Independent publisher Enemy Transmission may not be a name you’re altogether familiar with. But with three titles under their belt now, it may be one you start looking out for soon. Their urban fantasy-style title Valhalla Cindermane is now on its second issue and could soon be a book you’re hearing a lot more about.
First of all, it should be said that I’m a sucker for anything related to Norse mythology, meaning that this title had me from the word “Go”. The prospect of a Valkyrie running around New York city is just far too tempting. It’s a fun concept. Sort of Thor-esque, almost. It’s never really explained in the first issue but, somehow, Valhalla Cindermane (what a fun name) is a woman straight out of Norse mythology, adventuring in the streets of NYC with her trusty axe – and a kickass bike. Sweet concept; unfortunately, it still needs to find its footing a little.
This is only the first issue, so it’s really unfair to judge the whole series on this. However, it is a tad on the messy side. The plot is really tricky to work out on first reading and characters from other Enemy Transmission titles make appearances without much explanation. During what appears to be a drinking contest between Valhalla and some bikers, we have flashes of Perilous – a creature from an alien world – as he relates his final experiences on his home world to a doctor. As well as this, some cunning villain also appears to a group of gangster-like individuals, informing them that he shall be taking over their operations. To be honest, on first reading, these seemingly unrelated pots are rather confusing. The jumps between the new villain and Valhalla are particularly jarring when Valhalla gets caught up in a bar brawl. The fight is great fun and would be more fun if we weren’t suddenly introduced to a brand new character.
Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not trying to focus on the negative aspects of this book, but merely get them out of the way. As I’ve said, this is only the first issue of the series and it’s difficult not to make snap judgements That being said, I am looking forward to reading issue #2. Now, onto the positives of Valhalla Cindermane.
As previously mentioned, the Norse elements are great. Her axe is called Synstruck, which is wicked. Valhalla’s dialogue is all in a great olden-style as if she has walked straight out of a mythology textbook. And, it has to be said, this chick is hot. She drives a motorcycle, kicks butt, and can drink any man under the table. That’s my kind of woman. She’s strong and takes no nonsense. However, she’s also a little foolhardy and rash, which works, too, as it gives her a little more depth rather than just being a butt-kicking-Viking-woman. Overall, I like her and that’s half the work done with a new book. Your audience needs to be able to click with your title character. And click Valhalla does.
On top of that, if you see past the tricky plot points and give the book a second read, it actually has a nice sense of circularity to it and there’s a definite “Ah, I get it now!” point that can be appreciated on a greater level on a re-read. The characters still seem a little odd and unfamiliar, but you can see what the writer was going for. Hopefully, in a few issues time, writer Kuty will have ironed out all the little kinks and what we should have is a more professional and tidy Valhalla Cindermane.
Artist Axel Gimenez has a nice flair about his work that is very pleasing to the eye. There are some nice touches and I like the layout of the panels on some pages. However, it still needs a bit of a polish. In one of Perilous’ flashbacks, the layout is rather jarring and the reader can spend more time being confused by the dividing of panels to enjoy what’s in them. Once again, though, the character design of Valhalla is great and I’m sure Perilous will become more interesting, given time. (If any readers out there are particularly intrigued by Perilous, he has his own book entitled Call Me Perilous and ComicBooked.com will be reviewing that title soon as well!. As well as the actual comics, Gimenez has done some great work on the promotional posters seen on this page which can also be purchased on Enemy Transmission’s website. The pin-up image is great fun and Valhalla holding up letters of her own name is also pretty cool.
Overall, Valhalla Cindermane is an enjoyable first venture. Although not without flaws, it’s a good effort from independent publisher Enemy Transmission and I look forward to the next instalment in Valhalla’s saga.