Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson, VC’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: May 15th, 2019
Lady Freyja becomes a Star, the Avengers search for help across the Realms, and an epic throw down this reviewer didn’t see coming all in this action-packed issue of WAR OF THE REALMS #4 by Jason Aaron. Let’s bust into this one!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Jason Aaron opens the issue with the Punisher exiting the Black Bifrost and tracking down some of the remaining Light Elves to help Lady Freyja and join in the War of the Realms. Meanwhile, readers jump to Svartalfheim where Lady Freyja is the keeper of the Bitterblade. She can see the death and destruction the Dark Elves are handing out throughout all the Realms. Freyja’s holding the Black Bifrost open for She-Hulk to leave with her team but Jennifer Walters refuses to leave. So, Freyja sends She-Hulk on her way leaving the God-Queen to fend off thousands of Dark Elves alone.
Aaron continues the story with She-Hulk in Nidavellir to recruit the Dwarves, Blade in Vanaheim to recruit the Vanir Gods, and Ghost Rider in Nifflheim to recruit Giant Spiders to help aid in the war. However, while this is happening, Captain America’s crew is in Jotunheim (home of the Frost Giants) trying to escape with a bruised and beaten Thor. Each Avengers team makes it back to Avengers Mountain by means of the Black Bifrost and Shuri turns the dead Celestial-mountain up to Level 3 and blasts the Frost Giants surrounding the mountain to Kingdom Come!!
At that moment, Aaron jumps to Malekith at Stonehenge with the Venom symbiote tied up and awaiting his plan. Meanwhile, back at Avengers Mountain, Tony, Shuri, and Screwbeard made something extra special for Odin to help in the fight against Malekith and his Dark Army. Despite the teams gathering troops for the final battle, Malekith managed to find his way back to Svartalfheim and took a Sword, which appeared to be the Venom symbiote and drives it through Lady Freyja before she could destroy the Black Bifrost.
Just as it appeared Lady Freyja was done for, the Iron All-Father (Odin in armor made from vibranium and Dwarf metal, Stark Tech, and Dwarf ingenuity) emerged from the Black Bifrost ready to stomp out Malekith’s minions and escape with his wife. However, only part of their plan succeeds and the Black Bifrost is destroyed trapping Odin and Freyja in Svartalfheim. The good news is that no more troops can travel to or from Midgard. However, it’s now up to Thor to lead the Avengers against the forces that remain on Midgard. Readers will have to wait until next issue to see if Odin and Freyja survived or not. Here’s to hoping they survived because this reviewer wants more of that battle. But, we shall see!
This reviewer LOVED the opening pages of the issue. Russell Dauterman’s Punisher looks thick and rugged with arms larger than tree trunks. Frank simply exits the Black Bifrost and stands toe to toe with Elves from another realm, guns in his face, and doesn’t flinch even one inch. Dauterman needs to draw more Punisher in the future. Throughout this issue, Dauterman made Frank look even more bad$&@& than he already was AND it’s this reviewers opinion that it very well might be the best look of the Punisher I have ever seen.
In addition, Dauterman’s art continues to shine on the next pages as he shows the intricate detail of the shards of Rainbow bridge scattered across the entire page, which probably took him HOURS to draw with that much elaborate esteem. Plus, Matthew Wilson’s colors brighten up this page and bring the entire issue to life! Furthermore, this reviewer loves that Dauterman’s Blade looks like a young Wesley Snipes. That’s just cool! Overall, the art kills it throughout the entire issue and completely elevates the series to another level.
THE LADY OF THE ISSUE
The standout star of the issue was Lady Freyja by far. With the Bittersword in hand and command of the Black Bifrost, the God of Thunder’s mama crushed thousands of Dark Elves and withstood Malekith’s forces longer than “The God Without Fear” could manage. She was able to single-handedly dismember Dark Elf after Dark Elf until the Iron All-Father made his epic introduction, which was just tremendously enjoyable and extremely entertaining.
My only wish is that readers got more action with the Mr. and Mrs. God’s of Thunder and Lightening! If only if only… However, Aaron did give us the best line of the entire issue, which was by none other than the star, Lady Freyja. During the legendary entrance of the Iron All-Father, Freyja says “for thousands of years we’ve been married and you wait until now to finally do it…turn me on you stupid bastard!” Come on readers, that’s comedic gold AND happened at the exact moment when it became apparent the tide of the war was truly slipping away. BOOM! I AM IRON ALL-FATHER! Loved it!
This reviewers biggest problem was how Aaron just seemed to brush over Thor being enraged and trapped in Jotunheim. A large part of WAR OF THE REALMS #3 was centered around getting Thor back. This issue seems to show one panel related to Cap’s team leaving with a bruised and beaten Thor. How did they calm him down? Where is the story of how he took down hundreds, if not thousands, of Frost Giants? As a huge fan of Thor, and someone who has read Aaron’s entire run, this was something I wanted to see and was hoping where issue 4 would start. However, with this left out, it helped with the pacing of the issue and moved the story forward quickly. Maybe Aaron is using the next Thor issue for that? I really hope so…
In addition, this reviewer wants more of the battle in Svartalfheim. I feel Aaron barely touches on this epic battle. To me, this would be the highlight of the issue. Lady Freyja with the Bittersword in hand fighting side by side with her husband Odin inside the Iron Armor of the All-Father forged from Stark, Wakandan, and Dwarf tech/ engineering. That battle would have been legendary and should have been one of the two main focuses of the issue. Instead, the focus was on stopping the troops from continuing to come to Midgard, which was done well. However, this fan wishes that part was skimmed over while Thor and the battle at Svartalfheim were more at the forefront of the issue. But again, maybe these will appear in THOR or the tie ins?
Aaron is setting up his story nicely, the story feels important, the characters are written well, and Aaron plays by his own rules lined up throughout the series. The progression of each issue is fast-paced while tying up most loose plot threads along the way and fans will never be bored with the continuous action from one page to another. Aaron is even relating other elements of his current Avengers run, like using the powers of the Celestial to destroy all surrounding Frost Giants, connecting Donny Cates Knull Story in VENOM with his own, and finding ways for the different Avengers to get home by means of the Black Bifrost he’s created in THOR, as well as so much more.
Jason Aaron is a masterful storyteller that once again proves the stage isn’t too big for him to handle a full scale, company-wide event crossing years of his THOR run. Dauterman’s art is vigorous, spirited, powerful and shows depth within each scene. This issue is a must read moving forward in the series, as well as the characters of Venom, Thor, and the Avengers. If the issue focused more on the battle at Svartalfheim, this reviewer probably would have given the issue a 9 or higher. That said, it was still a fantastic read!