It’s up to Jane Foster to rebuild the Valkyrior…  but is she really the last death-maiden standing? Your Major Spoilers review of King In Black: Return of the Valkyries #1 from Marvel Comics awaits!

KING IN BLACK: RETURN OF THE VALKYRIES #1

Writer: Jason Aaron and Torunn Grønbekk
Artist: Nina Vakueva
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Editor: Wil Moss
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 6, 2021

Previously in King In Black: Return of the ValkyriesOnce there was an entire army of Valkyries, but now Jane Foster is the only one.  When the King in Black comes to Midgard, Jane must rebuild the Valkyries to help stop him -starting with Hildegarde, a warrior from Asgard’s own hallowed halls, and X-Man Dani Moonstar, a former Valkyrie herself.  But what Jane doesn’t know… is that she never was the only Valkyrie after all!

THE BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF THE SENTRY

As Knull, the King In Black, envelops the Earth in a symbiotic shell, Jane Foster is busy on the moon, preparing the soul of Bob Reynolds, The Sentry, for his journey to the afterlife.  As they converse, it becomes clear that Jane knows bad things are coming, but as they journey towards Valhalla (or whatever awaits the often-dead Avenger), they encounter the body of a Celestial and a horde of terrible creatures who want to consume the hero’s essence.  At the same time, in a strange timeless limbo, a hero who bears more than a little resemblance to Tessa Thompson’s movie Valkyrie is forced to relive bits of her past over and over, only realizing that it’s a dream when Jane’s All-Weapon intrudes upon her pocket dimension.  She breaks free, helping just long enough for Jane to also get free, and when asked who she is, refuses to say…  but she’s clearly about to be pretty important.

“I’M NO ONE.”

Honestly, MCU Valkyrie is one of the best things about that universe, so I’m totally thrilled to see her (or something like her) appearing on Earth-616, even if it seems long overdue.  Strangely, though, this issue feels oddly aimless for the most part, sort of drifting from place to place, and while I appreciate the interaction between The Sentry and The Valkyrie, I’m not sure that it’s enough to anchor an entire issue.  As someone who hasn’t been watching ‘King In Black’ very carefully, I felt a bit lost by this story, but I enjoyed the way it ends and I hope that we’re finally going to get something big for Jane to do.  Moreover, I hope that we will finally get closure for The Sentry, whose repeated demises have become almost comical over time.  The art in this issue is intriguing, as well.  Vakueva has elements of Walt Simonson in her layouts, and the facial expressions are well-done throughout the comic, especially during the hallucination sequences for “No One.”

BOTTOM LINE: A LIKABLE START

King In Black: Return of the Valkyries #1 is an unusual issue on a number of levels, but it holds together pretty well, thanks to some strong characterization and expressive art, even if I feel a bit overwhelmed by the massive crossover, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I will be back next issue, both for Jane and for the newest member of the Valkyrior, and I look forward to seeing what rolls out of this latest Marvel auto-da-fé.  It’d be nice to get a new ongoing Valkyrie series.


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KING IN BLACK: RETURN OF THE VALKYRIES #1

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A Familiar Face

Jane encounters a familiar face to MCU fans, with the soul of The Sentry in the balance... It's pretty good.

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  • Art
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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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