JANE FOSTER: VALKYRIE #1
Writers: Jason Aaron & Al Ewing
Artist: CAFU (Carlos Urbano)
Colorist: Jesus Abuetov
Letterer: Joe Sabine
I simply can’t contain my excitement. Now, I know what your thinking: “Great. Here comes Dylan with another Thor related post. He's probably gonna gush all over how much he loved it.” Yes. You are correct. But unlike my previous Thor posts, it’s not about Thor. It’s about a new hero. New powers. New adventures. New possibilities. And in the wake of the multiple bomb drops Marvel executed this past weekend at San Diego Comic Con, the hype around Jane Foster is REAL. It’s wonderful, and I am one hundred percent here for it.
Continuing on immediately after the New Valkyrie’s origin in WAR OF THE REALMS: OMEGA (which is also fantastic, check it out if you haven’t already), our War Maiden is instantaneously thrown into battle when a team of C-List villains, The Fast Five, are robbing an truck with valuable Asgardian and Dark Elf weapons in it, in broad day light in New York City. You’d think that by now, criminals would just leave New York City alone, given the amount of superhumans that live there, but nope. So here we have a color-coded team of villain wannabes facing a former Goddess armed with an evolved weapon, Undrjarn the All-Weapon. Think Witchblade, but gold and with wings. Needless to say 3 of the 5 criminals are easily dispatched, while the 4th makes a run for it. Turns out he got his hands on Dragonfang, a sword that belonged to Brunnhilde, the greatest of all Valkyries, who was wiped out during the War along with the rest of her Valkyrie sisters. Before Jane can begin persuit, she’s stopped by the Team’s bruiser/tank member who throws a car at her. With passengers in it. He’s dispatched just as easily as the rest. Unbeknownst to our Valkyrie, the final member of the Fast Five doesn’t make the getaway. His escape is interrupted by a shadowy figure and is met with the business end of Dragonfang. The foreshadowing of things to come piques here and questions arise. Following the events of a regular NewYork City day, we’re given Jane’s experience as she begins to balance being a superhero and a doctor. How she handles her day-to-day and the consequences of her choices. Appointed to her resident hospital’s morgue, she steps in on an autopsy of our escaped Fast Five member and it’s clear as to what was the cause of death. Valkyrie makes her way to the gates of Valhalla via Fast travel to speak with the sword’s former owner in hopes of her having a way in which to find it. Fruitless in her harvest for the answer to her question, Brunnhilde does give her wise words in preparation for what it means to be a Valkyrie and the responsibility it bears.
From Valhalla back to New York, Jane is accompanied by a significant someone whom she thinks can help, but instead of providing the information that she wants, she’s given information she needs about her new abilities. One in particular, her death eyes (name pending?). The ability to see just how close death is to a being by way of a black bubble forming around a person’s aura. It’s here where we hit our dark Jason Aaron turn. The finale of this issue is a sad one, but we are finally allowed our first glimpse at who our Heroine’s first real villain is. That person is literally CRAZY.
This is a great fist issue. We weren’t bombarded with too much information which left plenty for the imagination and the sequence and pace of the issue was really well thought out. From my “hell yeah” moments to the “oh no” shockers, Aaron keeps the stride through the issue and holds strong. I am really happy to see Jane Foster back in this form. Her tenure as the Goddess of Thunder was definitely one of my most favorable moments in comics in recent years. It’s quite fascinating how Aaron projects the thoughts and feelings of a human experiencing god-like omnipotence but keeps the moral foundation of the most decent minded of people. As the adage goes, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” With Aaron’s Jane Foster, that is not the case. In her new form, we are given something fresh. Rather than her keeping someone’s seat warm, she’s given the whole damn row of chairs. All the power but with a different responsibility.
CAFU. IF YOU’RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE NAME, I SUGGEST YOU REEVALUATE YOUR COMIC COLLECTION. Carlos Alberto Fernandez Urbano is one of my favorite artists of all time. His work with Valiant Comics is absolutely legendary. X-O Manowar, RAI, Bloodshot are all in his resume and with him doing the interior art for Valkyrie, he is only going to skyrocket from his already Olympus-sized plateau of artistic legend. His work with Jane Foster completely fits the entire motif and vibe I get from Aaron’s writing. Like Greek statues, his art is a perfect blend of subtle muscle shade and excellent line work. Everything looks applicable in real life, rather than garish, over the top art and character designs. Hell, even the Fast Five look good. Since this is the first issue, I didn’t expect to get the epic splash pages, but his choice in panel proportioning in this has me excited for the absolute madness that is most definitely in the foreseeable future.
So tell me? Are you hyped yet? Last week we got confirmation at SDCC that Jane Fos-Thor’s presence in the MCU is definite. This past Wednesday we were given her first official non-Thor solo run. Just today, it was confirmed that VALKYRIE #1 sold out and is getting a second printing. Initially, when it was announced that Jane Foster would take the mantle of Thor, it was met with mixed reviews. The entire outage with the “All-New” line was by far the most controversial in years. Mostly people complaining that Thor would be a girl (low-key sexist, much?). While to me, personally, I didn’t care for the other All-News, save for Wolverine, it was definitely Lady Thor who stood out. There were so many people mad about the gender change, it was unbelievable. Being Thor is about being worthy, not about sex. So to see her rise to the Asgardian challenge, then step away, lie dormant, make a triumphant last stand in WotR, and to re-emerge as her own character is something awesome to witness and it makes me proud to be immersed in the comic culture. Overcoming adversity has always been the main undertone of comics, and Jane Foster, both literally and figuratively, has done that and in no time soon do I see her doing otherwise.