REVIEW: ‘King in Black: Return of the Valkyries,’ Issue #3

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King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Jason Aaron and Torunn Grøndekk, art Nina Vakueva, colors by Tamra Bonvillain, and letters by Joe Sabino. With one Valkyrie traveling to Vanaheim to retrieve her lost weapon, Jane Foster travels to Midgard to gather some more help in what may amount to a suicide mission to sever Knull from the undead Celestial that floats through limbo.

Resiliency can take many shapes. And while the classic version is one of strength, shining, and defiant, it is far from the only one. Too often, people undervalue the strength surviving takes. Whether it makes one shine like the sun, or hide in the shadows. Because people forget, no one can be strong forever. As trials and tribulations stack one upon another over days, months, and years, survival becomes less about strength and more about the simple will. And while it is easy to look back at how one managed to survive a long, drawn-out tribulation and assign it a label like cowardice, to survive at all is often a greater strength than many will ever know.

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3 opens with a trip to Hildegarde’s past and a lesson from her old trainer. Seeing Hildegarde in this way causes a small chuckle, despite the seriousness of the moment. It’s just hard seeing her as a child, I guess. But the lesson her teacher gives her is an important one. And, understandably, she would call it to mind now.

Back in the present, Hildegarde, Jane Foster, and Dani Moonstar set about dispatching the symbiote dragon that threatened them at the end of the last issue. Once this momentary obstacle has been felled, the three set out to complete Brunnhilde’s plan. With two of them going to limbo to perform a ritual a the sight of the celestial, and the other heads to the stronghold of Knull to perform the other part of the plan.

Meanwhile, in the realm of Vanaheim our other Valkyrie has recovered her lost weapon, though it seems it has fallen short of her expectations. While enjoying some post-battle wine, she confesses her ulterior motives for the journey for her weapon. She struggles with things that happened in her past and the things she did. I guess being sealed inside an undead Celestial for a few centuries can be trauma-inducing. Go figure.

Writers Aaron and Gröndekk do an amazing job with the tone King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3 takes. While the initial expectation for a story stepped so much in the Asgardian themes may be one of glorious combat and heavy drinking, the writing duo soon reminds the reader that this is a tale of the Valkyrie. The somber side of the mythos. As the impending doom looms over the story, our heroes march to face death with certainty and grim resolve. For as the last of the Valkyrie, if they fall who will carry them to the eternal halls of Valhalla?

The grim mood that hangs over our heroes is captured skillfully by artist Vakueva. The foreboding sense of doom that follows each of the main characters is always present in their body language. The art does a particularly great job with our unnamed Valkyrie in Vanaheim. As she drinks and reminisces, her every pose and looks echoes the grim thoughts of her mind.

The colorwork in King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3 chooses a route I wouldn’t expect. Rather than darkening the spaces, the story takes place to fit the mood, and colorist Bonvillain instead holds fast to the lighting one would generally find in their surroundings. I would normally expect the often bright colors to work against the overall brooding mode of the book. Instead, it enhances it. All the bright colors and warm palettes in the nine realms seem to fail to reach  our protagonists.

Wrapping up the presentation, here are Sabino’s letters. The letterer does a great job of keeping the story clear and flowing smoothly from panel to panel.

When you look at it all together, King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3 delivers a grim tale, that does an excellent job of setting up its final issue. What will ultimately become of our heroes is something I cannot wait to find out. May the All-Father smile on their efforts.

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3
5

TL;DR

When you look at it all together, King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3 delivers a grim tale, that does an excellent job of setting up its final issue. What will ultimately become of our heroes is something I cannot wait to find out. May the All-Father smile on their efforts.