Writer: Jason Aaron & Al Ewing, Art: Cafu, Colours: Jesus Aburtov, Letters: Joe Sabino
"Jane Foster: Valkyrie #1" cover art by Mahmud Asrar
After wielding the power of the God of Thunder for so long, and experiencing an existence that was as exhilarating and joyous as it was terrifying and heartbreaking, an ordinary life just wasn't enough anymore for Jane Foster.
One huge inter-dimensional war later however, and now she's back, and the Marvel Universe has a new hero — or at least an old one with a new look — as Jane Foster returns as the last of the Valkyries in Jane Foster: Valkyrie #1!
Life is fun for Jane once more, and part of the fun of being a super hero is giving super-villains a well-deserved kick in the pants. Crack open your dusty old Marvel Handbooks though, because the villain in this case is none other than Blue Streak, who has decided to spend the takings from his last successful heist (probably some time in 1978) on kitting out a gloriously nostalgic new team of similarly skating-themed bad guys, "The Fast Five", whose rocket-powered roller blades I expect are intended to allow them to not only narrowly avoid apprehension, but also lawsuits!
The opening pages for the most part find Jane discovering and testing the extent of some of her new powers, as she attempts to stop the villains from stealing enchanted Dark Elf and Asgardian weapons that were found alongside the corpses of the many casualties of the recent War of the Realms, including Dragonfang — the personal sword of the previous Valkyrie, Brunnhilde — which she loses along with the last member of the super-villain group.
Chief among Jane's new powers is Undrjarn — the mysterious "All-Weapon" — that allows Jane to automatically respond with the right force to any given situation, be it a shield for blocking magical Dark Elf arrows, or a flail for smashing in lawbreakers faces. She also has "God Sight," that allows her to see things beyond the reach of normal human perception, as well as the ability to see peoples fates and deaths, which manifests as a specter above their heads.
Unfortunately, as well as discovering new powers, Jane is also quickly discovering the difficulties inherent in trying to balance her life fighting crime with a private life and a profession as a doctor, as turning up late for her own performance review sees her busted down to the status of Morgue Assistant.
When one door closes however, another one often opens, and when a dead body wearing roller skates and sporting a suspiciously familiar sword-shaped hole through his heart ends up on a slab, Jane hopes that her new boss is okay with her taking long lunch breaks!
One of the gifts possessed by all of the Valkyries is the ability to travel to the Asgardian Halls of the Dead, and a quick trip there allows the new Valkyrie to commune with her now-deceased predecessor over the location of the missing blade, with Bruunhilde seemingly taking on the role of Yoda-style guru and explaining that being a Valkyrie is also a job, hinting at the possibility that Jane may face even greater responsibilities in future.
Brunnhilde's advice? Well, if you were looking for something that's been hidden, wouldn't it be useful if the Asgardians had someone who was really great at seeing stuff...?
Ultimately though Jane doesn't need to look too hard to find the weapon, as the person who stole it confronts her. Unfortunately for Jane, the person now pointing a magical sword at her throat that among its many powers includes an enchantment that vastly increases the bearer's weapon skills, also happens to be one of the most skilled, most deadly, most sadistic killers in the Marvel Universe... and Jane can't see a specter of death above his head...
Jane Foster: Valkyrie #1 is an exceptional first issue from two of Marvel Comics' brightest writing talents, who once more make creating a hit comic seem like it's the easiest thing in the world to do, considering the frequency with which they manage to do it, and whilst I am not previously familiar with the art of Cafu, his work here is superb and fitting to the style and tone of the book. Whilst this title comes off the back of a big event that was effectively six years in the making with War of the Realms, previous experience of that event or the stories that lead up to it are completely unnecessary as a succinct but comprehensive introductory text and opening page explain everything you might need to know, and means that this issue represents an ideal opportunity for fans to jump straight into the fun of a new book on the ground floor level without any apprehension.
And if Jane Foster: Valkyrie #1 seems like a slightly longer read than normal, that's because it is, as you get a bumper 23 pages of story rather than the usual 20 all for the same $3.99 price!
On sale July 24, 2019.