We found The War of The Realms #1 to be an absolute blast to read. It was a fantastic start to Marvel’s latest big event. Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman delivered a bad-ass story full of action and on an incredibly massive scale. I am more than confident that The War of the Realms #2 will be another enjoyable read. Let’s hit this review!
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Russell Dauterman
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Jane Foster and Bats the ghost dog herding civilians into Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. The Sanctum has a safe room that can hold a couple million humans. Jane feels an evil out in the world that could kill her quicker than her cancer ever could.
We cut to Wolverine and Punisher taking advantage of the fact that the Dark Elf soldiers have a weakness to lead. Luckily, the Punisher is armed with a ton of lead bullets.
We see Captain America helping to evacuate some people from an apartment building. Captain America wonders what Thor would do in this situation. After evacuating the building, Captain America rejoins the fight. We see Iron Man saying that the heroes are completely overwhelmed by Malekith’s forces. Black Panther says that he is completely cut off from Avengers Mountain so he cannot use the Celestial teleport to evacuate New York City. Black Panther also says that he has been cut off from Wakanda. T’Challa says that networks all across the globe are down.
We cut to Mr. Agger, head of Roxxon, being informed that their techs have taken down all of the world’s networks. Agger is happy and orders an early Christmas bonus for all of his techs. Agger then says that the techs shall be told that for every network they allow to come back on line then he will personally tear off a body part and feed it to a Minotaur that he knows. Agger then adds that there is cake in the break room. (Ummmmm…dude…pick a tone. Either this guy is a chill villain, a comedic villain, or a nasty villain. But, not all three in the course of two dialogue bubbles. Damn.)
We shift to Dr. Strange trying to cast a spell to teleport the civilians out of New York City. Dr. Strange says that the spell is difficult and that he is having performance issues of his own at the moment. (So….we get erectile dysfunction jokes during an event that is being billed as very serious, bloody, and hopeless? Again. Pick a tone and stick with it.)
We see Freja battling the Queen of Angels. We see Spider-Man battling Sindr the Queen of Muspelheim. Spider-Man is totally confused by the different realms and which creature is from which realm. We see She-Hulk (Sorry, Aaron. Not calling her Hulk. Ever.) battling Ulk the King of the Trolls.
We see Robbie Reyes battling Enchantress. Robbie says that he is going to use his car’s “honk of doom.” (There is literally no way anyone can ever take Robbie’s characters seriously.) Suddenly, a giant wooden Norse ship rams into Enchantress. We see that Jane is piloting the Norse ship.
We see Malekith’s forces continuing to completely overwhelm our heroes. Freja is worried that all is lost for the heroes. Suddenly, we hear the War Horn of Asgard. We see Odin and all of his Valkyries teleporting onto the scene. (This is a seriously badass moment.) We see Brunnhilde right by Odin’s side.
Odin plows right through a Frost Giant. The Valkyries all engage Malekith’s forces in battle. Freja tells Odin that Laufey killed Loki. Laufey then attacks Odin.
We see Brunnhilde picking up Jane and putting her on the back of her flying horse. Jane reveals that she was Lady Thor. Brunnhilde says that she thought there was something familiar about Jane. Brunnhilde then drops Jane off on a rooftop and tells her to enjoy her new lease on life. That this war is not for Jane.
We shift back to Dr. Strange who must have finally taken some magical Viagra. Dr. Strange casts his teleportation spell. We cut back to Brunnhilde locking horns with Malekith. Suddenly, we see that Dr. Strange’s spell is too strong. That Dr. Strange’s spell is teleporting not just the civilians out of New York City. That Strange’s spell is teleporting everyone including our heroes our of New York City. (Dang. That’s what happens when you take magical Viagra. That magical erection just lasts way too long.)
We cut to all of the heroes teleporting into Avengers Mountain. The heroes are pissed that they got teleported away from New York City along with the civilians. Jane Foster starts spazzing that the heroes need to return to New York City right now. Dr. Strange collapses to the ground. He is overwhelmed by the spell and needs to rest.
