EVE: Valkyrie HC
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Eduardo Francisco
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Cover: Borkur Eiriksson
In the distant future, as people have spread throughout the cosmos, a band of pirates known as the Valkyries fight to maintain their freedom in a galaxy dominated by military might. Rán Agole, leader of the Valkyries is a pilot with no equal. Backed by cloning technology known as Rebirth, she and her Valkyries fight their battles with abandon, knowing that should they die and battle they will live again. However, Rebirth may have a consequence that no one can see coming and Rán is about to fight for her final life.
EVE Valkyrie is a tie-in story to the upcoming virtual reality multiplayer dogfighting shooter of the same name. Brian Wood tells the fateful tale of Rán Agole, a girl who grew up with privilege but had it ripped away from her, vowing vengeance on the system that destroyed her family and ultimately found herself becoming the most skilled pilot in space. While Wood nicely lays out the trials of Rán, he doesn’t do anything original in telling her story. Anyone who’s read the original Dune may recognize some strong similarities between the stories of Rán and Paul Atreides.
What makes this story interesting is the concept of Rebirth. I think that Woods use of Rebirth in this story actually plays really well to the fact that Valkyrie is based on a video game, essentially making the ability to “respawn” a central idea in the story and the protection/destruction of that ability the driving force for the characters within this world. Immortality and cloning have been a part of storytelling for a long time but rarely do we get a glimpse into the minds of the people who have it. Wood gives us that and more as we watch Rán and the Valkyries revel in it and abuse it until it nearly destroys them.
Eduardo Francisco and Michael Atiyeh’s artwork on EVE: Valkyrie is a huge part of its strength. Francisco’s cinematic art style lends itself well to this sci fi setting. The flashback scenes where Rán is walking through the underbelly of Gallente Prime could easily double as concept art for Bladerunner and are dripping with atmosphere. The dogfights in space are beautifully drawn and had me a bit disappointed that the final battle didn’t get a full page splash panel. However, while the environments and battles look amazing, I have to say that Rán herself doesn’t get as much love. Rán goes through a host of situations throughout the course of the story but while her body looks nicely drawn in nearly every panel, it’s hard to gauge her emotions sometimes. There are only a few instances where you get to see anything that looks like emotion cross her face as Francisco too often relies on the thought bubbles to convey what she and others are feeling.
All in all, I really enjoyed EVE: Valkyrie. Though I spent a lot of the story thinking about how cool the Rebirth technology was, Wood gave me a few things to think about when it came to the consequences of having something like that in real life. The twist at the end left me with even more questions that I’d never given a thought to during the entire story. What would you do if you knew that you couldn’t die? What would you do if someone tried to take that away from you?