As a kid, The Defenders was right up there with X-Men and Justice League of America for me in terms of team books, and watching this non-team struggle to hold readers for the past couple of decades has been pretty tough. With lots of great reviews, and good fan support (from what I'm hearing and reading at least), this book will hopefully have a bright future.
Tying the team to Valkyrie has been a great idea, and refreshing compared to the last relaunch of this book that resurrected the team of Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer and Namor. Nothing against any of those characters, but after Fear Itself, Valkyrie has a lot of momentum right now, and bringing back the prominence of a once-great brand is an excellent way to showcase her.
There was a death in this issue, but I can't see it sticking, and if anything, it seems to be a plot device to allow Val to incorporate a larger cast on a somewhat more permanent basis, not that permanence has ever been the hallmark of the Defenders.
I don't mind this being an all female team book at this point, but I hope that eventually, that is discarded in order to bring back some great former defenders. During this issue and the last, we already got to see Val reunite with Hellcat, and imagine the possibilities that would open up if gender becomes a non-factor here?!
We could see Nighthawk (my favorite Defender of all-time!), The Gargoyle, Moondragon, Damion Hellstrom, Devil Slayer, Cloud, Dr. Druid etc. etc. etc. The massive historical roster of The Defenders could make for endless options with this book, and I hope it sells well enough to see those explored.
I'm happy Marvel took a flyer on The Defenders again so soon after the dismal Matt Fraction version of this team last year, and I couldn't be happier to put this on the top of my pile every month.