Valkyrie (Marvel Comics)


Valkyrie (Marvel Comics)

Valkyrie is a fictional character and Marvel Comics superhero. An Asgardian demi-goddess by birth, her real name is Brunnhilde. Among her other aliases are Barbara Denton-Norriss, Samantha Parrington, and Sian Bowen who all were host bodies to the spirit of Brunnhilde. For much of her history she was a mainstay of the superhero team known as the Defenders. Samantha Parrington, a previous host to Brunnhilde, later received the Valkyrie powers herself and became a member of the Defenders as Valkyrie.

Contents

Valkyrie (Brunnhilde)

Valkyrie
Valkyrie.jpeg
Cover of the Valkyrie one-shot (January 1997). Art by Pablo Raimondi
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Avengers vol. 1 #83 (December, 1970)
Created by Roy Thomas
John Buscema
In-story information
Alter ego Brunnhilde of Asgard
Team affiliations Asgardians
Valkyrior
Defenders
Secret Avengers
Notable aliases Barbara Denton-Norris, Sian Bowen
Abilities
  • Superhuman strength and durability
  • Slowed aging
  • Centuries of combat experience
  • Ability to convey spirits of the dead

Publication history

The Valkyrie's first appearance was in The Avengers vol. 1 #83 (December, 1970), and she was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

Fictional character biography

Valkyrie is the strongest of all Valkyrior. Like all her people, her tissue and bone are several times as dense as the mortal equivalent. Though she is not immortal, she ages far more slowly than humans. Valkyrie is immune to all terrestrial diseases and is resistant to most forms of injury. Her Asgardian physiology grants her superhuman levels of stamina. Valkyrie can perceive the approach of death, in the form of a "deathglow" surrounding a person's body. She doesn't know how death will come but she can tell that it is imminent. Valkyrie can transport herself and a dying or dead body to and from the realm of the dead by willing it. Valkyrie has had extensive training in sword fighting as well as unarmed combat and horseback riding. Her natural fighting ability is among the best of all Asgardian females, matched only by Sif.

Brunnhilde was selected by Odin, King of the Gods of the realm of Asgard, to lead the Valkyrior (the Choosers of the Slain), a group of warrior goddesses who would appear over the battlefields of mortal worshippers of the Asgardian gods and choose which of the fallen were worthy to be taken to Valhalla, the land of the honored dead. Brunnhilde served capably in this capacity for centuries.

According to a sentient, disembodied eye that claimed to have once belonged to Odin, the Asgardian monarch once gave his son Thor the mortal identity of the warrior Siegmund. Circumstances forced Odin to decree that Siegmund must be slain. Brunnhilde, recognizing that Odin was acting against his true wishes, sought to protect Siegmund, but Odin himself then caused Siegmund's death. Brunnhilde helped Siegmund's pregnant lover, Sieglinde get to safety. As punishment for her defiance, Odin removed Brunnhilde's Asgardian powers and immortality and cast her into a trance. She was eventually awakened by Siegfried, the son of Siegmund and Sieglinde and another mortal incarnation of Thor.

Brunnhilde and Siegfried became lovers, and she made him invulnerable so long as his back was not turned on his foe. However, Siegfried fell under the influence of magic and betrayed her. He was later murdered, and Brunnhilde, still in love with him, leapt into his blazing funeral pyre (this part of her background was based on the Volsunga saga). Odin restored both of them to life, restoring their Asgardian roles and powers, but removing their memories of their earthly lives. It is unclear how much truth, if any, there is to this account by the eye.

Brunnhilde and her fellow Valkyries continued to gather heroic mortal warriors for Valhalla until roughly a millennium ago, when Odin was forced to cease virtually all intercourse with the Earth in accordance with a pact that he and the leaders of Earth's other pantheons of gods made with extraterrestrial Celestials. From then onward, the Valkyries could only choose slain heroes from among fallen Asgardian warriors. Brunnhilde was bitter over being barred from choosing warriors on Earth and roamed Asgard in pursuit of something meaningful to do.

