July 17, 2010

Ye Olde School Cafe’: Balder The Brave pt 1

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Written by: Billy
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Welcome back to another great story from back in the day with Ye Olde School Cafe’! For the next two weeks, we’ll be taking an in depth look at a mini-series I just came upon recently, called Balder The Brave. The story was introduced in 1985 by Walter Simonson, and illustrated by Sal Buscema.

So, to set the scene, we have Balder, one of Asgard’s finest warriors, shacked up with one of the deadliest enemies of the Realm Eternal, Karnilla. She’s turned over a new leaf, or at least Balder thinks so, but they are living together and seem to be enjoying life in her domain. As all seems well, one of Karnilla’s lackeys sees one of Balder’s friends heading for Karnilla’s castle to bring news of the disappearance of Odin. Before Agnar can reach Balder, he’s kidnapped by Karnilla’s gargoyles. You see, Karnilla is so intent on keeping her beloved Balder with her, that she’ll do anything to keep him. Karnilla not only kidnaps Angar, but she also puts a spell on him while he’s in her dungeon to keep him from even speaking clearly. The reason behind this is because of Balder’s ability to speak with animals. On a daily basis, he convenes with birds of all kinds, but especially eagles.

One day, Agnar is in his cell and making friends with some of the animals in the dungeon. He tells the animals about Karnilla’s treachery and his need to speak with Balder. The animals then in turn tell Balder, who confronts his woman. She tells Balder that she didn’t tell him out of love, but Balder tells her that he must leave to help find Odin out of duty. Karnilla is saddened, but Balder tells her that he will return. Karnilla knows that the chances of Balder and Thor making it to Hel and back are slim, and she thinks he’ll never return. Balder and Agnar spend the next few days preparing for battle, but then the time comes to head for Asgard. Karnilla won’t even wish Balder good luck, and then turns one of her own guards into toast for acting out against Balder.

After a few weeks have passed, Karnilla is getting worried about Balder’s return. All of a sudden, Karnilla sees a horseman riding towards her castle. It’s Balder, and Karnilla greets him with a kiss. She soon realizes, though, that it’s not Balder, but one of the Frost Giants’ magical spells. The Frost Giants unleash an unrelenting attack on Karnilla’s kingdom. The ruthless king of the Frost Giants, Utgard-Loki, tells the servants of Karnilla that they will be turned to stone, and then makes good on his promise. Next, the Frost Giants start to pillage the castle and end up finding a real treasure. In Karnilla’s secret chambers, Utgard-Loki finds the Sword of Frey and is pleased at his destruction this day. The Frost Giants then take Karnilla as their prisoner and head back to their homeland of Jotunheim.

Once back in the castle of King Utgard-Loki, Karnilla hears how upon hearing the news of Odin’s disappearance, Utgard-Loki made plans to take control of hated Asgard by striking at all of the kingdoms around their domain. Soon after, Balder and Agnar make their way back to Karnilla’s castle. Once there, Balder and Agnar find the evidence of the Frost Giants’ assault on Karnilla’s castle. The two warriors head towards the land of giants, the entire time following the mighty eagle that has guided Balder for years. Agnar doesn’t believe the eagle has any abilities that will help, but Balder tells him that this eagle is special and can see things that man cannot. After riding for a while, they come upon a gorge. The eagle tells them to ride on, but Agnar is cautious. Balder on the other hand, rides straight into the gorge and disappears. Agnar stays on the path, but it soon crumbles underneath Agnar’s steed. Balder is there to help Agnar from falling off the ledge. Balder tells Agnar that the Frost Giants use magic and trickery to keep people from finding their home.

As Balder and Agnar keep pushing forward, we see the Frost Giants making fun of Karnilla. They taunt her, and then Utgard-Loki turns her into a bird and puts her in a cage. Suddenly, Utgard-Loki realizes someone is in his kingdom that doesn’t belong there. Balder has an ability to give off radiant light, and Jotunheim is a very dark and icy place, so he can be seen for miles. As Balder and Agnar are taking a break, we see one of Karnilla’s gargoyles approach and offer to show the two men a secret passage inside the castle. Balder tells Aganr to wait outside, because it may be a trap. Balder follows the gargoyle inside, and then Agnar falls asleep. Soon, Agnar is awakened by Balder, who has returned. Agnar soon realizes that this person is not his friend. The two end up fighting, and Agnar kills the imposter and runs inside to find Balder. Once inside, he finds a corpse that appears to be his friend Balder the Brave!

That’s it for this week, but come back next week for the conclusion of this Asgardian tale of myth and magic!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Mulder and Comic Attack, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: Ye Olde School Cafe: Balder the Brave pt 1! #comics #marvel #thor […]

  2. Why haven’t there been more stories about the other Asgardians? I know Thor is the main man but I do think that a lot unexplored territory is just waiting to be told with the other characters.

  3. Billy

    @Speech- Well, there is a Valkyrie one-shot coming out in September. 😀

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