What happens when Death comes for Death? It’s a crazy concept and one that Jason Aaron and Al Ewing are bold to even attempt. In the opening pages of Valkyrie: Jane Foster #7, we see Valkyrie aka Jane Foster attempt to understand and she admits it’s too big for even gods to wrap their heads around. The perfect adventure a team of superhero doctors can’t handle.
This is part two in a two-part story, but it’s quite easy to pick up and dive into. That’s thanks to a great first page that explains where we are and how insane this mission is for the heroes. It’s quite a cast of heroes with Doctor Strange, Night Nurse, Manikin, Faiza Hussain and Cardiac, who suspiciously has not always been a hero. There are some creative ideas at work here that add up to what is basically proof you could pull off a superhero doctor team. There are trials to undertake, like a sea of pus, and an interesting key scene that forces each hero to see something quite dark from their pasts. This leads to some discovery for some and it’s fun to see how Valkyrie comes out on top.
Jane may be even stronger than when she was Thor based on what she endures here. She is the title character after all, but she gives an interesting speech about life and death that makes a good point. What is life without death? Understandably, the point is made that if nobody dies, wouldn’t this just be a cancerverse? Something from Jane’s past I actually didn’t know is brought up, further showing Jane has endured more loss and death than most. It’s a powerful element exceptionally highlighted with an incredible last full-page spread.
There is a slightly quick resolution to it all. It makes sense I suppose, but there aren’t enough pages to flesh it out and make it feel earned.
Pere Perez draws this issue with colors by Jesus Abertov and there are some interesting layout designs that make this realm look particularly weird and magical. The standout moment involves a boatman of a pus river that is revealed to be something else entirely. What we see is quite a grotesque thing when seen through Valkyrie’s eyes. The paintings the characters see that reveal truths about their pasts are quite well done too. Again, the final full-page splash is quite pretty in its scary nature.
Shout out to Joe Sabino’s letters which bring additional life to the word balloons. A simple ellipsis showing Doctor Strange pause before a brief sentence does a lot to show he’s contemplative and maybe a bit scared. Sabino was my favorite letterer of 2019 and he continues to do great work here.
This is Al Ewing’s last issue on the series before Torunn Grønbekk takes over as co-writer with Aaron and I can’t picture a better issue to go out on. It captures the heart of Jane Foster well, offers lots of creative ideas, and makes for a fun adventure.
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