When co-writers Jason Aaron (The Mighty Thor, Avengers) and Al Ewing (The Immortal Hulk) announced the series at last month’s Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, they didn’t have much to tell beyond the title. But after the momentous events of War of the Realms #2, Marvel announced the identity of their new Valkyrie.
[Ed. note: The following contains spoilers for War of the Realms #2.]
And that’s because Brunhilde dies in War of the Realms #2. The unexpected arrival of Odin and his Valkyrior gave some fresh spirit to the Midgardian forces in their bloody battle against the forces of the dark elf Malekith, but then another setback hit.
Doctor Strange summoned a mighty spell to evacuate civilians from New York City, but lost control of its boundaries, teleporting most of Earth’s superheroes out of Manhattan as well. That left only the Valkyries to face Malekith’s armies, and it was a slaughter, with Brunhilde herself falling to Malekith’s sword.
Without the Valkyries there can be no Valhalla — no place for gods and honored warriors to spend their afterlife — but it appears that once the dust of War of the Realms settles, Jane Foster will be the first Valkyrie of a new generation.
If you haven’t kept up on Jane’s story, she was Thor for a while, saved all of Asgard, died, came back to life, then took a break from superheroing to beat cancer. Jane spent the first two issues of War of the Realms wanting in on the action, but the Asgardians around her left her out of the fight in concern for her frail human form — which, to be fair, is still recovering from chemo. It looks like she won’t have much longer to wait to kick more than cancer’s ass.
But aside from kicking bad-guy butt in Valkyrie, Jane has to figure out what the Valkyries will even be, now that she’s the only one.
“There’s a line in Valkyrie #1: “Thor is a god, Valkyrie is a job,” co-writer Al Ewing told Marvel.com. “Jane knows how to be Thor, but the role of Valkyrie — the warrior who fights for the living and the dead, and stands between both — is a very different beast. It’s a sacred task, and brings additional abilities — and responsibilities — of its own. As the first of a new generation of Valkyries, Jane has to decide for herself what that task involves, and that’s a big part of what we’ll be exploring in this series.”
Death isn’t the end in comics, especially for comic book gods, and so Jane will still be able to chat with the late Brunhilde when she needs to. She’ll also have Undrjarn, the All-Weapon (UNDRJARN, THE ALL-WEAPON!) in her pocket, a shapeshifting weapon “forged in the fires of the Realm-War” that can take any form its bearer requires.
Of course we don’t yet know how Jane gets Undrjarn, or how she becomes the last and first Valkyrie — close to the end of War of the Realms #2, Freya named her All-Mother of Asgard in her absence, as the goddess prepared to lead a strike team to Jotunheim to rescue her son, Thor. But there are four more issues and two more months left in the War of the Realms event, leaving plenty of time for massive changes to the Marvel Universe.
Valkyrie #1 will hit shelves sometime in July.