Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1
Writers: Jason Aaron and Al Ewing
In 2014, Marvel shook up its Earth-616 universe. One of the biggest changes – Thor Odinson was no longer worthy of Mjolnir. “There must always be a Thor”, the mantra goes. So a new Champion was deemed worthy of the mighty hammer. Jane Foster, a mainstay of the comic series and one of Thor’s most recognisable love interests, now plagued by cancer, was Mjolnir’s ‘chosen one’.
For a lot of people, this was controversial. Some were strongly against women taking over the book (heh). Others didn’t approve the choice of the character, as Jane Foster has, apparently, become a rather disliked character. And some, like me, enjoyed the hell out of the run.
Anyway, FosThor was the centre of the Thor book for almost four years, before destroying Mjolnir in her fight against Mangog and leaving the superheroing behind so she could fight cancer. For a while, she was pushed to the sideline, before returning to this year’s War of the Realms where she played a major role. And at the end of that event, after helping the heroes fight of Malekith’s forces, she got a brand new… job. The mysterious Underjarn, the All-Weapon, has become a part of her, and faith has chosen her to be the new (and, sadly, only) Valkyrie. She might have experience with being Thor, a superhero, but being a Valkyrie is something quite different.
The book feels a lot like the early issues of FosThor. She is a bit more comfortable this time around, sure, but there are so many different things she needs to get a grasp on. Not only does she have some strange new powers, but she also has a new duty, a job that she has to take care of. She must lead the souls of slain heroes to Valhalla and ‘tis no small task.
The credited writers of this book are Jason Aaron and Al Ewing. It’s hard to distinguish who does what, but I assume Al Ewing is working from Jason Aaron’s ideas. One problem I have with the issue is the amount of expositional monologue. It slows the book down, especially in the first half, in the fight against the Fast Five. The name of the team is the first of the two dumb (and really fun) references to the Fast and Furious movie series.
But yeah, way too much exposition.
What I did enjoy, however, is the way Jane settles into her two new jobs – that of the Valkyrie, of course, and that of a morgue assistant. Discovering her new powers is going to play a pretty large role in this first arc, obviously. One particularly interesting power is how she is able to see the impending death of the people around her. It manifests as a purple globe with a skull above people’s heads. The larger the globe, the more imminent the death is. We’ll see how this power affects the story going forward. If used correctly, it might be a great plot device for a lot of potential arcs in the future.
Cafu is the designated artist. The linework is clear and nice, and the art is quite detailed. The opening splash page is awesome, with fantastic colours and a nice sense of depth to it. The only downside are the narrative boxes with the aforementioned Jane’s monologue. There is nine of those on that first page alone and they negatively affect its overall aesthetic.
Jesus Aburtov does a fine job with his colours… most of the time. That opening splash is, like I said, fantastic. Jane’s arrival at Valhalla is beautiful. There is a panel with Jane Foster and Heimdall stepping out of a bifrost portal that is worthy of a two-page spread. And seeing a certain street-level villain riding a Pegasus is awesome as it’s absurd. However, at times, the colours look cold and mechanic, missing that special kick and… “unff”.
But honestly, the book looks really good and I’m just being nit-picky.
There are some really great ideas in Jane’s first outing as the Valkyrie. Time will tell how it’ll all play out – both the creativity behind the book, as well as it’s longevity – but I’m rather optimistic about it. The team behind it has some serious pedigree and that alone is proof enough that Marvel has some faith in the book.
Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1
A strong first outing of Jane as the new (and only) Valkyrie. The only problem is you can’t blend her two names as it was the case with her Thor persona. Sorry, I meant FosThor.