Valkyrie: Jane Foster #8 / Writer: Torunn Grønbekk & Jason Aaron / Artist: CAFU / Colorist: Jesus Aburtov / Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino / Marvel / Release Date: 2/17/2020
So, in my War of the Realms retrospective (Part 1 and Part 2, Part 3 is in the works!), I’ve mostly focused on themes present throughout Jason Aaron’s run and how they ultimately pay off. One of those themes is that of ‘letting go’. Especially when it comes to objects and artefacts. Objects, as important and sacred as they might be, will never be as important as people. It’s a lesson Thor has to learn as he realises Mjolnir is not makes him worthy and it’s one Jane has to learn in Valkyrie: Jane Foster.Ironic, considering once she gave up Mjolnir the moment she realised it was the only way to save lives. Since the mission was specifically about Dragonfang (Brunhilde’s sword) she loses sight of it.
Not only that- it was the last piece of the old Valkyries. Of Brunhilde herself, that Jane has left. But much like with Thor Odinson- some lessons need to be relearned in different ways because change and growth is how we become better. Jane knows this and, as much as it hurts, she does what she needs to do. After all, being a Valkyrie is about giving people a good death- if you cannot save their life.
Big ideas, itty bitty living space
Honestly, given how relatively small the scope of this issue is- there’s two locations, both within the same tall building. There’s a grand realisation and theme being staked here. Presumably for the rest of the series going forward? I think that’ll be interesting to see, given how tragic this particular issue is. Will the whole series be as bittersweet?
It’s an ingenious way of continuing what was so, ahem, profane about Jane’s time as Thor. That ticking clock, the close relationship with death and an impending end. It makes more sense the more you think about it and props to both Aaron and Ewing- this is what I want from my superhero comics. I want cool punchy fights with ridiculously cool concepts and costumes- but I also want to at least try to touch on some mythic themes and ideas.
Aaron’s run has always been about this (see my retrospective) and it’s so great to see it continue on. Ewing’s influence seems a little less obvious, but I’m sure it’ll come to prominence later. I personally feel really happy about another accomplished writer taking on my favourite character. I’m a little apprehensive, from what I’ve read of his Immortal Hulk run, about how grim it might get. Then again, with Aaron balancing it out and from his run on Agent of Asgard. It’s hard not to get very excited about where it might go from here.
Art of The Beyond
Cafu’s art is as bold and confident as ever- it’s so striking in how real it looks, but still with a very flexible ‘superhero’-ness about it. I saw someone else describe it as more ‘CG’ whereas Dauterman was very ‘animated’ (he recently talked about how much Disney animation influenced him). I’m getting a Final Fantasy: Spirits Within vibe, not going to lie (and that’s a good thing because that movie rules).
It fits very well with the more Earthbound setting we’ve seen in these first two issues, I’ll be interested to see where it goes in the next one. Again, Spirits Within was able to capture something otherworldly, weird, fluid and esoteric, despite its very grounded and ‘realistic’ (for the late nineties) style.
Cafu’s work on The Life and Death of Toyo Harada indicates he’s more than capable. Then again, Frazer Irving is also doing art for issue # 3, so presumably his art is going to be part of glimpses of other worlds/perspectives? His work was used to tell the story of Mjolnir in Mighty Thor and a flashback scene in Unworthy Thor, so that would be my guess. On the other hand, we’ll be seeing some new, esoteric parts of the universe- which is right in Irving’s wheelhouse.
Foster learns some things that will be interesting for her, a mortal doctor, who’s very much the epitome of ‘head in the clouds, feet on the ground’, to witness.
I’m so excited for this series going forward. I’m so excited for Jane’s future. Never thought I’d live to see a time when it was better to be a fan of Jane Foster than Spiderman. Huh.
Verdict: 5 out of 5