Freja says that this war has just begun. That Malekith’s forces are too many and too strong. That going back to New York City will not save the day. That if they want any chance of victory that they must follow Loki’s warning before he died. Loki told them that only Thor could stop Malekith. Loki said that Thor was trapped in Jotunheim. Freja says that she is going to go to Jotunheim to save her son. Freja says that she welcomes any help from any of the heroes.
Black Panther says that the world networks are still offline. That the Avengers Mountain teleporter is still not working. Black Panther says that Malekith has some Earthly allies in the form of Roxxon. Black Panther says that the Agents of Wakanda shall deal with Roxxon’s hackers.
Carol Danvers says that she does not know anything about the realms but if this is a war then she will fight it in the trenches with every soldier she can find. (GRRRR!!!!! I’M TOUGH!!) Captain America says that he cannot think of a better Captain for the job. (Back the truck up. Captain America is literally the ONLY Captain in this scene who has actually fought in real life trench warfare during World War II. Carol is ex-military but she has never fought in a real war.)
Freja says that Odin needs to go into Odinsleep in order to recover from his wounds. Sif says that Heimdall’s eyesight has still not returned. That Heimdall cannot transport anyone without regaining his sight. Daredevil then says that he could help Heimdall in that effort.
Freja says that Odin may not recover even after his Odinsleep. Freja says that Asgard needs a leader while she is gone on her mission. Freja selects Jane Foster to be the leader of Asgard. (What the hell? Really? Not Balder? You know, the OTHER SON OF ODIN?! If for some reason it just has to be a female character then why not Sif? I mean, C’mon. There are so many other choices that make far more sense.)
Jane looks at the giant TV screens in the Avengers Mountain control room and says that it is too late. We see a news report from Roxx News. The news reports that New York City is in ruins. We see that all of the Valkyries have been slaughtered. Brunnhilde is the last remaining Valkyrie standing. (Wait. Why in the hell weren’t Brunnhilde and the rest of the Valkyries all teleported away from the scene by Dr. Strange’s spell?!)
Brunnhilde takes down dark elves while she stands on a mountain of corpses. We hear news reports talking about Malekith’s forces have taken over New York City, Los Angeles, London, Australia, Shanghai, Southern Africa, and Brazil. Basically, the entire Earth.
Brunnhilde calls out for Malekith to face her in battle. Suddenly, we see a sword impale Brunnhilde’s chest. We see that Malekith has snuck up from behind Brunnhilde. Malekith then laughs and chops off Brunnhilde’s head. End of issue.
The Good: The War of the Realms #2 was another fun read. This big event continues to be an absolute blast. Jason Aaron loads up The War of the Realms #2 with a ton of action. And this is the clear strength of this big event. Aaron does not skimp on the violence and bloodshed. There is plenty of brawling from cover to cover in this issue.
There are several epic bad-ass moments in The War of the Realms #2. The scene where Odin arrives at the battle scene along with his Valkyrie army was one of those moments. Seeing Odin and the Valkyries charge into battle with Odin immediately impaling a Frost Giant made the hairs on my neck stand up.
The other bad-ass scene was Brunnhilde’s death scene. Seeing Brunnhilde standing on a pile of corpses while killing dark elf soldiers was fantastic. Brunnhilde is such a bad-ass character. I have always loved Brunnhilde’s character. I remember getting cheap back-issues of Steve Englehart’s The Defenders from the early 1970’s. Back then, Brunnhilde was just known as the Valkyrie and she blew my mind. She was such an amazing character that was so different from most of the female super heroes of the time. Brunnhilde has always been a massively underrated character who I do not feel has ever gotten her proper due.
Seeing Brunnhilde as the lone hero standing in the face of Malekith’s monsterous army was a great hero moment for her. I love that Brunnhilde was the last person standing. I love that she was standing on a mound of her dead enemies. I love her warrior attitude that comes across as true and genuine. This is no Carol Danvers John Wayne with boobs artificial tough guy routine. This is not Jane Foster as Lady Thor. Brunnhilde is the real fucking deal. Brunnhilde is all woman and still all bad-ass. Brunnhilde comes across as a legit warrior goddess who bathes in the blood of her enemies. Brunnhilde is what other Marvel female super heroes wish they could be but can’t be.
