Thursday, September 30, 2010

Woman Warrior Wednesdays #15 by Kate Krimson

Valkyrie #1 (“Tragic Opera”)-Marvel Comics-$3.99


Under the name Valerie, Brunnhilde was working at a hotel in NYC. A male customer pushed her out of his hotel room window for not prostituting herself. She died, but an inner bolt of lightning sprung her back to life. The paramedics want her to stay with them to make sure that she was completely recovered. After she seems to regain some of her sense of self, she remembers that she has some unfinished business and busts out of the ambulance’s back doors. She goes back to hotel to find her attempted rapist/murderer (Ryan Sanduski), but also who she’s been for the past three years. The years of working at the hotel all seem to be a strange tale to her that she barely remembers. She doesn’t ever remember being Valerie, but she remembers being Brunnhilde. Unfortunately Sanduski checked out, but Brunnhilde decides to keep up her search for at least her real self.

She goes to Cresskill, NJ to visit her friend Janet van Dyne a.k.a. The Wasp. Brunnhilde seems now to be aware of the fact that her memory loss is due to being in the Slumber of Ragnarok and Thor, god of thunder, is the one who woke her up when she “died”. She doesn’t feel like she can go back to the Asgardians because Odin banished her. Janet tells her that was a long time ago and that she’s sure that they would be glad to see Brunnhilde. Janet tells Brunnhilde that she must follow her heart to make the right decision.

While putting back the puzzle pieces of herself, Brunnhilde starts putting other puzzles together. She realizes that Ryan Sanduski must be her old enemy Brian Calusky a.k.a. Piledriver and that her old friend Ziggy might be Siegfried, one of the paramedics who rushed to her rescue. After making this realization, she goes to Siegfried’s apartment where she finds Piledriver attacking Siegfried and his family. Piledriver almost kills her again, but Brunnhilde decides that dying once is enough and starts fighting back like she means it. During the fight, Piledriver calls Brunnhilde a man-hater and she teaches him a lesson:

“Those who fear me—Fear my strength, my independence…They are the ones who judge me in order to shield their own weakness…I am not cold and aloof; nor am I a hater of men…I am a woman of deep loyalty…Far beyond that which most mortals of this realm could ever hope to understand.”

Then she defeats him with one tough punch. Afterwards Siegfried begins to have a heart attack, Brunnhilde takes him and they ride off on a police officer’s horse to go to Asgard, so he can be healed. In her face is the pure look of absolute determination that she will never lose another battle, because she has “defended and avenged, fought the incredible and the mighty… and carried the worthy to their great reward” and she is “Valkyrior (female warrior), Brunnhilde, Shield Maiden of Asgard.” All of this is what truly defines Valkyrie.

Writer (Bryan J.L. Glass): Thank you, Bryan Glass, for writing the most feminist comic that I have come across thus far. Glass deals with women’s issues (rape and being deemed a man-hater just because one is a tough woman) and shows how a woman can overcome these obstacles by believing in who she really is.

Illustrator (Phil Winslade): Winslade also makes the comic a feminist one with his more than clear depictions of Brunnhilde as her true warrior self, who as Twisted Sister once said isn’t “gonna take it anymore.”

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