In a tavern on the outskirts of Marmoragard, Brunnhilde encountered Amora the Enchantress, who offered her a life of adventure. For several weeks Brunnhilde accompanied the Enchantress on her conquests. Brunnhilde soon discovered Amora's immoral nature and tried to end their partnership. In response the Enchantress trapped Brunnhilde within a mystic crystal of souls. While Brunnhilde's body remained in suspended animation, her immortal soul became Amora's plaything. Over the centuries the Enchantress used Brunnhilde's spiritual essence to give the Valkyrie’s powers to herself or to her pawns. The Enchantress usually used her magic to alter the recipient's appearance to resemble Brunnhilde herself.[volume & issue needed]

Specific instances of Amora's exploitation of the Valkyrie before recent years are not yet known. The first time the Enchantress assumed the Valkyrie's physical aspect in recent years was in a plot to lead a handful of female superhumans against the male Avengers as the Lady Liberators. Her true identity was discovered, however, and her plan thwarted. Months later, the Enchantress bestowed the Valkyrie's power upon a socialite named Samantha Parrington in an attempt to get revenge on the Hulk.[volume & issue needed]

Cover of Avengers #83 by John Buscema & Tom Palmer

Finally, a woman driven mad by being trapped in another mystical dimension, Barbara Norriss, was given the Valkyrie's power and consciousness by the Enchantress to help her then-allies, the group of superhumans called the Defenders, escape from the clutches of the sorceress Casiolena. Amora did not undo her spell on Norriss after Casiolena's defeat. As a result, Norriss' body now possessed Brunnhilda's consciousness, appearance, and powers, while Norriss' own mental essence was trapped in Brunnhilde's real body in Asgard. However, thanks to partial amnesia induced by the Enchantress, Brunnhilde was unaware that she was not in possession of her real body and full memory. Indeed, while trapped in Norriss' body, Brunnhilde's personality lacked much of its usual strength of will.[volume & issue needed]

It was not until a minor Asgardian warrior named Ollerus attempted to take over Valhalla that the Valkyrie’s two mixed aspects met for the first time. Brunnhilde’s mental essence trapped in Norriss’s transformed body, fought Norriss’ mental essence trapped in Brunnhilde’s real body. At the end of that encounter, the Valkyrie’s body, still possessed by Norriss’ mind, was consigned to Niffleheim, the realm inhabited by the spirits of the non-heroic Asgardian dead, while Brunnhilde’s mind in Norriss’ transformed body accompanied the Defenders, who had made the other dimensional journey with her, back to Earth.[volume & issue needed]

For reasons yet unknown, Brunnhilde was not concerned at this time about reuniting her mind with her true body. It was not until Barbara Norriss’ body was murdered that the Valkyrie's spirit and mind were inadvertently freed from their mortal host. With the help of Doctor Strange's magic, Brunnhilde regained her true body, which was rescued from Niffleheim by the Enchantress. Back in her real body, Brunnhilde regained her full memory and normal warrior personality as well. Brunnhilde then battled Amora and banished her to the crystal of souls. Feeling estranged from Asgard in general and Odin in particular for their neglect of her centuries-long plight, Brunnhilde chose to return to Earth with the Defenders. She remained with them for several years.[volume & issue needed]

Cover of Defenders #66 by John Buscema, Bob Mcleod, & Irving Watanabe.

Odin placed the dangerously powerful self-styled goddess Moondragon into Brunnhilde's charge. Brunnhilde was to teach Moondragon humility, and Moondragon served alongside Brunnhilde in the Defenders. Brunnhilde was to take action against Moondragon should she again become a menace. Eventually Moondragon reformed, but later she fell once again under the malevolent influence of the alien entity called the Dragon of the Moon. Moondragon attacked the Defenders, but Brunnhilde, given temporary additional powers by Odin for this occasion, including the power to grow to gigantic stature, opposed her. Brunnhilde summoned other Valkyries to her aid and together with two other Defenders, the Angel and Cloud, they defeated Moondragon but failed to capture her.[volume & issue needed]

