Spotlight On: Valkyrie

Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

In honor of the fact that FEARLESS DEFENDERS AU #4 hits comic stores tomorrow, we decided to shed a bit of the spotlight on one of this series' central characters: Valkyrie. Valkyrie is not only the backbone of this team of Marvel super heroines, she is also quickly becoming one of the more interesting female characters in the Marvel Universe. When FEARLESS DEFENDERS launched a mere four issues ago many were surprised at the notion of bringing such an eclectic group of comic book characters together on one title. These ladies stem from very different parts of the Marvel Universe, and not everyone thought a team like this would work. Needless to say, FEARLESS DEFENDERS has been a pleasant surprise, and Valkyrie's crucial role on this team is not one that should be overlooked. When the book initially launched it became clear very quickly that Brunnhilde would be the one to take on the reigns of leadership, and even in her most vulnerable moments she has shown herself as being very capable in that particular role. If you haven't been reading FEARLESS DEFENDERS and you don't know much about Valkyrie, here's why we think you may want to dive into this series and get to know this particular character a little bit better.

You may not realize it if you haven't been reading Marvel comics since the 1970's but Valkyrie is one lady that has been around for a very long time. In fact, her first appearance was in AVENGERS #83 in 1970 (coincidentally, also a team book). Being a leader must be something deeply rooted in Valkyrie considering her very first appearance in comics was as a leader of an all female Avengers group named the Lady Liberators. We know what you're thinking, the name is kind of corny, and yes we agree. Let's keep in mind it was the 1970's, after all. And although she was technically the leader, this early version of the character wasn't the character that we know today. In fact, the very first Valkyrie was really the Enchantress in the guise of Valkyrie. Yet, Marvel and Valkyrie's creators must have really liked the concept because they eventually gave the character her very own identity. And rightfully so. Valkyrie's following appearances mirrored those of Thor in the sense that both characters have "dual personas". While Thor has been Donald Blake and Eric Masterson, Valkyrie has been both Samantha Parrington and Barbara Norris.

Valkyrie was first given a human identity when she appeared in THE INCREDIBLE HULK #142. In this issue she was not just Valkyrie, she was also a woman named Samantha Parrington. Different creative teams continued to toy with the notion of Valkyrie over the course of the next several years, but it wasn't until the character came under the pen of comics writer Steve Englehart in the late 70's. Not only was Valkyrie's character placed within another mortal woman, but she was given an entirely new identity: that of Barbara Norris. It was not until the character's appearance in THE DEFENDERS in the late 70's and early 80's that Marvel really began to explore Valkyrie's identity and flesh out her character. Many of her appearances throughout this particular series were also one of the highlights in that she had some pretty hilarious commentary, even if it did make her seem like something of a parody of herself and feminism at the time. Valkyrie's early appearances in this series are chock full of her belting out phrases like "male chauvinist pig!" mid-battle, something that certainly garnered some laughs (both then and now), but not something that allowed her to be taken very seriously. Following her stint in THE DEFENDERS we didn't see a whole lot of Valkyrie, and she didn't hold a very prominent role in the Marvel Universe -- at least not until recently when she appeared in Marvels SECRET AVENGERS series and even more recently as the leader of the FEARLESS DEFENDERS. During Fear Itself we saw Valkyrie play the role of team member but also leader when she led the U.S. Army into battle at the request of Steve Rogers, a responsibility that was not taken lightly.

It's safe to say the odds were sort of stacked against Valkyrie's character -- at least initially. She first came on the scene as an alter ego, and she barely survived the 90's with so few appearances that she made. So why now? What makes her so special? When it comes to female heroes Marvel has a lot of power-houses. There's She-Hulk, Red She-Hulk, Captain Marvel (formerly Ms. Marvel) and then there's Rogue on the side of the X-Men and the Phoenix which was very popular in the 90's. So what makes Valkyrie stand out? Her ties to mythology. Valyrie isn't just a power house (something we've seen demonstrated particularly in the current FEARLESS DEFENDERS series by writer Cullen Bunn), but she's also got a very unique mythology and that's something that Bunn has been exploring bit by bit in recent issues of her series. As we've seen in FEARLESS DEFENDERS Valkyrie's past is something that haunts her constantly, and readers who have been keeping up with the series have watched this fact come to the surface of the story. Valkyrie is not only trained by one of the greatest warriors of Asgard (Sigmund), but she is also one of the few Asgardians ever to have defied Odin to his face -- an act that is punishable by death.

Valkyrie is a complex character. Beyond the fact that she is a warrior and she will do anything for the good of the fight, she also has her own morals and follows a code of her own, something that has in the past gone against the beliefs of her people and her Asgardian heritage. It is these two things that truly make her a multi-dimensional character and serve to help her act as a decent leader. You can read more about Valkyrie in FEARLESS DEFENDERS and catch up on her past appearances by reading FEAR ITSELF as well as SECRET AVENGERS. What do you think of the current incarnation of Valkyrie? Do you like the character? Have you been reading FEARLESS DEFENDERS?

#1 Edited by Vortex13 (12223 posts) - - Show Bio

She is definitely a character that deserves the attention she's been getting lately and a lot more to boot.

#2 Posted by Teerack (5399 posts) - - Show Bio

The most interesting thing about Val in the past 20 years is her relationship with Flash, but it seems to not exist anymore :\

#3 Posted by ShadowX (1217 posts) - - Show Bio

I love Valkyrie. And I really hope her and Annabelle end up together in Fearless Defenders >w<

#4 Edited by saoakden (1018 posts) - - Show Bio

I remember reading Secret Avengers when Brubaker was on it and she seemed interesting. I think I'll check out Fearless Defenders. Valkyrie does sound like an interesting character. I think I should give her a chance. I might like her. First I need to go get an issue or two of Fearless Defenders.

