Review: Valkyrie #1 By Bryan J.L. Glass

I won’t discuss it at length, but I will say that Marvel’s recent strategy to rope in female comic readers mystifies me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a noble goal , but I think the energy would be better spent focusing on making existing comics more female friendly, rather than trying to bring them in the new titles. Case in point – Valkyrie #1.

Speaking from a purely objective standpoint, it’s hard to call this a bad comic – it’s certainly not an exceptional one, but you could do far worse. It’s main purpose is to fill in the blanks with Valkyrie’s recent history and let us know what the hell’s been going on with her for the past three years. It does this in a way that’s meant to tell a tale of Wagnerian death and triumph, woe and victory, a modern opera. That’s what they’re going for, anyway.

And in some ways, it works; there is a certain magical feel to it. It’s told from Valkyrie’s viewpoint, and it’s a sympathetic one; we stick with her as she wakes up in a new body and sorts out the spiraling maelstrom that is her life, memories from different lifetimes, experiences that she can’t connect to, trying to make out some sense of an identity through all the gunk left behind from Ragnarok. Very epic.

In fact, it’s a little too epic. There’s a lot going on in these twenty-two pages, and if you’re not familiar with what’s been going on with Thor and Valkyrie’s history, it’s an awful lot to digest. It’s nothing that a few trips to the Internet won’t fix, sure, but if you’re going into this fresh, you’ll probably wind up skimming over all the explanations and wind up confused when it all ends. There are some brief bursts of action, but they feel rushed; all in all, it’s like a glorified Wikipedia article with pictures. Stretching this out to two issues could have made this a smoother read.

Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe that’s what you want. If you just want to fill in, if you just want to learn more about Valkyrie before you dive into Secret Avengers, this is just what the doctor ordered. If you’re trying to get a decent foothold in the Marvel Universe and see one of its best – and most complex – female superheroes in action, though, it’s not the best starting point.

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