Months later Moondragon returned to attack the Defenders. During this encounter, her power was vastly augmented by the alien Beyonder. In order to defeat the Dragon, Brunnhilde and the Eternal called Interloper projected their immortal life forces against it. They were joined by Defenders member Andromeda and the Defenders' former foe Manslaughter, for it was necessary that Brunnhilde's and Interloper's life forces pass through "mortal instruments" in order that Moondragon be defeated as well. Joining hands, the four allies hurled the tremendous power of their combined life forces at the Dragon, Moondragon, and the Gargoyle II, whose body was now under the Dragon's control. Three other Defenders went to rescue endangered innocents, and when they returned, Brunnhilde, Interloper, Andromeda, Manslaughter, Moondragon, and Gargoyle had all seemingly been transformed into statues of ashes and dust, and the Dragon of the Moon was apparently gone.[1]

When Doctor Strange was on the brink of death, he was drawn (in his astral form) toward a realm of the afterlife. There he saw Brunnhilda, who had come to escort him into the hereafter. Strange, however, refused, and after considerable effort, returned to life in the mortal world. It’s unclear whether Brunnhilde herself was dead and appeared to Strange in her astral form, or whether she still lives in physical form. It’s clear, however, that she once more serves to escort the spirits of dead heroes into the hereafter.[2]

Brunnhilde was restored to life by Doctor Strange, now in the host body of a woman known as Sian Bowen. The other Defenders, Interloper, Andromeda, and Manslaughter were restored to life as well and they formed the Dragon Circle to battle the Dragon of the Moon. After the Dragon of the Moon was defeated, Brunnhilde returned to Asgard.[3] Brunnhilde was killed in battle just before Loki's destruction of Asgard.[4]

With the return of the Asgardians to Earth, Brunnhilde was next seen as a member of the Secret Avengers.[5] Writer Ed Brubaker confirmed that the Valkyrie on the team was indeed the original Brunnhilde.[6]

Valkyrie (Samantha Parrington)

Valkyrie
ValkyrieSamPar.jpg
Valkyrie (Samantha Parrington) by Carlos Pacheco
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Incredible Hulk volume II #142 (August, 1971)
Created by Roy Thomas
Herb Trimpe
In-story information
Alter ego Samantha Parrington
Team affiliations Lady Liberators
Defenders
Abilities
  • Super-strength and durability
  • Long lifespan
  • Centuries of combat experience
  • Can convey spirits of the dead
  • Can change from mortal form to Asgardian form.

Fictional character biography

On Earth, Pluto and Lorelei restored the Valkyrie's powers within Samantha Parrington.[volume & issue needed] Pluto tricked Lorelei though, erasing her memory, draining her powers, and turning her into a duplicate of Valkyrie. While Samantha was used by Pluto to turn Earth into a realm of the dead, Lorelei was found by the Defender Nighthawk, who believed she was the real Valkyrie and made her a Defender, though she never spoke. When the Defenders tried to stop Pluto, Lorelei battled Samantha and was restored to her former self. Samantha was freed from Pluto's control and she became part of the Defenders again as Valkyrie.[volume & issue needed] Much to Parrington's chagrin, her parents are proud of her and turned their mansion into the Defenders base.

After Civil War, Parrington is recruited as part of the Initiative and training at the Stamford, Connecticut facility amongst the other trainees.[volume & issue needed]

Powers and abilities

Samantha Parrington can change from her mortal form into a copy of Brunnhilde's with all the latter's powers and skills.

Weapons and equipment

Cover of Defenders #4. by John Buscema & Frank Giacoia.

Valkyrie carries two weapons of choice.

  • An enchanted sword named Dragonfang. An Oriental wizard named Kahji-Da was said to have carved the sword from a tooth of an extra-dimensional dragon. The sword eventually passed into the possession of the Ancient One, who in turn gave it to his disciple Doctor Strange. Strange awarded it to the Valkyrie after she had returned the Black Knight's Ebony Blade, which she had been using, to its rightful owner. The sword is virtually indestructible.
  • An unnamed iron spear (presumably magical).

