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The Delicate Balance Of Life, Death, And Having A Horse For A Roomate (Valkyrie #4 Review)


Writers: Jason Aaron & Al Ewing

Artist: Cafu

Colorist: Jesus Aburtov

Letterer & Production: VC’s Joe Sabino

Cover Artist: Mahmud Asrar & Matthew Wilson

Publisher: Marvel

Rating: 9/10 Priceless & Potentially Magical Artifacts

After that beautiful journey and saying goodbye to Heimdall, I was eager to see where Jane would go next in this series. She is still seeking to understand how her new abilities work as well as trying to figure out who hired Bullseye to come after Heimdall. Luckily we have Al Ewing and Jason Aaron to ferry us along. Spoilers ahead.

Millennial Problems

From a bittersweet goodbye in the most beautiful scenes to grace the pages of a comic, we find ourselves now staring down a horse who really has something to say. It’s Mr. Horse, and he is Jane’s newest companion in the fight against evil. The horse is a hilarious addition to the story with his proud demeanor and at the moment, kind of a freeloader. I don’t want to focus on it too much but I mean it’s a horse that talks and if it’s incorporated in my title, then it’s brought up. Rather than worry about signing Mr. Horse up as an emotional support horse, or paying the fine for pets, or even just bills in general, she is preoccupied with tracking down Annabelle Riggs. Who better to give some Valkyrie pointers than someone who shared a body with one?

Guest Starring

You know what every good comic needs? A team-up. When introductions go poorly with Annabelle, it’s time to distract from the awkwardness with surprising danger as Doctor Strange points out that an auction on sale is actually a rogues’ gallery delivery mechanism for Valkyrie and the Sorcerer Supreme to fight. The inclusion of Doctor Strange took me completely by surprise yet I love that Jane Foster feels like she essentially just stumbled into someone else’s story. She doesn’t have to worry for long as the Grim Reaper shows up to remove Strange from the equation, and worse, came to take Jane’s job as Valkyrie thanks to some clever loopholes by his employer, Mephisto. The whole being the person in charge of death is quite the competitive job market.

Art Worthy Of Valhalla

Cafu continues to bring something new to each issue that has me unable to look away. This issue I found myself most mesmerized sitting in the business office of Mephisto as his art came to life with Mephisto’s display of humor. Each smile definitely felt sinister coming from him as if you truly were experiencing the devil’s smile. It was also impressive to see how creepy he made the Grim Reaper look in this. His character combined with colors from Aburtov, stood out in almost a realistic quality.

Marvel’s Two-In-One

I’m always super curious about the writing process when more than one person is involved coming up with the dialogue and story in an issue. It’s gotta be some challenging work. Like having a magical talking horse as a roommate. Whatever the case is, Ewing and Aaron felt very in sync as this issue took us through ominous moments, funny memorable moments and times of action. 

Along with their amazing teamwork in traveling through different tones of emotion in the issue, these two did something I truly love about the Marvel and DC universes that I don’t feel like it sticks the landing enough. I’m of course talking about balancing the ability to have your character and story interact with the rest of the universe it exists in but doesn’t make you feel like you need to be purchasing everything coming out to keep track. Our issue opens with us getting some entertaining exposition from Mephisto who even casually and in a manner much like him, explains why he is where he is. A quick note from the editor to let you know where to look if you want to know more and we are moving on without feeling lost. Expertly done! Then you have Strange’s appearance. It’s a surprise to see him, and while it turns into a brief fight with some of his villains, it’s not part of his series. He’s just there and it helps to show that especially in New York that there is a large chance of running into fellow heroes but you don’t need it to be a tie-in.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I don’t know. Four issues in and I feel like our 3rd issues with Heimdall, in a way, captures a lot of how I feel about this series. There has been so much that has happened within Marvel’s history. Some things have a tendency to feel played out. Then Jason Aaron came along and had Nick Fury whisper the words in Thor’s ear that would have him drop his hammer only for Jane to pick it up and for us to witness an epic that changed everything. It was well deserved that after Jane gave up the mantle of Thor that she earned something just as worthy in title and while she is still trying to learn what being Valkyrie means, we are right there with her as she travels that path. This series truly is a journey into mystery.

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