After causing a riot in a bar, Valhalla Cindermane’s troubles break out onto the street. Perilous attempts to save his doctor friend and an identity thief runs amok.
When reviewing Valhalla Cindermane issue #1, I really tried to give it the benefit of the doubt. In fact, I think I read it about three times in order to put together as fair a judgement as I could. But issue #2 was a bit of a struggle.
Starting with the positives, the art is pretty appealing. There are some really nice panels of Valhalla Cindermane rocking her thing, awe-wielding and all. I may have said this in the previous review, but there is a really nice look to Valhalla. She’s got the whole strong-and-sexy thing going on and it’s rather cool. In fact, any pages with Valhalla Cindermane taking up the most space are the best ones. The artist, Axel Gimenez, has clearly worked hard at perfecting her overall character design and she really steals the spotlight whenever she appears.
On top of that, there’s a nice flashback about Valhalla Cindermane back when she was a Valkyrie in olden times. There are some gorgeous shots of Valhalla in full-Norse mode and these were the real highlight of this issue. In this flashback, we meet Tannhauser. Tannhauser is a human warrior who actually sees Valhalla while she’s out on the battlefield, collecting the dead to take off to the other world. Shock shock horror horror. Of course, they fall in love – but they cannot be together! After the killing of a monster and going on the run for a while, the pair are separated. This is what Valhalla Cindermane’s real quest is throughout the series: finding Tannhauser. However in issue #2, as Valhalla becomes weaker she begins to hallucinate, seeing Tannhauser in every face before eventually breaking down. Overall, the Norse flashbacks are great fun and worth checking the comic out for.
Although this second chapter is certainly not without its flaws, the biggest one is the dialogue. While most of the characters can meander through the book with some kind of sense, Valhalla’s dialogue is really tricky at times. There is an attempt to recreate a Viking style of speaking, but it often just alienates the reader and comes across as clumsy. A perfect example is when Valhalla takes on a man who crashed into a car and killed the driver. When pulling him out of the car (and subsequently smashing him off the window a few times), she shouts: “People have found God at the bottom of an empty shot glass. Unfortunately for us both, there are no shot glasses here to empty… I’m not God, but I’ll do in a pinch. An angry god, shoving vengeance down the throats of those who step on the weak.” Oh dear.
The plot for this issue is a bit all over the place, too. While the flashback is fun and looks magic, it doesn’t really fit in where it occurs in the plot. Hopefully, the story and dialogue will be a little tidier in issue #3. I really do want to give Valhalla Cindermane another chance. Issue #1 was pretty fun but #2 just left me a bit muddled. Fingers crossed things pick up in the next installment.