[ENGLISH] This month: The Valkyrie. Since the inception of The Golden Age of comics in 1938, many heroes, and many villains, have splashed their battles across artistic pages, have endured their struggles in those same pages and have intrigued a readership which has loved their adventures for 72 years. This column celebrates such characters by taking a look each month at one of them. Some you will know and some are more obscure, but all hold a significant place in comics, for the world of stories in any medium is about the characters who populate it. The spectacular citizens of the universe who inhabit the comic book nation might be brave or sinister, bold or fearful, but all are characters who we can never forget. So, The Golden Age becomes the Silver Age, The Silver becomes The Bronze and so on, until today and until tomorrow. . . in The Endless Age of comics, and the beings who live inside them.
Special Message For My Readers
I just wanted to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year, and a Prosperous, Fantastic, Comic-Filled 2011! May you ever enjoy all the ages of comics bequeathed to us by our imaginative predecessors and those creators yet to arrive. And now for another year of Comic Character Investigation . . .enjoy!
Flight of The Valkyrie
Of all the characters that have come and gone over the years within the comic pages, one girl fighter in particular stands out. It might be easy to peg her as a female representative of a Norse hero to balance her out with Thor but this is an error. Valkyrie is quite a distinct creature with an equally distinct attitude. In short, she’s tough. And like most of her Norse kin, she is a courageous fighter and wastes no time with delicate words or kindness. She appears to be a woman hardened by the frozen wastes of her Asgardian land and the general mean look she carries and ready sword make most enemies realize she’s not just another girl playing a man’s game. She’s a battle maiden and her weapon delivers the language of the Northern gods.
Her real name is Brunnhilde and uniquely she has had quite a few first appearances. Two of them are the most significant. This “first” time she appeared visually it was just the image of her but it was actually Enchantress disguised as her in Avengers #87. The real first appearance which had Brunnhilde in her own body and where she was the full Valkyrie was in Defenders #109. Valkyrie was an effective presence on that team and a fitting addition to such an eclectic group containing also Dr. Strange, The Incredible Hulk and Starhawk.
In Norse myth, the Valkyries (or Valkyr) had the unique job of gathering fallen warriors from the battle field and taking them to Valhalla, the honored place for the dead in Norse mythology. The Valkyr could only select those who had fallen bravely in battle which gave them the additional name: Choosers of The Slain.
Brunnhilde had this very task as well for some time, gathering fallen warriors (who worshipped Asgardian gods) from any battles but because of a deal Odin made, she was then restricted to only gather fallen Asgardians. This limited her work severely. She then sought adventure, first with the Enchantress who imprisoned her and used her but with teams like The Defenders and even a memorable uniting with Spider-Man in his Marvel Team-Up title, she found a home among heroic kin who she could serve with and find purpose.
She is a goddess in Asgard but Midgard dwellers do not acknowledge her as one. Yet it matters little to Valkyrie as she swings her sword and cuts through battles and places with her own ideas and purpose. She worries little about what people think of her. She is heavily featured in Secret Avengers and so has the additional Midgardian honor of being a member of that branch of classic Marvel heroes. Occasionally she even teaches at the Avengers Academy.
Valkyrie’s origins are somewhat mysterious. We know she is one of the goddesses from Asgard but who her parents were is lost to us. She also claimed to have once served something even older than Asgard yet what or who she served is shrouded in comic mystery . . . ahhh the archaeology of popular culture … is there any better kind?
Valkyrie is somewhat of a loner too. She is single and has no known relatives in Asgard, Midgard or anywhere else. Her team affiliations with the Avengers, the Defenders and the other Valkyr is as close to a family as she’s ever known. Maybe the absence of connections hardened her or maybe whatever old world she served before Asgard required her to be tougher than most women. Whatever the case, you’ll find her in the comics with those Norse blond locks, pigtailed in leather . . . with those intense, icy blue eyes . . . beautiful, strong, caped in blue . . . armored and ready with a sword in her hand.
She is the Valkyrie, the leader of the Choosers of The Slain and should she ever fall in battle, one wonders who would be worthy to carry her brave figure to Valhalla where a chair in its finest hall surely awaits her.
James Parducci is the creator of the comic series Nighthunter. He has been published in multiple periodicals and runs his own freelance writing business in San Diego.