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Marvel's new Valkyrie is a character you've met before

There's a new Valkyrie in the pages of Marvel comics — and her face is a familiar one.

The House of Ideas has confirmed that none other than Jane Foster will return from her apparent death to take on the mantle in her own series, Jane Foster: Valkyrie. The first issue is slated for publication in July. (via EpicStream)

The move comes in the aftermath of the massive Marvel crossover event War of the Realms, which saw the Dark Elf Malekith the Accursed mounting a conquest of all ten realms. With only Midgard — better known to us common Earthlings as, well, Earth — left standing, a massive roster of Marvel's heroes assembled to combat the threat. The Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Defenders all answered the call, among many others — including, of course, Thor and Loki, who were key to thwarting Malekith's plot. The well-received event featured such standout moments as Wolverine coming to the rescue of the Punisher, Ghost Rider teaming up with Doctor Strange, the Warriors Three battling fire demons alongside Hawkeye and Shang-Chi, and Daredevil briefly attaining godlike power.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Mighty Marvel crossover without a few casualties, and War of the Realms was no exception. Among the most notable: Brunnhilde the Valkyrie, who in issue #2 of the main series was decapitated by Malekith himself. With the valiant warrior gone, the door was open for a new Valkyrie to emerge, and Foster should fit the bill nicely.

The character has a long history in the comics, having first appeared in Journey into Mystery #84 in 1962 — before Thor even had his own solo title. Although she primarily served as a love interest for the God of Thunder for much of her publication history, the character has become much more prominent in Marvel lore in recent years. Following her portrayal onscreen by Natalie Portman in 2011's Thor and 2013's Thor: The Dark World, Marvel decided that it was time for her to take the spotlight — and in 2014, she did just that, in dramatic fashion.

In a storyline in Thor's solo book that year, Foster was diagnosed with breast cancer at around the same time that Thor lost the ability to wield Mjolnir during a battle with Nick Fury. The mighty weapon, abandoned on the Moon, telepathically called out to Foster — who, with the aid of Heimdall, retrieved it and became the first woman to harness the power of Thor. 

Foster held down the mantle for a number of years, but unfortunately, each transformation into Thor resulted in her cancer progressing at an accelerated rate. She eventually succumbed to the disease after a brutal battle with Mangog, the physical manifestation of the collective hatred of a race which was slaughtered by the armies of Asgard in centuries past — but she was revived by Odin in recognition of her valiant efforts against the forces of evil. She then convinced Thor to reclaim his title, focusing her energies on battling the disease which yet still threatened her life.

Given her experience wielding the power of Asgard's mightiest warrior, Foster is a brilliant choice to take on the mantle of Valkyrie. Her new book will also sport an amazing pedigree; Thor writer Jason Aaron will share scripting duties with Al Ewing, who has worked on such titles as Avengers: No Road Home, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Immortal Hulk. Illustrating the series will be the excellent artist Carlos Alberto Fernandez Urbano, known to fans as CAFU, who has made his mark on an astounding variety of characters — including such icons as Superman, Green Lantern, the X-Men, and the Teen Titans — for Marvel, DC, and Valiant.

Marvel's publication arm seems to increasingly be taking its cues from the outrageously successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, a trend illustrated (no pun intended) by this latest move. It's safe to say that Jane Foster's name recognition — along with that of the rest of the God of Thunder's ancillary characters — skyrocketed thanks to her inclusion in the MCU, and the Valkyries themselves weren't exactly household names until Tessa Thompson's portrayal of the last surviving member of Asgard's elite all-female fighting force in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok.

But among comics fans, Foster has picked up a sizable fan base thanks to her time holding down the mantle of Thor, and those fans should be thrilled to see her back in action — especially with such a talented team at the controls. We'll see just how hard Mighty Marvel hits the sweet spot when the first issue of Jane Foster: Valkyrie hits stands next month.