Valkyrie was one of the best parts of Thor: Ragnarok. Tessa Thompson played the battle-scarred warrior like an Asgardian version of Han Solo, a down-on-her-luck fighter who tries using drinking and mercenary work to distract from her past trauma, before finally suiting up in all her armored glory to battle the villainous Hela. This portrayal is slightly out of step with how the character has usually been portrayed in Marvel comics, but these are superheroes, after all — there are plenty of parallel realities and multiverse shenanigans to go around. And so, Marvel has announced that a Thompson-inspired version of Valkyrie will soon be making her official comics debut in the publisher’s new Exiles series.
Written by Saladin Ahmed (Black Bolt) and illustrated by Javier Rodriguez, Exiles features a diverse team of superheroes assembled from across dimensions to save the multiverse from terrible threats. Led by the portal-opening mutant Blink (currently portrayed by Jaime Chung on The Gifted), the team boasts an eclectic lineup. There’s Khan, an alternate version of Ms. Marvel from a dark future; Iron Lad, a younger version of the time-traveling Kang the Conqueror first introduced in Young Avengers; and even a cute cartoonish version of Wolverine, from the X-Babies (think the Muppet Babies, but with adamantium claws). Valkyrie is the fifth and final piece of the puzzle.
“Valkyrie’s a character who’s always appealed to me. Her iconic warrior-woman look — spear! sword! flying horse! — but also the juxtaposition of a kickass ancient fantasy hero operating in contemporary New York City. She’s a classic Marvel heroine,” Ahmed said in a statement. “But the Exiles version of Valkyrie is a bit different from what we’ve seen in comics thus far. Our Valkyrie is known as the Lone Defender of Asgard, and she’s a tankard-draining, maiden-wooing, giant-slaying thunderbolt of a woman. Though she’s not technically from the Marvel Cinematic Universe reality, she’s basically the literalization of the larger-than-her-physical-frame swagger that Tessa Thompson displayed in Thor: Ragnarok, turned up to 11.”
If Ahmed’s quote is any indication, it sounds like this version of Valkyrie will indeed be queer, just as Thompson has insisted.
The first issue of Exiles hits stores April 11. Check out some concept art below.