#5 Posted by Owie (3621 posts) - - Show Bio

Definitely a complex character. I only found out about the Samantha Parrington part recently--what a crazy extra sidebar part of her history!

I really liked her in the original Defenders. She was tough, even among some other very tough characters. She managed to walk a fine line between having a very firm, independent personality that looked at mortal life from the outside, and having a friendlier, open personality that had good relationships with the other female Defenders of the time, like Hellcat, Cloud, and Andromeda--and sometimes conflicting relationships, as she did with Moondragon.

Her end in that series, dying in the battle against the Dragon of the Moon alongside some of her compatriots, was a very powerful moment, especially since she was in the original Defenders longer than anyone else, a real feat for a female character of the time.

Her black legless costume of the time was definitely cheesy though. The no-pants and-a-cape look is sort of like wearing shorts and a trenchcoat! So I was glad when they came up with the temporary one she first had after being resurrected (with the grey leggings and red cape) and also with her contemporary one where they just gave her some pants to go along with her earlier costume. Pants! Who woulda thought. Now if they can just do the same to Wonder Woman like they did in the early sketches for her current series...

So yeah, let's hear it for Valkyrie! And let's hope they get a better artist for the Fearless Defenders so I can start reading it again.

#6 Posted by x_29 (2274 posts) - - Show Bio

Never really cared for the character.

#7 Edited by jointron33 (1902 posts) - - Show Bio

She seems like a real bitch

#8 Edited by Vortex13 (12223 posts) - - Show Bio

@teerack: When did she date Flash Thompson?

#9 Posted by Teerack (5399 posts) - - Show Bio

@vortex13 said:

@teerack: When did she date Flash Thompson?

In the previous volume of Secret Avengers and it crossed over in the Venom book a little.

#10 Edited by bob808 (6756 posts) - - Show Bio

Valkyrie is awesome.

#11 Edited by TheHeat (450 posts) - - Show Bio

I wonder if she will ever appear in a Thor movie.

#12 Edited by OmgOmgWtfWtf (6954 posts) - - Show Bio

Her and Sif need to fight to see who is better :D

#13 Posted by Cavemold (1676 posts) - - Show Bio

Valkyrie vs sif in mud wrestling matches??! IMO

#14 Posted by Sissel (1985 posts) - - Show Bio

Like others said, I would like to see her and Sif fight each other. Maybe in Fearless Defenders and Sif joining as an honorary member of the group? Why not.

#15 Posted by Press Oblivion (1643 posts) - - Show Bio

Awe!! Cool Thanks for that!

#16 Posted by mickeyangel (47 posts) - - Show Bio

This character has always has been a lifelong favorite. I really discovered comics when I was ten and would ride my bike a mile away to the local 7/11 and spen all my allowance on comics which were then 25 to 35 cents. One of the first comics I ever picked off a spinner rack was Defenders 63 in 1978 featuring Valkyrie on the cover drawn by George Perez with the caption "Valkyrie goes mad!". This was followed by issues 66 to 68 for a three parter background story on her when she returns to Valhalla. that was it. Ive been smitten ever since. Shes one of my favorites of all time.

#17 Posted by soir8 (27 posts) - - Show Bio
#18 Posted by Darkmount1 (1269 posts) - - Show Bio
#19 Posted by Perfect 10 (979 posts) - - Show Bio

like but not love the series. hope it gets better cause im in it to win it

#20 Edited by drgnx (3551 posts) - - Show Bio

She spat in Odin's face ... insolent brat!

#21 Edited by drgnx (3551 posts) - - Show Bio

She spat in Odin's face ... insolent brat!

#22 Edited by DH69 (4258 posts) - - Show Bio

Love the push her characters had in the past few years, and since Ms. Marvel has been taken from me, Val could easily fill the empty hole she left.

#23 Posted by Crimsonlord53 (1304 posts) - - Show Bio

Well worth the read glad to see marvel shining the spotlight on there female character's.

#24 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Always have been a fan of Valkyrie myself even if I do agree the whole "Lady Liberator" thing from the 70s is a tired concept. She's as timeless as she is classic and how she's being handled by Bunn in Fearless Defenders is right on the mark in my opinion.

#25 Posted by evilvegeta74 (4521 posts) - - Show Bio

Go Val!

#26 Posted by Arkhamc1tizen (2116 posts) - - Show Bio

I think she's kay

Online
#27 Posted by Cafeterialoca (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

I love Fearless Defenders. My favorite ongoing currently and I can't promote it enough!!!

#28 Edited by Miss_Garrick (1757 posts) - - Show Bio

Valkyries are always awesome! Anything to do with Viking stuff is always a win for me!

#29 Posted by rasx (242 posts) - - Show Bio

I love Fearless Defenders. My favorite ongoing currently and I can't promote it enough!!!

I agree, this book is just amazing right now, one of the best books Marvel is currently publishing.

#31 Posted by notarandomguy (316 posts) - - Show Bio

She's awesome, really cool !! And an amazing character with so much potential.. I still like Sif better tho

#33 Edited by Mucklefluga (2523 posts) - - Show Bio

Is this Comic Vine's new version of the three-minute expert?

#34 Posted by lykopis (10756 posts) - - Show Bio

Fearless Defenders is picking up -- I was a little let down with the first two issues but with the introduction of Warrior Woman and the discovery of Brunhilde's true past it's caught my attention with the latest issue, I can say with relief this is a book which has great potential in gathering fans from all corners of the Marvel Universe.

As for Valkyrie specifically, she has deserved focus for a long time and seeing her get her due is great. Great write-up -- I would definitely recommend Fearless Defenders.

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