Valkyrie rides a winged horse by the name of Aragorn. Aragorn was given to her by the current Black Knight.[7]

Other versions

Ultimate Valkyrie

Ultimate Valkyrie is a 19-year-old girl named Barbara Norriss who aspires to play the public role of superhero, despite, at first, having no actual powers or skills (she describes herself as a female Thor, only without the hammer, strength, or weather-powers). When Hank Pym was dismissed from the Ultimates, he decided to join the Defenders, a group of good hearted, but delusional, somewhat farcical individuals (basically hero wannabes with no real powers or sufficient fighting skills), which is where he met Barbara, who called herself "Thor-Girl", telling Pym during introductions that while she doesn't have any powers, she is extensively proficient in martial arts. This turned out to be a lie to impress Pym; she later confesses to him that she barely made it to an Orange Belt in karate and it took her several tries to pass the test. Almost obsessive in her own hero worship and aspirations, she and Hank had a brief affair mainly because he was a superhero, but their attractions were more based on lust than love. She also, at least in one instance, appeared to have a superhero fetish, asking Pym to dress up as Captain America (see Ultimate Version). It is not explained how or when they broke up, but they weren't seen together again after the invasion of America at the end of The Ultimates 2 series.

In Ultimate Saga, when Tony Stark is looking through S.H.I.E.L.D. files he sees a picture of the Defenders and Valkyrie. He says that he has to keep an eye on her for more than one reason.

Cover to Ultimates (v2) #6. Art by Bryan Hitch.

Valkyrie next appears in The Ultimates 3 #1, now apparently super-powered, riding a black Pegasus and wielding a large, supposedly mystical sword that she uses to cleave Venom nearly in two, but seems to have no idea where these powers or weapons came from. At that point, she has been in a romantic live-in relationship with Thor for weeks and despite cultural differences, they are very close and allude to being in love. Since her last appearance, she appears to have been granted super strength and limited invulnerability; other superhuman attributes and abilities remain unknown. She speaks with a distinct valley girl accent, and while she does not seems to be the most intelligent of her teammates, she makes up for it with her loyalty, especially to Thor, and her big heart, along with being very powerful. At several points, she makes references to having lived a quiet normal human life before becoming superhuman. However, she suggests she is more akin to Thor than it may seem, possibly meaning they may have some sort of shared Asgardian heritage. Her deepest fear is returning to the powerless, poor, and somewhat comically ordinary existence she had before. When confronted with this fear by the illusion-casting Mastermind, she is broken free of the illusion (just before her two captors decide to assault her sexually) by a shadowy figure who claims to be the source of her new powers; she then retaliates by killing Mastermind and dismembering his partner Pyro, taking both hands off at the wrists with her sword.[8]

Later, in Ultimatum, it is revealed that Valkyrie was killed and transported to Valhalla, the Asgardian afterlife for fallen warriors run by Hela, an Asgardian goddess, who is presented as above most other Asgardian gods in power and station. Thor learns of this and transports himself to Hela's dimension, demanding he let Valkyrie live again. Hela, then states that if he is able to overcome the challenge presented to him, he may bring Valkyrie back to the land of the living. In the middle of the ensuing battle, Thor finds that Captain America's soul is also there, having been killed in the real world as well. Thor and Capt. America win the challenge and Hela grants Thor's request, but with the catch that once a soul has entered Hela's realm, it cannot leave without being substituted, so Thor gives up his soul so that Valkyrie may live and Hela returns her to Earth, whole and unharmed (Capt. America is also given a reprieve on his soul and is returned to the land of the living, but how this worked with the "Soul Quota" stipulation is not addressed), while Thor's soul remains in the afterlife. Valkyrie, enraged and heart broken at the loss and sacrifice of her love, joins the battle once more and attacks Magneto while trying to receive Thor's hammer and severs his arm. Magneto then uses his powers to slit her throat. She is then briefly shown, still alive, until Magneto collapses the ceiling on her.[9] It is not known if she survived or not. Her fate is unknown until Ultimate Comics: New Ultimates where it is revealed she now wields Thor's hammer. However, she loses it in battle with the Defenders who now have superpowers due to Loki intervenence. She is killed in the battle whichs allows Thor to resurrect and face Loki. During the battle, Loki is suddenly killed by a spear thrown by Valkyrie. Although apparently alive again, she reveals that she is now a servant of Hela and departs with Loki's body but not before asking Thor to defend the Earth to which she once belonged.

