A new threat emerges in the eighth issue of Valkyrie which is co-written by Jason Aaron series newcomer Torunn Grønbekk. Now that Valkyrie has sorted out the death of Death, what new cosmic-level threat must she vanquish? Why, none other than the poisoning of the world itself!
I can’t help but start by talking about the art by Cafu with colors by Jesus Aburtov. In the opening pages, there is an atmospheric and disturbing look at evil gaining power. These opening pages have a storybook feel that is mythical and creative. Next up is a scene with Jane at lunch that is casual, but never loses sight of the soul in the character’s eyes. When she eventually powers up as Valkyrie she may not be a god, but she looks the part. The use of yellow electricity is colored very well and the skin is stark white and godlike. The artistic team does well to capture the grandeur of Thor, the adventure of Captain America, and the weirdness of Spider-Man. Each character is heroic and epic in their look and feel.
The story is pretty darn absorbing, too. Aaron has traditionally been fantastic at telling tales within tales and we get a big one in this issue. The threat seems like a cancer of sorts at first, but soon we’re learning it’s a threat even Odin was wary of. Using the Avengers in this issue helps remind us Valkyrie is as powerful as they come and likely more powerful when it comes to healing. She is a doctor, after all. It’s also nice to see how her addiction to being a hero continues to develop here and it’s clear she’s made some progress since being Thor.
I did find the exposition to run a bit too long two-thirds of the way through the book. I was left a bit bored as two characters talk things out and the threat conveniently disappears for a spell. My only other gripe is the lack of background in most shots. Cafu does an incredible job rendering Valkyrie’s horse Mr. Horse–the musculature and armor on the horse are quite great–but when action is intense it can be hard to follow what is going on. When there is no action at all, scenes can feel a bit flat without an environment backing things up.
In the hands of these creators, Valkyrie is becoming one of the most exciting heroes in Marvel Comics. Her unique perspective, powers, and back story all add up to being one of the more complex story arcs amongst the heroes. Jane Foster has transformed more than once and it’s exciting to see how she develops even further.