Monday, September 21, 2009

A taste of Valkyrie Maid and Sun Strike

Issue one
Essentially, the Reaves family is moving in to their new home in Forest Rivers. Sun Strike, in his everyday identity as Clay Reaves kinda takes the focus in the first half of the story. He has been through things, after being kidnapped to become champion of Luxitica, which to this day he can still barely convince himself happened. Both Clay and Frida Reaves flashback to their careers and how they came together (though in that case, we start with some hints). She happens to be the one who can drive; she’s on her way over in the moving truck, daydreaming of clearing the way as Valkyrie Maiden and hefting the truck there herself!

After several memories and his moving efforts take their toll, Clay decides to go for a run in the neighborhood. This leads to a handy, out-of-sight demonstration of his agility, and also the beginning of his super-human displays driving one of the local dogs bonkers. However, while passing through the woods he feels as though he’s being observed, and decides to tone it down, feeling a bit uneasy---too bad, considering the run otherwise helped! Unfortunately, he gets back just in time to see Frida pulling in, a bit unhappy to find so much still a mess (including the driveway!). He gets it out of her that this situation irritates her, and doesn’t let her just be nice about it, provoking her to snap at him, and he snaps back in a desperate effort to feel better. They apologize, and just as they’re ready to make up for the busy, busy past week or so...

I believe they have a rather hefty Asgardian “relative” come by to visit (he’s sure to become human later and get in shape! But he’s immortal now, so what does he care, with Valhalla’s great table of feasts!) Frida excuses herself a minute to see her neighbor, her new friend who greeted her along with her husband when the Reaves first found the new place. The lady’s husband, home from the war, is very sick. The exhausted woman sits down for a few minutes, while Frida stands over her ill neighbor.

Towards dark, Frida’s mother Nancy comes by with their twins, who she leaves with Clay. We learn Frida’s Valkyrie powers were her sacrifice so that she might become a mother and give to her children in return a spell that will protect them in times of danger. We have a skulker, too, just to keep things lively. His presence may well be the catalyst to Frida’s powers returning; they are tied into a need about which she does not yet fathom. When they manifest, while standing at her sick veteran neighbor’s bedside, she imagines they are an omen to some threat. However, it turns out that she has to be there for one of her new neighbors as a valkyrie; he is a soldier who must go to his reward. It seems like she would need to have some prior relationship to be welcomed into the presence of a dying person; perhaps no one realizes death is quite at hand, but she will be there for him.

Now, at that moment back at her house, while Clay is fixing something for the kids, they, uh...vanish. And in their place sit three vikings, though in variant dress.
Without a doubt, here’s where we to get to meet the Trips through him; the twins are with him when Frida changes, and they are exchanged for the Triplets, who he questions as Sun Strike, since they appear when his kids DIS-appear! The trips have their own questions. Essentially, they each have a power: Elda is strong in levitation, Zero is good at super-calculation, and Analogy is the resident telepath. They have been summoned before by nefarious personages who wanted to use them much as they themselves use their elementals in Hazel’s Mystic Garden, which is where they were before arriving in place of the twins, and where they believe they belong. (We briefly see the twins playing in the Garden, with its child-like atmosphere.)

Over at her neighbor’s, we get the psychaedelic sequence where Valkyrie Maid takes the guy on to the after world, while her hubbie tries not to destroy the house battling the Triplets. They come to realize: they recognize him, though they were in robotic tele-presence units they used for time travelling. They identify themselves, but he explains, not only do they not look the same, but furthermore, after expending much energy to help them, he was attacked and wounded near death by what he thought at the time by “a bad hallucination after my life was turned into a bad hallucination!” Sun Strike doesn’t like to lose or even feel like he might lose; “you might even say I’m a sore loser!” They manage to fight back by using their team work and training to give all three of them access to one another’s powers; as soon as they get distance between themselves and Sun Strike, they take the chance to mystically discern what has happened to bring them here. About this time, Valkyrie Maid’s task is complete, and she changes back to normal (bringing the twins back to Clay, to his great relief). She thinks on how the Valkyries often wondered about the men who they took to Valhalla; heroes were a fascination to some, perhaps a chore to others, but their spiritual custodianship was the valkyrie duty. Duty is something she understands...but she also understands living for herself. Her choice to give her life to her husband and children gives her something no valkyrie in Asgard knows.

Clay joins her in her identity as Frida, when she must comfort her neighbor, who she only first met when the Reaves looked at the house where they are moving in. She sees how her life as Frida involves being there for the living, who require a very different sense of duty: the consolation of remaining on this world. All of this puts things into perspective for Clay, who had not been in the greatest mood on this busy day (mundane life, as he might think of it, is a very taxing adjustment for those who have lived in other ways). “I was believing I’d gotten nowhere and needed a fresh start,” he thinks, “but my life isn’t just cursed by’s blessed with magic, too. Kinda corny? But it’ll do in THE END.”

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