In other media

Television

  • Valkyrie appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Mental Organism Designed Only for Kissing" voiced by Michelle Trachtenberg.[10] Thor falls in love with her when she helps Ms. Marvel, Thor, and Iron Man fight Abomination, Fin Fang Foom, and MODOK. When Iron Man tries to invite Valkyrie out to a "Ride of the Valkyries" performance, Valkyrie declines noting Iron Man's failure to gather the Infinity Sword Fractals.
  • Valkyrie appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "The Fall of Asgard." She, Sif, and the other Valkyries rescue Ant-Man and an unconscious Wasp from Ymir and the Frost Giants.

Film

  • The Brunnhilde version of Valkyrie appears in the Hulk vs. Thor segment of the Hulk Vs DVD. She and her Valkyrior troops defend Asgard from an attack by the Hulk, who had separated from Bruce Banner by Loki. She is immediately swatted aside by Hulk when she attacks him.
  • The Brunnhilde version of Valkyrie appears in Thor: Tales of Asgard voiced by Cathy Weseluck.

Video games

  • Valkyrie appears as an NPC in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Nika Futterman. She has special dialogue with Deadpool and expresses an attraction to him due to his connection with Death and his sense of humor. Deadpool does not share her feelings though due to a policy against dating people who could "strike him dead", but she just thought it was funny. She seems disgusted by Deadpool's friend Weasel who won't stop staring at her. Deadpool informs her that Weasel always reacts to attractive women that way, which is why he hasn't had a date since his cousin took him to the prom. In the game, there is an optional mission to find Valkyrie's sword Dragonfang somewhere in the god's graveyard near Bifrost Bridge. If the player finds her sword, Asgard will be easily freed with her aid, Loki will be imprisoned in chains, and Ragnarok never comes to pass. If the player doesn't find her sword, Valkyrie will die in the battle to prevent Ragnarok, Balder will die trying to save her, and the people of Asgard will be forbidden to contact Earth for a century. On a side note, she will recall Odin to Asgard to recover if he's freed from his dark magic confinement in Castle Doom.
  • Valkyrie is a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.

Notes

  • As stated above, Brunnhilde, the Valkyrie is based on the character of the same name in the Nibelungenlied. The story however had many incarnations; Richard Wagner's opera version of it (Der Ring des Nibelungen) shows a Brunnhilde the character's creators most likely have used for the conception of the Marvel persona (and, in fact, Marvel's free adaptation of Wagner's opera in Thor #296 features Marvel's Brunnhilde in that role, with Marvel's Thor as Siegmund).
  • When Thor went insane with warrior madness, his insanity manifested as a woman, also called the Valkyrie. This Valkyrie had no relation to the regular Valkyries and had a different appearance.

References

  1. ^ Defenders #152
  2. ^ "From Marvel Directory.com". Marveldirectory.com. http://www.marveldirectory.com/individuals/v/valkyrie.htm. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  3. ^ Doctor Strange Vol. 3 #3-4
  4. ^ Thor vol. 2 #82
  5. ^ "They Are Secret Avengers". Marvel.com. April 7, 2010. http://marvel.com/news/comicstories.11916.they_are_secret_avengers. Retrieved April 7, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Brubaker on CBR". Forums.comicbookresources.com. 2010-04-18. http://forums.comicbookresources.com/showpost.php?p=10988619&postcount=110. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  7. ^ Defenders #11
  8. ^ Ultimates 3 #5
  9. ^ Ultimatium #4
  10. ^ "Comics Continuum by Rob Allstetter: Saturday, March 7, 2009". Comicscontinuum.com. 2009-03-07. http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/0903/07/index.htm. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 

External links


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