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Hammers, Valkyries, Heroes, and Villains - All In Time For Summer

A little while ago I sat down to read a couple of new comics written by a relatively new name in the all ages comics world, Kevin Grevioux: Actor/Screenwriter, and Creator/star of UNDERWORLD (that cool looking one with the vampires vs werewolves vs Kate Beckinsale). They were created by Astounding Studios and published by Alias Enterprises. What did I think of them? Well, you'll have to keep reading.

Okay, that's a long enough wait. I liked them. There, that's it. I can go watch TV now…all right, maybe I could say a little more.

Let's start out with Valkyries #0. Here is what the Astounding Studios website has to say about it:

For centuries the Valkyries, shield maidens of Norse mythology, have taken only the bravest and finest warriors to the Halls of Valhalla . That is, until a young Valkyrie named Keldegarde decides to change things.

Unlike her fellow Valkyries, Keldegarde judges the worth of a warrior by his heart, not his sword. And by the strength of his honest words, not the strength of his shield.

This compassion leads her to conduct the most unworthy individuals into the halls of the Viking Heaven, which even includes injured animals.

This practice draws the ire of not only Freyja, leader of the Valkyries, and King Odin himself, but the attention Odin's infamous blood-brother as well…Loki!

And Loki means to exploit it by any means necessary!

Valkyries #1 is a beautifully drawn book by Leonel Castellani (with inks by Eduardo Lemos and Mauro Vargas). There is a terrific aerial shot of a Viking battlefield two pages in that let you know that there is violence happening without doing it in such a way that would turn parents away from the book. Look, people are killed early on in this book. It would be hard to have a story about Valkyries without having people for them to work with, but this is not a gore filled bloodfest. Really, there is only one panel with any blood, and that panel isn't even in color. If the young person you are going to give this book to has even seen a commercial for Lord of the Rings they should not have a problem with it.

I think this book would be good for kids in about nine and up.

The second book by Grevioux is my favourite. Here is what its web site has to say about Hammer Kid #0 :

Odin has disappeared! Thor is feared dead! The fate of the world hangs in the balance!

Ambushed by his evil uncle, Loki, Thor, with his last breath, throws his hammer back to Asgard so that the first one who touches it, per his instructions, can use it's power to save the universe from Loki and his forces of evil. At least that was the plan.

A quick twist of fate finds twelve-year-old Kevin Erikson tumbling through a rainbow vortex and landing in Asgard, the realm of the Norse gods of old. His sudden appearance interferes with passing of Thor's hammer to his younger brother Balder. Kevin soon learns he is the only one who can wield the legendary hammer of Thor to save Asgard and Earth from the evil schemes of the Trickster, Loki!

How will a mortal boy from Minnesota go from juggling algebra and bullies to the awesome responsibility of wielding the hammer of Thor?

How did Kevin get sent to Asgard? How is he going to survive the next few seconds of his life? I don't know, but I want to find out. This was a very fun book. The story is a bit more straight forward than Valkyries and I think if you have pretty good reader on your hands you could give it to a seven or eight year old (there is a picture of a giant wolf at the end of the story that might be too much for a young child that is very easily scared)

The art for Hammer Kid is by Lions, Tigers and Bears artist, Jack Lawrence. If that isn't enough of an endorsement for his skills, then you haven't listened to me before and checked out his online LTB story.

My only concern with the book is that, although the story is fine, not all of the ads are. There is one at the end that is a bit risqué for an all ages book. That is a poor choice by the publisher, not by Grevioux or his Astounding Studios. I'm putting my copy in my grade one/two class in the Fall and I am gluing the last two pages together – problem solved.

Both of these of these books have a cool Disney movie feel to them, and I think both would be a great addition to a camping trip or a day at the beach.

Grevioux has also released Guardian Heroes , and his website, Astounding Studios is showing three more titles to be released soon. Guardian Heroes has the same art team as Valkyries and is a pretty good read. I don't feel that it is quite as strong as the other two, but that says more about the quality of Hammer Kid and Valkyries than about the quality of Guardian Heroes. Check out it and all of the Astounding Studios titles HERE

July 6, 2006

Any questions or comments, contact me at comicsintheclassroom @ gmail.com


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