12:26pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Marvel Gives Comic Book Valkyrie the 'Thor: Ragnarok' Treatment
The “mystery” member of Marvel Entertainment’s upcoming comic book series Exiles has been revealed, and it’s a character never before seen in comic books … kind of.
The fifth member of the group, which is made up of alternate universe takes of familiar Marvel characters, will be a new incarnation of Valkyrie that closely resembles Tessa Thompson’s version of the character from last year’s Thor: Ragnarok.
“Like everyone else who has seen Taika Waititi’s brilliant Thor: Ragnarok movie, all of us on Team Exiles are big fans of Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie,” series editor Wil Moss said in a statement from the publisher. “So when we realized that we had the perfect series — where the roster is made up of alternate reality versions of Marvel heroes — to introduce a comic book equivalent of that version of Valkyrie, we jumped at the chance! “
Traditionally, Marvel’s comic book Valkyrie is both caucasian and blonde. (The character, when originally introduced in 1970’s Avengers No. 83, was a disguise for the similarly Aryan villain, the Enchantress.) That incarnation of the character has recently been seen on Marvel’s Earth with a team of human Valkyries in the short-lived Fearless Defenders series.
Curiously, Moss’ statement was accompanied by one from series writer Saladin Ahmed in which he clarifies that the new comic book Valkyrie is “not technically from the Marvel Cinematic Universe reality,” but is nonetheless, “basically the liberalization of the larger-than-her-physical-frame swagger that Tessa Thompson displayed in Thor: Ragnarok, turned up to 11.” File that clarification under potential rights issues, perhaps.
The new incarnation of the character, defined by Ahmed as “the Lone defender of Asgard,” will be canonically gay — he describes her as “maiden-wooing,” wonderfully — and features character design from series artist Javier Rodriguez that combines elements of original comic artist John Buscema’s visuals with the Thor: Ragnarok design.
This isn’t the first time Marvel’s comic book characters have undergone significant makeovers to match their movie counterparts: Nick Fury similarly changed race, age and dress sense as the comic books shifted toward mirroring the Marvel Cinematic Universe personification of Samuel L. Jackson; that change was explained away by claiming that the new Fury was the illegitimate son of the original, who would go on to both lose an eye like the father he never knew, and then claim his father’s name as his own.
As coincidence would have it, the original Fury was written out of Marvel’s comic books, but makes his return in Exiles.
Exiles No. 1 will be released April 11.