Jane Foster served a major role during the events of War of the Realms that included becoming the Mighty Thor once again. Unfortunately for her Jane’s return as Mighty Thor was only temporary. But while she may not be wielding Mjolnir anymore it does not mean her hero life is over. She is now getting a second chance at being a superhero as she picks up the mantle of Valkyrie as the item that gave Jane the chance to be Mighty Thor again has transformed into the All-Weapon. With the All-Weapon, Jane has now become the new and last Valkyrie since Brunnhilde met her untimely death at the hands of Malekith during War of the Realms. How will Jane Foster adapt to her new role as the last Valkyrie? Let’s find out with Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1.
Writers: Jason Aaron and Al Ewing
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Somewhere in New York City Valkyrie (Jane Foster) comes across the Fast Five gathering some of the mystical weapons left behind due to the War of the Realms. Valkyrie uses the All-Weapon to quickly take out Blue Streak and Green Light. Silver Ghost tries to get away with her cloaking tech but Valkyrie uses her Death Perception (which Jane does not fully understand what she terms “Valkyr-Eyes” powers really are) to capture Silver Ghost.
Gold Rush skates away from the scene. Valkyrie tries to go after him but is stopped when Redline throws a car with two innocent people in it. Valkyrie catches the car and then easily defeats Redline.
In an alley Gold Rush continues to run away with Dragonfang (Brunnhilde’s sword). Suddenly someone trips Gold Rush and steals Dragonfang. The person proceeds to kill Gold Rush and contact someone that they have Dragonfang in their possession.
Later the police arrest the Fast Five (except for Gold Rush). While Damage Control cleans up the damage in the area Valkyrie talks with Lisa Halloran (Jane’s friend from the hospital she work’s at who knew Jane was Thor and also Ms. America’s ex-girlfriend) and tells her she will track down Dragonfang. As the conversation turns friendly Jane switches back to talking like Valkyrie with Lisa to keep her secret identity intact before taking off to work.
Over at the McCarthy Medical Institute Jane has a meeting with Dr. Regina Hagen. Dr. Hagen voices her disappointment over how unreliable Jane has recently become. Jane tries to apologize while keeping her superhero life a secret. Dr. Hagen tells Jane that the hospital staff deserve a colleague they can consistently rely on so she is transferring her until Jane sorts things out with her life.
Jane is transferred to become a Morgue Assistant.
At the hospital’s morgue Jane meets Dr. Rudy Gillespie, who is surprised by Jane’s sudden appearance as he was lost in his latest investigation over a dead body. Dr. Gillespie shows Jane the body of Mike Swift (Gold Rush), who was found dead in an alley. Dr. Gillepspie is stumped by how a sword could possibly pierce the Gold Rush armor. Jane knows that it was down by someone using Dragonfang.
Jane transforms into Valkyrie and uses the gift she got from Valkyrior to travel to and open the gates of Valhalla.
Inside Valhalla Jane meets up with Brunnhilde. Jane tells Brunnhilde about how someone killed Gold Rush with Dragonfang and asks about a way to find the weapon. Brunnhilde reveals that Dragonfang allows the wielder to hide from even God-sight, improve their physical skills and command winged steeds.
Jane apologizes and promises to find Dragonfang. Brunnhilde says she is confident Jane will find Dragonfang.
Brunnhilde tells Jane about how unlike her time as Thor that being a Valkyrie is a responsibility. Brunnhilde then says that Jane should seek out Annabelle Riggs who can help Jane understand how to use her new eyes. Jane says she will do that after she finds Dragonfang.
A little later Jane recruits Heimdall to help her track down Dragonfang. Heimdall takes finding Dragonfang a good challenge as he finally recovered his sight after Mangog temporarily blinded him. Valkyrie asks if she can help. Heimdall says she can since as a Valkyrie Jane can see even what he can’t.
Jane doesn’t fully understand what Heimdall said but is able to active her Death Perception. Through that she is able to see the different death-glows of people on the street below them and how close they are to dying. Valkyrie is shocked when she turns to Heimdall that his death-glow reveals that he is about to die any minute.
Before Valkyrie can warn Heimdall about this someone stabs him from behind. Bullseye then appears wielding Dragonfang and riding a flying steed. Valkyrie transforms All-Weapon in preperation to fight Bullseye. End of issue.
The Good: War of the Realms was a massive event that in the aftermath there were sure to be a lot of story possibilities. That is something that Jason Aaron and Al Ewing tap into that event to lay the groundwork for the conflict Jane Foster will be dealing with as Valkyrie. In doing so the stage is set for Valkyrie: Jane Foster to be a breakout series.
Aaron and Ewing do not waste time in showing how Jane Foster will be different from Thor, Loki and other Asgardians. Unlike those characters Jane is still trying to balance a double life. Tapping into that fact Aaron and Ewing are able to make Jane a much more grounded person. It’s easy to understand how she is trying to juggle multiple different aspects of her life while keeping them all separate. It led to developing different voices for Jane depending on who she was interacting with while still keeping to who the core character is.
