It has been an interesting week for fans Jane Foster. On one hand you have the rest of the world catching up with the fact that Jane Foster has been Thor, and on the other hand, the rest of us are taking those next step forward with Jane Foster taking on a new role as Valkyrie. When this was first announced, I was shocked. Since I didn’t finish War of the Reams yet, there was some questions about how this came to be! Truthfully, this is going to be one of those books where you might have to go out there and do a bit of research beforehand.
Now of course, there is a difference between going out to do some research and having to go back to read certain issues of an event book. One costs you only some of your time, while the other actually costs you money. The dealbreaker for a book like this will always be whether it is welcoming for those who simply want to jump right into it. Will it make you feel like you missed something? Or will there be a strong enough introduction that you get the gist of what got to this point? I would say that this first issue struck a very good balance of getting everyone on the same page. Didn’t spend too much time explaining anything, and neither did it jump too far that you would feel left behind. There was a smooth transition from summing up Jane Foster’s experiences, to getting straight into what this new role is like for her.
What I found entertaining about that first scene is how they assured us that this would still be a well-rounded story. When I say this, I mean the opportunity that they are ready to give Jane Foster to be a hero, be a Valkyrie, and be herself. I hope I speak for most of us when I say that one of the biggest accomplishments of the Mighty Thor series was the balance struck between being Thor, Asgardian ambassador, and a cancer patient. This debut opened us up to the new set of struggles that she will have to face. There was a short time where I asked myself why she really needed a secret identity, but she really isn’t like most heroes. She enjoys her normal life, she relishes in the adrenaline of being a hero, but neither is worth giving up for the other. Not even when she has to work her way back up from the morgue. This job in the hospital was definitely convenient, though there was no denying Jane of this opportunity to learn and grow from the bottom.
There was also no better time to address what makes a Valkyrie. One would think that being a Valkyrie is easy when you have been Thor, but a line was drawn in the sand for this first issue. I would say that all of us benefited from this chance to be reminded of what a Valkyrie’s duties are, to whom, and the very things they can do which makes them special. Honestly, when I saw some of the things Jane could do, it made the impact of seeing an army of Valkyries dying that much painful.
I was also impressed that they decided to put Jason Aaron and superstar Al Ewing together as writers. These are two quality writers, and it was definitely easy picking apart who was offering what to the appeal of this story. Jason Aaron clearly had a handle on Jane’s voice which held the same consistency as someone who he has been writing for a long time now. Then you have Al Ewing who has a keen sense of direction for the overall story. Some of that you might be able to catch if you are someone currently reading Immortal Hulk.
When they also announced that the artist for this book would be CAFU? That was a BIG draw-in for me. If you are familiar with CAFU’s work, you know that you are in for a treat. What actually caught me off guard most was the realization that Marvel had an artist this talented on-hand to tackle a book like this. His pencils were so clean, detailed, and his form was commendable. not only this, but his sense of perspective as well. There was plenty of scenes where he beautifully embraces the grace of a Valkyrie in flight. With that said, he also embraces the fun that Jane has in this new role. It was easy to miss that smile on her face when she’s powered up and in control. Now as far as things new? The way he drew the All-Weapon was creative. It had a certain fluidity to it which helped with the convincing of its transformative properties. The possibilities right now are endless of what Jane could have this thing turn into, and you know CAFU can handle whatever it is. On the same note, Jesus Aburtov was perfect as colorist. I loved the range of colors he was able to deliver, the boldness, and not to mention the effects which brought out the uniqueness of Valkyries abilities. That death-vision as I would call it is probably one of the most stunning displays I have seen for someone who has a connection to the afterlife. The black, mixed with purple, mixed with white was quite chilling to create that orb with a skull on it.
Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1 feels like the start of something memorable, just like Mighty Thor. Right now, there is no one tearing down the walls to the mythos of iconic heroes better than Al Ewing and Jason Aaron. After reading this first issue? I put this book down understanding that we never knew Valkyrie as much as we should have!