Aaron absolutely nails Brunnhilde’s personality. Brunnhilde has a strong unique external voice. Aaron definitely gives her plenty of cool dialogue to dish out in her death scene. Brunnhilde’s sheer ferocity and lack of fear even when facing overwhelming and impossible odds was so perfect. I love everything about how Aaron wrote Brunnhilde’s character and I love that she got to be a true warrior up to her very end.
The War of the Realms #2 positively crackles with excitement and energy. There is plenty of emotion in this story. Aaron is able to create an ever increasing sense of doom and hopelessness in the reader as we head to the end of this issue. The reader feels a sense of anxiousness as they turn each page.
Aaron also succeeds in giving a proper scope and feel to the story. The War of the Realms #2 presents this big event as a truly grand and epic tale. The scope of Malekith’s attack truly feels massive. Aaron successfully builds this big event as a truly important and significant war that is raging across Earth and multiple different magical realms. The lack of a proper scope and scale to the story has been the Achilles’ heel of so many past big events. That is absolutely not the problem with The War of the Realms. This big event feels massive and extremely special.
Aaron is able to take the huge scale of this big event and the strong emotions in this story and use them to fashion some serious stakes for our heroes. The reader has an excellent feel for what is at stake in this big event and those stakes feel genuine and real. This helps to make this big event an even more immersive experience for the reader. Aaron succeeds in getting the reader to buy into this massive cosmic conflict and feel genuinely concerned for the outcome.
The War of the Realms #2 is a fast paced issue. Aaron stomps on the gas pedal with the first page and never lets up on the throttle all the way to the end of the issue. The War of the Realms #2 definitely has its defects, but there is no way that anyone could complain that this story is slow or boring.
The War of the Realms #2 is excellently plotted. Aaron has a clear direction in mind and never waivers. Each scene transitions smoothly into the next one. There is an excellent flow to the story in this issue. The intense action scenes keep flying at the reader one after the next. Each scene ratchets up the intensity and tension level as we end with a huge crescendo.
I liked that Aaron added Agger and Roxxon into the mix with this issue. It is a smart idea to have Malekith have some Earth bound allies in this story. Roxxon and their hackers taking down the world’s networks helps to give The War of The Realms a bit of a “real” world component. This helps prevent the War of the Realms from reading like a standard issue Lord of the Rings style fantasy story. This helps give the big event a bit of a new wrinkle and make it a bit more diverse in terms of style and genre.
Aaron does a good job with the character work and dialogue with several of the characters in this issue. I have already touched on Aaron’s excellent job writing Brunnhilde’s character. Aaron also does a nice job with Odin, Freja, Wolverine, Punisher, and Spider-Man. All of these characters have well defined personalities and well crafted dialogue.
I loved the small moment that Aaron gave us between Wolverine and the Punisher. Aaron absolutely nails Punisher’s terse and laconic dialogue. Punisher just looks at Wolverine and says I heard you were dead. Wolverine answers in his own style that he was just drunk a long time. Wolverine asks Frank how things have been going with him. Frank just responds, “I’m reloaded.” It was hilarious and absolutely perfect. Aaron totally nailed both Wolverine and the Punisher’s characters.
Aaron also writes an excellent Odin. This is no surprise. Aaron has been doing a fantastic job with Odin’s character for a long time. Odin comes across as the old school Viking bad-ass that he is. I like that Aaron has Odin laugh off that he could be killed by a few dark elf assassins. Aaron gives Odin a proper supremely confident and cocky personality. I love that even when badly injured that Odin does not shrink away from any fight.
