Thor is determined to lead the Valkyrie soldiers of Marvel's Valhalla - even if it kills him. Well, it actually already did kill him. We think. Technically.
No surprise to comic or movie fans, it's his brother Loki who plunges the dagger into Thor’s chest to send him into the afterlife waiting for all Asgardian warriors. But the real twist is that this time around, Loki kills Thor because he begs him to, as the only way to save the Nine Realms. Because if anyone can stop the villain setting fire to the World Tree, it's the Valkyrie of Valhalla.
Ans every Thor fan knows… there's only one way for a Norse warrior to get to Valhalla.
It's one area where the Marvel films casting Thor and the Asgardians as “god-like… to humans” has confused the real mythology, specifically that the Norse mythology surrounding Asgard and Valhalla is based on fact (in Marvel's Universe, anyway). The Valkyrie are the greatest soldiers of all time, but it's their honor to oversee the warriors who are killed in combat. But with Surtur’s daughter fast approaching in Thor #3, the god of thunder is only interested in the Valkyrie’s fighting skills. Too bad nobody can actually find Valhalla to seek their assistance.
Other than the dead… which is where Loki finally comes in handy.
It's a moment begging to be recreated in the MCU, especially now that the concept of the Valkyrie has been introduced in Thor: Ragnarok. As Thor and Loki watch as their brother Balder marries Hela to forge an alliance with the dead, the Odinson knows it won't be enough to stop the armies of Sindr, daughter of Surtur. The armies of the dead loyal to Balder and Hela are large, but they were not all warriors in life. That alone gives the villains the edge... and only the Valkyrie pack the punch needed to give the heroes a chance.
So as Loki stands over his brother's corpse trying to convince everyone that this really was what he asked for, Thor arrives at the gates of Valhalla to seek his backup. Longtime fans of the Asgardian corner of the Marvel Universe will be pleased to see Brunnhilde, the original heroine "Valkyrie" answer the knock at the door, and give Thor the once over.
Even though Brunnhilde can sense Loki's brand of deception and trickery all over the god of thunder's "death," she answers Thor's call like any good hero would. And following Thor's specially crafted Hammer back out of this spiritual plain - with her sisters in tow - Thor and the Valkyrie enter the fight.
The ensuing battle doesn't decide the war, but it confirms Thor was right to seek aid when he did. Sindr crashes the party with her fire goblins in full power, and only the combined might of Thor, Loki, Balder, Thori, Karnilla, and the Valkyrie manage to drive Surtur's daughter back. The good news? The Valkyrie seem to be sticking around to help defend the realms from this enemy, before they return home.
It seems that the main Thor series will be taking a trip into the past and future in the coming issues, before this War of the Realms returns to the spotlight. But it's just another sign that the heroes of Asgard are rising to the forefront of Marvel's Universe. Case in point: Thor's sister leading the Asgardians of the Galaxy in their own new comic.
Thor #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.