REVIEW: ‘King in Black: Return of the Valkyries,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Return of the Valkyries #2

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #2 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Jason Aaron and Torunn Grøndekk, art Nina Vakueva, colors by Tamra Bonvillain, and letters by Joe Sabino. After failing to rescue the Sentry from the clutches of an undead Celestial, Jane Foster returns to Valhalla with her newly found comrade. There, plans are made for how the Valkyries may aid the other heroes in the battle against the King in Black. While the Valkyries set out to gather the tools necessary to accomplish their goals, another woman stands on the frontlines of the battle in New York, and she too knows what it is to be a Valkyrie.

One of the best things about being a long-time comic book reader is when you get to see a story reach back over the decades and bring back something you didn’t see coming, but you instantly know you should’ve. That’s what I felt as I flipped to the second page of Return of the Valkyries #2 to see Dani Moonstar staring down a couple of symbiotes from the other side of her light bow. Dani’s time as a Valkyrie now dates much further back than I care to think about, but now that she is here, it’s so obvious. Of course, if the Valkyries are going to ride back into battle, Dani will be there. And she has never looked stronger.

Throughout her time in Return of the Valkyries #2, Dani is pitted against the onslaught of Knull’s minions. As she struggles to buy the endangered civilians time to escape, she implements her psionic powers to learn all she can about her merciless foes. This eventually gains the attention of Knull himself. Wishing to learn who is poking around, Knull confronts Dani to see what she is capable of. During this confrontation, Aaron and Grøndekk utilize Dani’s thoughts to deliver an interesting monologue about the nature of life. It’s the sort of observation that feels completely right for one who has seen life from all sides.

Meanwhile, the rest of Return of the Valkyries #2 follows Jane and her newly rescued Valkyrie ally as they split up to gather weapons and allies for the coming battle with the undead Celestial. Since it is revealed that it is intrinsically linked to Knull, and if he is to be defeated, the Celestial must fall.

There is a moment when Jane stops by Asgard to gather some armaments that caught me completely by surprise. On her way back to Earth, Jane stops for a moment to converse with Lady Sif as she keeps her vigil by the Bifrost. While nothing of great significance passes between the two warriors, the moment has a great weight to it. As one panel captures both women’s faces, I cannot help but fully appreciate how much both have changed. With Sif, looking much grimmer as she wears Heimdell’s mantle, and Jane, who once spent her days saving lives in a hospital, now ferrying the dead to their final rest. Both characters have come a long way since their time taking turns as Thor’s love interest, having grown into characters truly all their own. You love to see it.

The art in Return of the Valkyries #2 delivers the plethora of environments, characters, and creatures with flexibility that demonstrates a lot of skill on the part of artist Vakueva. From rock trolls to symbiotes, every baddy shown delivers the right amount of menace for its moment.

The coloring work on the part of Bonvillain does a great job of creating a wonderful visual flow to the narrative. The contrast between the darkness that lies over the New York scenes and the relative brightness of the fantasy settings gives the story a constant feeling of freshness as it alternates between the two tones. Also, Bonvillain does a masterful job with Dani’s light bow. The coloring here makes it feel like a true representation of the light Dani herself refuses to let die.

Rounding out the presentation is a solid work on letters by Sabino. The story is laid out clearly, and both Knull, and the more fantastical characters, are given some added attention to their dialogue. This gives their otherworldly voices a bit more effect.

When all is said and done, Return of the Valkyries #2 grows its story well as it brings in new characters and sets up the adventure ahead.

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #2 is available February 3rd, wherever comics are sold.

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #2
4

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Return of the Valkyries #2 grows its story well as it brings in new characters and sets up the adventure ahead.