Having Jane call out her attempt to keep her life as a doctor and Valkyrie separate as an old school thing that superheroes don’t do was good meta-commentary of the current state of the Marvel Universe. The walls between the superhero and person behind the mask have collapse for the most part. There are very few heroes like Spider-Man that keep up those walls. Adding Jane to that small group gives an added layer to how her character can develop compared to Thor.
In doing so Aaron and Ewing develop a sub-plot away from Jane’s superhero life as Valkyrie as she must find that happy place in her personal life. Because if she still wants to be Dr. Jane Foster she must show how committed she is to still being a doctor. That is not a job she can just act like it is a part-time job. Her boss transferring Jane to become a Morgue Assistant was the reality check that she needed. Being placed in this position now opens things up for Jane to regain her colleagues confidence in her while establishing potential to grow the series supporting cast away from her adventures as Valkyrie.
All of that was a good to further the overall sense of responsibility that comes with Jane’s new superhero life as Valkyrie. Much like her career as a doctor, Jane was trying to treat Valkyrie as something that she could easily juggle. Aarong and Ewing show that fact by how much fun Jane is shown to have being able to be a superhero again. Her fight with the Fatal Five came across as Jane getting back into the groove of things of a life she once enjoyed. That led her to make small mistakes, like letting Gold Rush run off when she could’ve defeated the Fatal Five easily with the All-Weapon.
At the same time, this fight with the Fatal Five set-up what one of the major conflicts Jane will be dealing with as Valkyrie. Having Earth littered with weapons from the different realms, including Asgard, is a great follow-up storyline in the fallout of War of the Realms. That is something that you would think would happen when all the heroes on Earth battled all of the threats from the other realms due to Malekith’s attack. Having these weapons from other worlds around can help elevate lower-tier villains, like the Fatal Five, to actually be strong threats for someone like Valkyrie to deal with.
These weapons being around not only help the lower-tier villains but also all the major villains become even bigger threats. Using Bullseye to establish this fact was a great move. Fans know that Bullseye is a major threat when heroes like Spider-Man and Daredevil have to fight him. That is not the case when he goes after powerful heroes like Thor. But that changes with Bullseye taking possession of Brunnhilde’s Dragonfang. Seeing him wield that God-like weapon immediately put him on the same level as Valkyrie since we know he was already extremely deadly as a non-super powered human.
Bullseye wielding Dragonfang also backed up the responsibility conversation that Brunnhilde had with Jane in Valhalla. While Thor has his own set up responsibilities as the God of Thunder we have seen overtime how he is able to take it easy. That is not the same for being a Valkyrie. Being in that role is something that Brunnhilde and other Valkyries took seriously because it was a job they had to be on 24/7. There is no turning that off out of convenience.
It was great that Brunnhilde used this chance to talk about a Valkyrie’s responsibility to call Jane out for the naive way she is approaching her new superhero life. Brunnhilde did not do it in a malicious way. She was instead trying to talk to Jane as a friend and equal who is still learning what it means to be a Valkyrie. Jane growing out of her naive ways of learning to be a Valkyrie as she goes is something that needs to happen. Brunnhilde pushing that fact by telling Jane to go visit Annabelle Riggs to learn more about the Valkyrie’s powers is a good set-up for this evolution to continue for Jane.
Building off of that Aaron and Ewing are able to give even greater importance to what Brunnhilde told Jane through the latter’s interaction with Heimdall. Heimdall possibly dying at the hands of a powered up Bullseye is the eye opening experience that Jane needed to realize she needs to not just learn to be Valkyrie on the fly. If she is truly going to live up to her potential Jane will need to understand all the powers she now has and how it is different from her time as Thor.
Cafu delivered great artwork whenever it came to the superhero portion of Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1. Cafu got across how their is a majestic look to Jane Foster as Valkyrie. She is someone that while she may look like us has a God-like aura that she gives off. And with the versatility of the All-Weapon that Jane is wielding as Valkyrie Cafu does a great job at how she is able to switch battle styles during the fight with Fatal Five.
The Bad: The one part where Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1 falters is in the introduction. The opening page spends too much time on inner monologue that doesn’t actually explain how Jane became Valkyrie. The opening page should’ve been used as a summary of what happened in War of Realms: Omega to explain how Jane became Valkyrie. It would’ve made a better introduction to what Jane’s new role is. Instead it was just an awkward opening page that doesn’t explain why or how Jane became Valkyrie.
Though Cafu’s artwork is mostly great throughout Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1 there are a few odd panels where characters have a shine that makes them look like action figures. This mostly happened during the scenes at the hospital when Jane was interacting with her colleagues. It did slightly take away from the flow of the story. Given how it didn’t happen often this is hopefully something that doesn’t happen again in future issues.
Overall: Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1 is a great start for a comic book that has all the potential to be one of Marvel’s best ongoing series. Jason Aaron and Al Ewing did a great job using the aftermath of War of the Realms to create a compelling world around Jane Foster as she has become the last Valkyrie. Cafu’s strong artwork further elevates Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1 to be a comic that Marvel fans should not miss out on reading.
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