Valkyrie: Jane Foster #8 Review

by Charles Martin on February 19, 2020

Valkyrie: Jane Foster #8 Review
Writers: Jason Aaron & Torunn Grønbekk
Artist: CAFU
Colourist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Jane Foster's first scene in Valkyrie #8 is that staple of slice-of-life stories, the Girlfriends' Romantic Report Brunch. She and Lisa Halloran swap date details and Jane reflects on how the mundane part of her life is, in its way, so much harder than the Valkyrie part.

Soon enough, earth tremors signal the start of a demon invasion, and she'll spend the rest of the issue fighting it with an all-star guest roster headlined by All-Father Thor. 

It's a canny bit of script design to throw that prosaic scene into the mix up front. It underscores Jane's concerns about not having enough going on in her life outside the superhero sphere. If those concerns don't come back to tie into the story later on, I'll eat a hat (a puny Earth hat, though, not one of them heavy metal Asgardian jobs).

The initial demonic clash makes a fine opportunity to queue up guest stars. Valkyrie meets Captain America and fights alongside Doctor Strange (again) and Spider-Man. And Iron Man is radioing in to keep the comedy quotient up, complaining about missing such a primo team-up. Thor arrives in time to put a decisive cap on the first round and throw some ancient Asgardian mythology into the mix.

The plot that takes shape by the end of the issue is a pretty serious one; this is an "all life on Earth hangs in the balance" situation. The script emphasizes the gravity admirably, though it doesn't break through into ideal territory by making the threat feel unique and/or memorable.

The epic scope and high stakes are hallmarks of Jason Aaron storytelling. However much of the plotting title newcomer Torunn Grønbekk handled, she deserves credit for helping lift this story right up to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Aaron's better Thor work.

On the tactical scale, the script does a more than fair job with dialogue and narration. There are a few pages where those two forms of writing clash a bit, but the voices -- particularly Jane's -- remain distinctive and natural throughout. 

CAFU and Jesus Aburtov maintain their usual lock on providing detailed, gorgeous visuals. Valkyrie and Mr. Horse look great as ever. The big guest list provides a particular treat for CAFU; thanks to the a-listers in the mix, this is halfway to being an Avengers book. The artist does not disappoint, turning in gorgeous renderings of Marvel's finest that are simultaneously iconic and completely integrated into the title's established style.

Perhaps the best thing that emerges in this issue is its continuity with what's come before. There are new challenges ahead, but Jane faces them with the admirable determination we saw in earlier issues. She directly addresses the position she has to take between life and death while talking to Thor. It's grim territory; a character stuck there could easily become morbid. But Jane -- and her storytellers -- retain a sense of vitality and optimism that are all the clearer for their dark surroundings.

Torunn Grønbekk seamlessly joins Team Valkyrie with this issue. A fresh assault on life demands Jane's utmost efforts, and Dr. Foster will not shirk her duty. The villainous plot ratchets up the tension (even if it's not terrifically memorable), while the large guest-star roster adds a playful edge. The art remains fantastic, and the tone of the narrative retains all its best qualities. We can rely on Valkyrie to once again stare into the deepest abysses with courage and compassion.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
This issue does an excellent comedy callback to Spider-Man's talking horse experiences in the War of the Realms.