2, which sees Dani Moonstar enter the scene. The leader of the New Mutants for years and years now, Moonstar is a Native American character who was depowered during the M-Day storyline – but that didn’t stop her from her duties as team leader.
Now stepping into Fearless Defenders, I asked artist Will Sliney a few questions about the character, and her design in the book. Will’s been profiling all the characters as they appear, and you can find his previous looks into Valkyrie and Misty Knight here. But as we’ve been going on, Will’s been adding each member into a group image of the team, which establishes his ability to draw expressive and individual female faces for his cast. Read on! And gawp!
Steve: We’ve spoken previously on your interest in the mythology and cultural identity of Valkyrie. With Dani Moonstar, do you feel that same interest? As a Native American character, she is again a character with a vast cultural background all her own.
Will: Yeah, it’s nice to see the cultural diversity in Fearless Defenders already coming to the forefront. Anything new can be a big interest to me too. Obviously I know much more about Norse mythology having grown up on this side of the Atlantic, but its important to learn about the backgrounds of each new member. I have had fun researching for her.
Steve: As a Cheyenne, she again has quite specific facial features such as a flatter, longer nose, and quite pronounced cheekbones. How do you approach the character, in terms of look and features?
Will: I usually create a model sheet for each character. You can hopefully see the different facial features already in the group shots that have been building here at The Beat each month. You pretty much have hit the nail on the head for Dani. These features will have been laid out before in the many artists who have drawn her. I really liked David LaFuente’s recent take.
Moonstar joins Misty Knight and Valkyrie in Will’s group shot of the Fearless Defenders cast
Steve: While the other two characters are hand-to-hand fighters, Moonstar tends to use ranged weapons like the bow and arrow. Has this come into play in the action sequences, or do you prefer to have her in the middle of the fighting alongside the other cast members? How do you plan fight sequences?
Will: Dani’s opening scene shows that she can mix it up in hand to hand combat even when she is out of arrows. Bow or no bow. I think being de-powered, Dani is on a mission to prove herself as a fighter, so she is not afraid to go in fists first.
Steve: She’s also well known for having spent time as a valkyrie herself, with several stints in Asgard. How do you think the character fits in alongside Valkyrie, both visually and in personality?
Will: Its obviously an important part of the story. Dani does look different from Valkyrie when she is in her full Valkyior form. (I always have difficulty spelling that word.) and that is reflected in Dani’s personality too. I’m not too sure yet how highly Valkyrie respects Dani at the start. We will have to wait and see…