When it comes to death and superheroes, the connection has become somewhat of a cliche. Superhero death has become a trope that gets trotted out several times a year, as does the return several years later. So facing death in comics in a novel way is a tough task, one that Valkyrie: Jane Foster #2 has to live up to.
Jason Aaron, Al Ewing, Cafu, Jesus Abuterov, and Joe Sabino puts Jane Foster up against death itself, as well as the Marvel Universe’s deadliest assassin…
Bullseye has stolen Brunhilde’s sword Dragonfang, making the deadliest assassin on Earth even more deadly. He’s already run through Heimdall, leaving Asgard’s guardian bleeding out at her feet. Can Jane Foster stop him before the body count rises?
In almost any other first-time ongoing series using Bullseye would look like a stunt to try to draw readers in with an A-list villain. Here though, his presence is quite a bit more meta, serving as a stand-in for the larger forces that lead to heroic deaths. Aaron and Ewing tell a great action story with that though, also taking advantage of their protagonist being a doctor. It’s a packed story with lots of deeper meaning.
Cafu’s line work is great, but the highlight is his take on Bullseye. The assassin has a perpetual sneer on his face, with body language to match. He makes it clear that he never doubts the outcome of the fight for a moment. That extends to Jane herself as her confidence is clearly shaken as she faces him. Abuterov adds a brilliant shine to the page, particularly with his use of red, which shows up in brilliant bursts almost like an exclamation point.
This story can be taken in multiple ways, and that’s one of my favorite things about it. If you look at it simply as a superhero action story, it works extremely well- excellent in fact. However, if you see Jane and Bullseye’s conflict as a stand-in for the hero facing their inevitable (sales-driven) demise, it takes on a deeper and more complex meaning.
In two issues, this is series becoming a favorite of mine. It’s a complex and thoughtful superhero epic, and I’m excited to see what comes from it.
Valkyrie: Jane Foster #2 is available now from Marvel Comics.