Warning: SPOILERS for Valkyrie: Jane Foster #2
There have been too many Marvel characters whose time was cut short by Marvel's Avengers movies, but the sudden death of Heimdall was seen as a bigger missed opportunity than most. Fortunately for fans, Heimdall's death in Marvel Comics is absolutely breathtaking... and his best story is only getting started.
Fans of Infinity War won't find any bitterness here, since Idris Elba's Heimdall was likely never fated for a larger role--and after Thor: Ragnarok, certainly not one as proud or poetic as the comics. The same goes for his final moments, too. When Heimdall is impaled in the latest pages of Marvel Comics, the new Valkyrie Jane Foster is at his side. Embracing her new role as the warrior chosen to carry Asgardian dead into Valhalla, Heimdall is given the death he truly deserves. And it's a scene no Thor fan is likely to ever forget.
The lore surrounding the death of Heimdall may seem complicated, but fans won't need to read all of Marvel's War of The Realms to understand it (although they might want to, after seeing this storyline). With Jane Foster having served as Thor already, and with the Valkyrie wiped out in battle, there is only one solution: Jane Foster becomes the new Valkyrie. There's just one problem: the enchanted sword of Brunnhilde, leader of the Valkyrie is missing... or it was, until Bullseye plunged it straight through Heimdall's heart.
It's a tragic scene, made only more heartbreaking by the fact that Heimdall was on Earth strictly to help Jane find the lost sword, Dragonfang. But his death demonstrates why it must be recovered: it turns anyone who wields it into a mighty warrior, obeying their will in fashion similar to Mjolnir, and even calls a winged horse to its rider, as well. It's all the powers and status one would expect of a member of the Valkyrie... and in the hands of a killer like Bullseye, it could turn all the world into one massive bloodbath. Heimdall manages to save Jane from Bullseye's finishing swipe, but is run through yet again before finally falling to certain death.
The battle between Jane and Bullseye is brief, since it's her internal struggle that truly drives the story. After saving Heimdall from death for a few moments more, Jane accepts that her friend and Valkyrie Brunnhilde is gone... and shatters Dragonfang into pieces (dealing with Bullseye just as decisively afterward). Which allows her to be where she belongs: at her friend Heimdall's side.
The powers of the Valkyrie tell her that his death is certain, finally showing her the true burden of the Valkyrie (to be Asgard's most fearsome fighters, but only perform their duty when good warriors have been lost). Still, Jane is able to hear his final words--and his final, perfect request. For anyone who has forgotten, it is Heimdall's gift and responsibility to be blessed with sight, able to see into souls, universes, and even the afterlife itself. Now that his life has come to an end, with his eternal days in Valhalla guaranteed, he makes a different request:
There is a boon I would ask, my lady. You are last of the old, first of the new--perhaps the only Valkyrie who could grant it. I beg of you, Lady Jane. My time in life is done... but do not take me to Valhalla... I have seen Valhalla, and Hel. And all the wheres a god might go after death. I have seen... to the end of forever. Now I would see what I have never seen, my lady. What lies beyond. Can you show me?
Since the Marvel films stay true to Heimdall's ability to see through all of space and creation, every Thor fan can appreciate the poetry behind Heimdall's last request. Compared to his final moment serving the Avengers' in Infinity War, there's no question which death gives Heimdall the most honorable treatment. But the final moment rises to heights all its own, as Jane commands Heimdall to stand. And for the first time, the watchman of Asgard fails to see. Only when Jane speaks as Valkyrie, protector of the dead, does he finally understand...
The image ends the issue, as it should: Heimdall's spirit rising from his body, finally following in the footsteps of the dead he has watched come and go. And for the first time, agreeing to follow Jane into realms, planes, and afterlives he has never before glimpsed. A "journey into mystery," as Jane states in tribute to the very first appearance of Thor in Marvel's Universe. Frankly, it's the kind of moment that Thor fans have come to expect from writers Jason Aaron and Al Ewing, with artist Cafu and colorist Jesus Aburtov rendering the moment of Heimdall's passing in glorious detail. And his story ain't over yet.
The synopsis for Valkyrie: Jane Foster #3 promises that journey into the unknown, teasing that "Valhalla is only one hall of the dead. The multiversal afterlife awaits." The fact that even seasoned Marvel fans can't say what the 'multiversal afterlife' even means, it's clear this tale will continue to be as powerful, no matter where Heimdall chooses to spend eternity. As far as we're concerned, that's more than enough to make up for his exit from Marvel's movie universe.But if readers want to take this journey along with Heimdall and Jane, head to your local comic book shop to pick up Issue #2 today:
- Valkyrie: Jane Foster #2
- Written by: Jason Aaron, Al Ewing
- Art by: Cafu
- Cover by: Mahmud A. Asrar
- INTRODUCING THE GOD OF THE KILL – BULLSEYE! The deadliest shot in the Marvel Universe just got his hands on the sword of a god! With the Asgardian weapon Dragonfang, Bullseye has the power to kill a god in a single stroke — and he’s about to prove it. Jane Foster, the newly christened Valkyrie, must learn a hard lesson: Not every death can be prevented. Who is next on Bullseye’s list — and what is the assassin really after?
Valkyrie: Jane Foster #2 is available now from your local comic book shop, or direct from Marvel Comics.