Aaron continues to do a great job writing Freja’s character. Freja is so wonderfully developed and nuanced. She is undoubtedly a powerful warrior, but at the same time she has the kindness and tenderness of a mother. It is cool to see such a powerful female character embrace her motherly roots and be written like a real woman. Aaron gives the reader a clear sense of Freja’s sadness over Loki’s death. The reader gets a good sense of Freja’s love for Odin. And the reader also gets a good feel for Freja’s willingness to die to save her son Thor. These are all things that a wife and mother will do for the men in her life. Freja is both tough, kind, loving, and admirable. I am really becoming a fan of Freja’s character.
Aaron also does a nice job with Spider-Man. I have always thought that Aaron has had a good feel for Peter’s personality. Peter gets plenty of properly funny dialogue. I love how Peter absolutely irritate the hell out of Sindr during their fight. Spider-Man provides the proper amount of comedic relief for this story.
Of course, the one character that we have not discussed is Thor himself. I love that Aaron is keeping Thor on the sidelines at this point in the big event. This is like how DC has to remove Superman from the table during a big event until the ending. Hopefully, Aaron keeps Thor out of the mix until we get to the end. Thor deserves his time in the spotlight to be the big hero who saves the day. The War of The Realms should ultimately be all about Thor’s redemption. Thor needs to shine at the end of this big event. Plus, this delayed gratification will build up a sense of yearning and excitement in the reader. Therefore, When Thor finally makes his triumphant appearance the reader is going to go absolutely crazy.
Russell Dauterman deserves an insane amount of praise for his incredible artwork in The War of the Realms #2. In fact, the success of this big event is just as much due to Dauterman’s artwork as it is to Aaron’s writing. It is Dauterman who brings Aaron’s story to life in such a vivid fashion. It is Dauterman who is able to give Aaron’s story the proper grand scale and scope. It is Dauterman’s amazingly detailed artwork that helps pull the reader deeply into Aaron’s story and make this big event such an immersive experience.
Dauterman is equally adept at drawing dramatic dialogue heavy scenes as he is at drawing phenomenal action scenes. Let’s start with the action scenes first. Dauterman can deliver some seriously bad-ass action scenes! Dauterman’s splash shots of Odin and his Valkyries appearing in New York City, Dr. Strange casting his massive spell, and Brunnhilde’s death scene were all absolutely brilliant. They all looked cinematic and epic.
Dauterman also is able to inject so much emotion into Aaron’s story. Dauterman does a good job with the facial expressions of the various characters. This helps to make the scenes more intense. This is particularly noticeable in how Dauterman draws Brunnhilde in her death scene.
I love the incredible amount of detail that Dauterman packs into every single panel in this issue. I can only imagine how long it must take Dauterman to draw this gorgeously detailed panels. I also appreciate the diversity of the page layouts that Dauterman gives this issue.
The Bad: The War of the Realms #2 is a fun read, but it is far from perfect. This issue has its fair share of warts. The most obvious is that this story is a bit dumb and shallow. The War of the Realms #2 is much like a big summer blockbuster movie. It is unwise to expect much of real substance or intelligence to the story. Readers who prefer complex and brainy stories may be disappointed with The War of the Realms #2.
War of the Realms #2 was plagued with the same defects present in the first issue. Mainly, that Aaron keeps awkwardly shoving incredibly oddly placed and inappropriately timed humor into the story. It happens over and over again in this issue. You see it with characters not named Spider-Man all delivering witter banter as if they were Spider-Man. This just serves to make many of the characters have a generally bland and generic external voice as well as make Spider-Man seem less special and unique. Spider-Man’s dialogue alone is more than enough comedic relief for this story. The additional witty dialogue from the other characters only serves to ruin the tone and mood of the story.
We see it with Agger and his discordant shifting from oddly timed “humor” to his cartoonishly violent and villainous dialogue. We see it with Robbie Reyes and his stupid “witty” banter dialogue including his car’s “horn of doom.” It happens all over War of the Realms #2 at the worst possible moments.
All of this poorly placed “humor” is simply way too much and make the story seem schizophrenic. The amount of “wacky” humor is discordant with the violence and the threat of the villains. It makes it hard for the reader to take villains like Agger even remotely serious. It also sends conflicting messages to the reader as to how we are to view this story. Is the reader supposed to be taking this story seriously? Is this supposed to be a dramatic war story? Or is the reader supposed to view this story as a “wacky” and “funny” action romp where we never take anything too seriously? A bit of comedic relief is fine. And that is what Spider-Man is in the story to deliver. However, Aaron goes so overboard with the comedic relief.
