I was surprised at how excited I was to jump into this next story arc with Jane Foster. After the completion of her first arc, she had successfully ventured through those initial hoops that all new heroes go through. That is, even if she doesn’t want to call herself a hero. She figured out what it meant to be a Valkyrie, what it meant to balance responsibilities, and what it meant to once again have confidence in what she did. Jane was marvelous as Thor, but at the end of the day that is a very different life to live, and path to walk.
Now of course I should say that this isn’t quite the start of the new story arc. More like an extra story to fill in the time before what comes next. I couldn’t find a problem with this either because this still ended up being a story which furthered our exploration into the new life of Jane Foster. Given everything she has already been through, it only benefited her depth to take a step back and focus on even just her time as a mortician. Even if it was just the first half of the issue, that was more than enough. Particularly when so soon they have already shaken up what was supposed to be an ordinary life for her. Again not that I’m arguing with that either considering there is only so much that someone like her can do to draw that line in the sand between being someone who cares for corpses, and someone who guides dead spirits to the next world.
Getting into the big story here, I enjoyed that the previous story was only the start of Valkyrie teaming up with Doctor Strange again. They may not come from the same world, but they do share the common passion that is healing. These connections are important for her to build no matter which path she is walking. Not to mention they open the doors to bigger possibilities that Valkyrie wouldn’t be able to have if she were on her own. I mean, at the same time working alongside Night Nurse, Cardiac, Faiza Hussain and Manikin? That is not something to happen everyday. The story told here was compelling as it unraveled since this new job required saving Death from death. A weird string of words to put together, but part of the thrill in this series is seeing the role of Valkyrie like we’ve never seen it before.
This part of the story was a fast read, though the set-up and execution of the action was satisfying enough to get you eager for what comes next.
It was definitely something to get used to having a guest artist, but I could see why this might be the case. As a whole, this turned out to be more of a filler issue. So it didn’t do any harm that they might try to go for something different to end the year, before jumping back into the thick of the next big story and the visuals to go along with that. Having said that, what we got from Pere Perez drawing the interiors was solid work. Perez successfully captured the same level of expression from the characters, liveliness through their interactions, and had a good handle on lost of things going on at once. It made a big difference that Aburtov was still there on colors too. Sometimes as long as the penciler offers quality work, the colorist can still make you feel like not too much has changed. To some extent he was able to bring out the same depth, boldness, not to mention flashiness which made the action pop. I was impressed by the Death Stare in particular which did not change one bit in visual appeal. The only real difference was not having that painted overlay that made everything look more uniform and blended together.
Credit where it is due that there is nothing about Valkyrie: Jane Foster so far that you could have predicted they would have done within these eight issues. This is a new experience all around. New situations, new problems, new team-ups, and even new destinations. I assumed that this would be a fairly tame story, and I’m glad that this assumption was proven wrong in the best of ways.