Fear Itself: The Fearless Review3
Ride of the Valkyrie.
Fear Itself takes flight with the notion of what happens when a chooser of the slain chooses herself as the one to be slain.
The one heroine that Marvel rarely does justice to, perhaps because most storylines can’t handle the scope of a character whose role in the universe is to escort fallen brave from the battle “fields so green, that whisper tales of gore” to Valhalla (Led Zeppelin, 1970). But herein we see that she has had another predestined role as pieces of her early life are strewn throughout the series and visages of her pact with Odin. In previous issues she has been giving away her apples of Iðunn, the sustenance from which she derives her immortality. This, in addition to her curt interaction with others, shows that she rides with singular purpose on her mind.
“Brunnhilde’s coming this way, riding furiously,” Siegrune cries out in Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, Act III, scene 1. Issue #9 brings about full disclosure of the shield maiden’s quest, the search for the hammers of the god of fear in order to banish them from existence. Brunnhilde’s mission to eradicate the hammers allows her to take no quarter with anyone attempting to stop her. Just as when Thor teaches Iron Man about the true nature of the immortal and mortal relationship in Thor #3 (2007), Valkyrie similarly takes the X-Man and self-styled goddess of weather Storm and efficiently quells their battle almost as soon as it begins with a combination of both tactics and raw strength. The true antagonist of the series, Sin, the daughter of the Red Skull, wants the hammers equally and similarly will stop at nothing to possess them for nothing less than world conquest. In a world where heroes and heroines routinely live with a sharp line delineating good and evil, here is a story of a warrior’s duty to rid the world of these ancient weapons of mass destruction once and for all by her self-sacrifice.
With cover art by Arthur Adams (of note, one of my favorite artists!), Fear Itself: The Fearless has become more engaging from issue to issue as the race for the hammers intensifies. Of course Adams knows Asgardian legend well, having penciled the classic New Mutants and X-Men in Asgard sagas beginning in New Mutants Special Edition 1 (1985). Fear Itself: The Fearless has taken a character often times on the sidelines and breathed fresh life into her with a quest that is noble and worthy of runestone. With story by C. Bunn, M. Fraction, and C. Yost and pencils by P. Pelletier and M. Bagley, the art is crisp, characters’ expression is emotive, and places Valkyrie in a sleek new costume ready to execute her role in the grand cosmos and mythos. The story will terminate in issue #12, but with any luck, the creative team will find a way to continue Valkyrie’s journey. Hoyotoho, hoyoho! Valhalla, I am coming!