Best Shots Review: VALKYRIE - JANE FOSTER #1 'Feel Like the Start of a Modern Comic Book Classic' (9/10)

Jane Foster: Valkyrie #1
Credit: Cafu/Jesus Aburtov/Joe Sabino (Marvel Comics)
Credit: Mahmud Asrar (Marvel Comics)

Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1
Written by Jason Aaron and Al Ewing
Art by Cafu and Jesus Aburtov
Lettering by Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

Credit: Cafu/Jesus Aburtov/Joe Sabino (Marvel Comics)

Jane Foster has juggled between being a mortal and a god, but as her new series suggests, her most important role is that of being a brand-new kind of hero – Valkyrie, a magical being who walks the line between life and death. As a cancer survivor who has stared death in the face, this is the perfect evolution for Jane’s character, but she’ll quickly learn that being Valkyrie isn’t the same as wielding Mjolnir. As Brunnhilde states, “Thor is a god… Valkyrie is a job.” And just like any job, she needs to find a way to juggle being a great Valkyrie and having a personal life. This search for balance may sound like your average superhero tale, but Jane Foster’s fresh point of view allows this premiere to feel like the start of a modern comic book classic – just like her debut as the Mighty Thor.

How do you go back from being a god to being a mere mortal? The answer is, you don’t. Jane Foster’s existential struggle was one of the focal points of Marvel’s latest event, War of the Realms , and continues in this spin-off series. The strongest aspect of Jane’s character is how she makes magic relatable, and Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1 deepens this unique characteristic even further. Jane isn’t entangling herself in a multi-realm war anymore, she’s fighting on her home turf, which allows the series to feel even more grounded than her predecessor, The Mighty Thor .

The series opens up with Blue Streak and the Fast Five, a gang of rollerblading D-listers wielding powerful Asgardian weapons. This is the land Valkyrie inherits, and who better to fight these Midgardian antagonists than the person who embraces both Asgard and Midgard as her home. At first glance this scene feels like your average superhero action opener, but the sequence beautifully displays the lasting effects of War of the Realms and showcases that this event wasn’t just a throwaway story. Later in the issue, as Jane sees the repercussions of this battle, she realizes that being a Valkyrie isn’t about beating up the bad guy like it was for her as Thor. She’s going to have to use her powers as Valkyrie as well as her medical skills as Jane Foster to help the people she never thought she would have to.

Credit: Cafu/Jesus Aburtov/Joe Sabino (Marvel Comics)
Credit: Cafu/Jesus Aburtov/Joe Sabino (Marvel Comics)

Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1 is not only a display of exquisite storytelling, but the artwork by Cafu and Jesus Aburtov is some of the best visuals that Marvel has on stands. The action pieces are gorgeous, and I’m still in awe at all the diverse uses of Jane’s power set. It’s a great follow-up to Russell Dauterman’s cinematic work on the character. Speaking of Dauterman, his new character design for Jane is magnificent. It’s a great celebration of her Thor costume, while still creating something very different to honor the Valkyries. It’s a contender for one of my favorite new Marvel costumes in recent memory, right next to Spider-Gwen.

Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1 is seamless superhero storytelling. It’s the perfect introduction - from Jane’s new journey as a Valkyrie to her job as a morgue assistant, it all intertwines into superhero greatness, which is made all the more impressive given the long-form evolution the character has already enjoyed the past few years. This story sets up for a very promising title and an intriguing new evolution for Jane Foster, and hits all the notes a new #1 issue should be hitting.

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