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
I often wonder if I’m ever going to be punished for just how much good Jane Foster related content is coming out- when’s the Monkey’s Paw/Devil’s bargain going to bite me in the arse? I don’t know, maybe I’ve already paid a karmic price and this is my reward for my suffering? Either way, I’m okay with it.
So far, soooo good
Valkyrie: Jane Foster (the title feels awkward this way round but whatever) is only four issues in and it’s already shaping up very well indeed. There’s a heart driving the series as Jane tries to find herself in the new superhero identity she’s been given. That doesn’t stop it also being downright charming and funny in a way we come to expect from the best Marvel books. The art is as confident and bold as ever and the fun collaboration between Aaron and Ewing works seamlessly. The juxtaposition of an ordinary setting- an office, a New York apartment and a lecture room- with the best parts of Marvel’s magical elements is inspired.
Grey’s Anatomy, but for superheroes
We know from the announcement at this year’s NYCC, the solicits for next issue and the one after that Jane is assembling a medical Avengers type team.
I am so hyped for that I cannot even process it.
It’s such an exciting idea and, whilst it has been touched several times in Doctor Strange’s stories, I’ve been looking forward to Jane getting a look in too. To be fair, it’s even been hinted of with Foster (her clinic in Broxton and her emergency room antics in She Hulk), but still. I CANNOT WAIT. Again, I can’t help but get the feeling Marvel’s ticking off things on my wish list, which is both exciting and… weirdly concerning.
Epic Tragedy vs Valkyrie Hijinks
What’s different about this issue from the heartbreaking goodbye to Heimdall in the previous issue is how much more light hearted this issue is.
Some of this is due to the presence of Mister Horse who is gunning for Thori’s position as my favourite Asgardian* talking pet.
There’s also great banter between Jane Foster and Lisa Halloran and the interplay between Mephisto and Grim Reaper. The latter is the opening sequence and sets up the classic ‘Hell is a bureaucracy’ gag which is paid off nicely in this issue.
There’s one other gag which is a bit of a call back to a similar one from the first issue, which whilst was very well done here, I still hope they don’t turn it into a running gag. Twice is probably enough, as funny as it is here. I’d be happy to be proven wrong.
I love this series so far. I know any inclusion of Jane Foster, let alone as the literal star of this series, is going to make me give it a huge benefit of the doubt.
But in my defence, from what I can tell a lot of people agree that this issue and this title so far have been both hugely enjoyable and full of emotional warmth. Cafu proves his metal as a classically talented artist who’s grounded style enhances the fantastic and ordinary. The colours too work so well with the action; particularly noteworthy is the light airy apartment vs the literally Hellish office. Ewing and Aaron both play to each other’s strengths (balancing the epic with the every day) which, again, flows perfectly. The creative team work involved in making this balancing act work so well is very reminiscent of Jane’s story- balancing the life of a medical professional/superhero saving lives… who is also the bringer of death. I am clearly going to get way more chances to bang on about theme. HYPE.
Long may it continue- I would urge people interested in this title to give it a go. It deserves to go the distance.
Verdict – 5 out of 5
* Okay technically he’s from good Vanir stock but still.