You have to love the way Valkyrie: Jane Foster keeps pushing this exploration of what it means to be a Valkyrie. This last issue was adventurous, and visually stunning, not to mention heartbreaking once more following the end of Heimdall. I mean, who would have even guessed that this was all leading to the reveal that the Grim Reaper is the one behind all of these unfortunate events Jane has dealt with since this book began? Surely not this guy!
Given that bomb they dropped on our laps in the last issue, it was a good thing they were quick to addressing just how the Grim Reaper of all villains could have orchestrated all of this. He didn’t look alright. In fact, he looked almost as messed up as he did when Vision’s wife initially killed him, so some answers to that was appreciated. It was actually quite brilliant to be hit with the revelation that even then, there was something bigger unfolding beyond whatever it is that the Grim Reaper wants. When you know Grim Reaper well enough, then you know that a lot of what he does tends to be fairly straightforward. His actions tend to be more personal and simplistic. Not at all the kind of plan that has created such chaos in Jane Foster’s life.
So when we got clarity to the situation Jane faces, things definitely got more interesting now that we know exactly what is at stake. And of course the thrill of this is that while everyone else is aware of what’s coming, Jane is not. Even if the Grim Reaper isn’t the kind of villain you would take too seriously, you never know what kind of power he now commands in order to do what even Bullseye failed to do.
Getting back to Jane after her recent journey into mystery, I loved how they threw us back into her life now that simple has already been thrown out of the window. The horse living with her has been an unexpected development, but also one that you find it hard to argue with. It’s one thing if this was just your average Asgardian horse, but this is one that talks and has a mind of its own. For now I would actually say that the horse makes for a somewhat acceptable sit in for Heimdall who was a very good ear. Speaking of complications, it was a bit crushing to really understand her personal life situation. It sucks when you have an amazing hero who suffers the struggle of an average life, but honestly this is something I wish we saw more of from other books. Some heroes get the opportunity to use their status as a hero for better accommodations, and some of them don’t even bother with a civilian identity. Though for someone who wants a line drawn in the sand between both lives? This is what you would picture when you think of the trials that person would face from day-to-day.
With so much action and adventure, there hasn’t been enough time for me to acknowledge the amazing work that this art team does with the more personable moments. I was always impressed with the touch of realism that was brought out in these character, but it stands out much more when dealing with ordinary people just conversing. The colors go a long way there too. Still I’m blown away by the way these colors blend together with a great range. With that said, for this issue one of my favorite things that this art team gave us was a unique look to the red devil himself. Most love to put him in his traditional dressings, but I find that it is always more fitting when you play into the aspect of him that loves to make deals like a businessman. So the combed back hair, fancy suit, and overall professional presence works wonders in making the best of the spotlight put on him. As for the Grim Reaper, it was a smart move to keep him looking dead. Well as close as you get for someone like him who is newly returned to life. The scars from his death give him more intimidation than how he would look if cleaned up.
You gotta hand it to this creative team, they have stood true to this story exploring the tug of war between life and death. Valkyrie: Jane Foster #4 took us straight into the next challenge, and so far hitting all the right notes for this warrior who is not ready for the death that is knocking at her door.