Valkyrie Squadron – Anomaly
Written & Illustrated by Jules Rivera
52 Pages, $6.00
Strong female characters. That’s what we need more of in both comics, and webcomics. For too long has the fairer sex been nothing but the girlfriends to our superheroes, or the blonde bimbos that wear skimpy and revealing outfits. They’re never taken seriously, and if they are considered ‘strong’ or empowered, there’s always the one moment of weakness that makes them seem normal and not frightening to those readers who are used to the standard boys club mentality. How does a creator balance that fine line of Feminazi and floozy, creating an entertaining middle-ground? Simple; tell a good story with relatable characters, male or female be damned.
Spoiler warning; I may have a bit of a bias when it comes to Jules Rivera. I was a fan of her first webcomic Marsh Rocket, so obviously I’m going to follow her on whatever future projects she tackles. Was I extremely pleased that she’s doing more storytelling in the vein of science-fiction? Of course; it’s a no-brainer. If one is talented at telling exciting tales in a certain genre, and sticks to the same medium, what’s not to love? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Much like Marsh Rocket, Rivera stays the course with the format of collecting each chapter into an individual trade, making it easily accessible to those of us who still prefer paper to the high-tech touch-screen format. For sticking with the self-publishing route, Rivera still produces quite the quality product. She should be just as proud of the physical trade as she is the story inside.
So do you like gritty sci-fi action films like Starship Troopers, television shows like Battlestar Galactica, or video games like StarCraft? Those are some of the things I would put together in a blender just to get a slight taste and feel for what Valkyrie Squadron is like. Throw in some romance, a dash of mystery, and a good tablespoon of humor, and OH MY GOD HOW DID YOU JUST DO THAT?! Focusing on a crew of four women battling a war against the evil autodrones, we get introduced to the main players in this first volume collecting all of Chapter One. What seems like a routine rescue mission suddenly becomes something more as their newly acquired cargo seems to attract the attention of the higher-ups. Will everything remain hush-hush, or is the seeds to something bigger down the line? It doesn’t help that a pesky reporter is snooping around looking for “the truth” in this time of war and uncertainty.
As much as I enjoyed the story in this first trade, I went absolutely Ga-Ga over the art and colors. If it’s one thing that Rivera excels above all at, it’s the execution of the illustrations. The female form covered in body armor sends the overpowering message of, “I’m sexy, but I can and will kick your ass if needed.” If we were going to war with our robotic overlords, running around in a silver bikini while firing automatic weapons would not be the practical choice armor-wise, no matter how cool it may look to some. Rivera illustrates a sensible far-off future, where men and women are on a level playing field, and unfortunately Bros are still breeding. And I’m calling it now; hologram ear-pieces will be the must-have item next holiday season.
The great thing about collected webcomics is if you enjoyed what you read, you can go catch-up on the website for free. Same thing if you’re hesitant on purchasing the first volume; read it for free online, then support the creator by forking over some dough. It’s only $6, that’s about the same price as a Marvel comic, only you’re getting a helluva lot more bang for your buck with Valkyrie Squadron! The webcomic updates every Tuesday and Thursday, so there’s no reason to not have it bookmarked in your toolbar. Tell her that Cammy sent ya.