Balder the Brave #1
Issue(s): Balder the Brave #1
With a cover and full page ad drawn by Simonson, i hope people weren't too disappointed to find Sal Buscema on interior art. Like with Thor #355, Buscema is going a good job of mimicking Simonson's style while still giving us Sal Buscema style goblins and the like, and the art isn't bad at all.
Balder was teleported off of Midgard* by Karnilla at the end of the Ancient Winters war, and he's been spending time with her since then. He's therefore unaware that Odin fell to his possible death fighting Surtur.
Thor has sent Agnar to Karnilla to summon Balder back to help in his quest to Hel. Karnilla selfishly imprisons him to prevent Balder from leaving. But all creatures are Balder's friend...
..so some bats inform him of Karnilla's treachery.
Balder is amazingly forgiving of Karnilla's ways. He seems to truly love her.
(I love that Buscema pans out to a Mark Trail-esque shot of a small dragon hunting a snake during all that talking.)
So even after Agnar tells him of Asgard's troubles, he has a rather unique way of expressing his disapproval.
And he doesn't head back to Asgard directly. He stays and trains with Agnar, getting himself back into fighting shape for the first time since Simonson's run began.
The issue begins with a prologue about the magic sword of Frey. Karnilla almost gives Balder the sword as he leaves to return to Asgard, but events and words prevent it.
The story is a fairly unique spin on a love story, with Karnilla pretty much written as a straight-up super-villain while Balder is eternally understanding and yet the relationship is intriguing.
Maybe more fairy tale-like than realistic romance, but that's part of its charm. And of course the story will continue here after Balder gets back from Hel.
By the way, there were apparently two other Agnars that have appeared in Tales of Asgard back-ups, but i'm treating this one as the main one and so i'm not giving him a III designation.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place between pages 4 and 15 of Thor #360. Balder's training seems to take about a month: as Balder's training is wrapping up, a narration panel says "as the month wanes".
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This was originally announced as "Balder and Karnilla".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 14, 2013 4:18 PM
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