The constantly shifting tone and mood to the story makes it hard for the reader to properly react to the story. It also makes it hard for the reader to get fully immersed into the story. This is bad writing by Aaron. A consistent tone and mood is absolutely vital for any successful story. The reader needs to know the ground rules and the setting for a story as well as the mood and tone within that framework. Those elements of a story cannot always be shifting around. Because the result is the reader constantly being pulled out of the story.
Then we get to the sloppiness in Aaron’s writing where he has Dr. Strange teleport every single super-hero, Asgardian, and civilian out of New York City except Brunnhilde. Ummmm…why? Who knows? The reader does not know. Aaron never tells us. It is just Aaron being sloppy and forcing the story where he wants it to go because he had to get Brunnhilde killed off so he could replace her with his pet character in Jane Foster.
And this leads me to my next criticism with The War of the Realms #2. Marvel broke the news that Jane Foster will be replacing Brunnhilde as the Valkyrie in Marvel’s new Valkyrie comic book. Killing off Brunnhilde just so Aaron can replace her with his pet character in Jane Foster is such a shit idea. Nobody wins with this decision. Readers are robbed of a brilliant character in Brunnhilde and Jane Foster comes out looking bad as she steals a second character’s gimmick. Aaron does neither character nor the readers any good with this move.
Jane Foster’s character really suffers with this latest move. Jane is beginning to feel like the Roman Reigns of Marvel’s Asgard. Aaron is going to be like Vince McMahon and just keep shoving her character in odd roles. Honestly, Jane Foster was already a great character before she started stealing other characters’ gimmicks. Jane was a unique character with her own personality and gimmick. Jane was a successful doctor. That is pretty bad-ass. Being a “Strong Female Character”™️cannot only be defined by literally being a physically strong fighter. Jane being a highly accomplished doctor most assuredly qualities her as a “Strong Female Character.”™️ And it made Jane a unique character with her own clear identity and gimmick.
However, Jane stealing Thor’s gimmick and becoming Lady Thor made her look less original. It took a unique character and made Jane seem like a simple knock-off character. Aaron is doubling down on this by now having Jane steal a SECOND character’s gimmick. This makes Jane’s character seem like nothing more than a cipher. Jane is reduced to a shell of a character with no originality or personality of her own. She merely exists to wear the skin of other characters.
Not every supporting cast character needs to be a super hero. Look no further than Marvel’s best selling comic book on the market: Spider-Man. Spider-Man has a ton of supporting cast characters who are not super-heroes. Does Mary Jane need super-powers to be compelling? Please. MJ is the most iconic and popular supporting character and no super powers are needed.
By making Jane steal a second character’s gimmick and become just another random Asgardian she continues to loses her own identity. I am sure Jane can play a vital role as a supporting character in the Thor universe as an accomplished doctor. And Jane will have a chance to be her own person and show that a character can be compelling without having the ability to smash in someone’s face with a giant sword.
Aaron doubles down on the Vince McMahon style push of Jane Foster by having Freja pick Jane to be the leader of the Asgardians while Odin is in Odinsleep and Freja is in Jotunheim. This makes no sense as long as characters like Balder and Sif are around. Aaron awkwardly shoving his pet character into a role that lacks internal logic simply pulls the reader out of the story. It all feels too artificial and forced.
Of course, it does not help that Aaron writes Jane like an annoying yappy chihuahua. Jane buzzes in the reader’s ear like a Tse Tse fly. Jane serves no other purpose other than to stand around and wail like a child. Aaron does not give Jane a heroic or flattering personality.
Overall: The War of Realms #2 was another fun read. This story truly feels like an epic big event. Readers who love fast paced stories with tons of cool action absolutely need to purchase this issue. Up to this point, The War of Realms is easily one of Marvel’s better big events.
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