Appearing in 1st story
- Symbiote Hive
- Court of the Fort of Gaardar
- Seth (First appearance)
- Seth's Grandmother (Referenced)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Numerous unnamed Valkyries
- Sentry (Bob Reynolds) (Mentioned)
- Bor Burison (Invoked)
- Original Valkyrior (Mentioned)
- Alta (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and recap)
- Symbiotes (Main story and recap)
- Spiders (Referenced)
- Snakes (Referenced)
- Asgardians (Main story and recap)
- Winged Horses
- Celestials (Recap)
- Rock Trolls
- Dwarves of Nidavellir (Mentioned)
- Prime Marvel Universe
Synopsis for 1st story
A man named Seth flees down a fire escape, but is grabbed by a pair of symbiotes. Pelting them with a barrage of light arrows, Dani Moonstar thinks to herself that she can sense Seth's claustrophobia and arachnophobia - born from a traumatic night spent in the basement of his grandmother's house - but that was before Knull, and now his deepest fears are changing in real-time. As the symbiotes release him, Seth falls from the fire-escape, but Dani catches him - impaling one of the symbiotes with her spear. Seth profusely thanks her and she tells him to take shelter in the subway, turning back to fend off the symbiotes as he runs to safety. Thinking to herself that as a mutant she's been the source of peoples' fears, and with her powers has seen the fears and traumas that haunt peoples' subconsciousnesses, Dani notes that people who are scared of spiders are the lucky ones and that this city has run out of luck - aiming her bow at the sky as a symbiote dragon soars overhead.
Manifesting her spear, Dani notes to herself that one of the reasons humans instinctually fear snakes is because it's impossible to predict their movements, and that it's the same with these symbiotes. Grabbing her spear, Dani stabs the symbiote again and notes that her attacks don't seem to actually be hurting them. Trying to see what the symbiotes fear, Dani reaches into their minds and is overwhelmed by the cacophony of the hive-mind. As the symbiotes turn and flee, Dani realizes that whatever they fear has arrived and looks up to see the symbiote dragon hovering overhead, staring down at her.
In Valhalla, Brunnhilde explains a game that a group of Valkyrior-turned-Einherjar are playing to the apotheosized Jane Foster, who is disgusted to learn that the ball the women are tossing back and forth is actually a severed head. Turning to regard the Unnamed Valkyrie - who is gazing wistfully at the Valkyrior-turned-Einherjar, Brunnhilde remarks that she wants to join them. Jane protests that she doesn't know how she'll save the Sentry without her, but Brunnhilde reminds her that the Unnamed Valkyrie spent untold centuries imprisoned and only just got out to learn all her friends and loved ones are long-dead; advising Jane to let the Unnamed Valkyrie remember life before expecting her to fight for it. Jane laments that she has no clue what the headless Celestial that assimilated the Sentry and countless other lost souls is, let alone how to fight it.
Brunnhilde explains that eons ago the Celestials encroached into the Abyss left by the destruction of the Sixth Cosmos to began the creation of the Seventh, and therein encountered Knull - who decapitated one of their number with a blade of living darkness. Banished back into the Void, Knull used the Celestial's severed head as a forge to refine and temper his crude weapon into All-Black the Necrosword. While the Celestial's severed head eventually became the mining city of Knowhere, its body drifted through time and space until it wound up in the Realm Between. There, the Celestial's fragmented soul attempted to fulfill its purpose by creating a world within itself, but the world it created was one of the dead. Jane asks if the headless Celestial is an afterlife, but the Unnamed Valkyrie scoffs that it's a Bor-damned spiritually-bankrupt prison that doesn't belong to any pantheon. Elaborating, Brunnhilde explains that the Celestial's corpse is bound to All-Black, and through it to Knull; feasting on the souls of those slain by them in exchange for feeding them energy. Helping herself to a goblet of mead, the Unnamed Valkyrie scoffs at Knull calling himself a god, sneering that the only ones who worship him are the creatures he created. Jane remarks that Knull sounds like a god to her, being self-absorbed, single-minded, and utterly insufferable; causing the Unnamed Valkyrie to smirk and say that she likes Jane. Valkyrie says that two battles are being fought -- one in the mortal world and the other in the afterlife -- and that neither can be won so long as Knull is connected to the Headless Celestial, but the Unnamed Valkyrie retorts that the connection can't be severed. Brunnhilde insists that it can, and that she has a plan that first involves the Unnamed Valkyrie reclaiming her ax. Intrigued, the Unnamed Valkyrie asks where it is.
Later, Brunnhilde asks the Unnamed Valkyrie to come back safely this time as they walk towards Jane and Mr. Horse. The Unnamed Valkyrie is surprised when Brunnhilde says they never stopped searching for her, bitterly retorting that they thought she'd quit. Admitting that to be true, Brunnhilde admits that they'd seen how heartbroken she'd been after Alta died and didn't blame her. The Unnamed Valkyrie bitterly states that she blames herself - having been in the process of bringing Alta's soul to Valhalla when they were engulfed by the Headless Celestial - and that Alta is still inside it. Brunnhilde is shocked, the Unnamed Valkyrie explaining that they were separated by the sea of lost souls and she was trapped with only the memories of her failures. As the Unnamed Valkyrie climbs onto Mr. Horse, Brunnhilde tries to console her -- saying she was the best of them and did everything she could. -- but the Unnamed Valkyrie retorts that she was the strongest but never the best; thanking Jane for her help. As Mr. Horse takes off, Jane asks Brunnhilde if this is a good idea, Brunnhilde assuming she's talking about the ax before Jane clarifies she meant teaming the Unnamed Valkyrie with Mr. Horse -- who calls out that he heard her as he flies away. Brunnhilde presents Jane with a flying horse named Brightwind, who she says will take her to Asgard to find what she needs in Midgard.
On Earth, Dani aims her bow at the symbiote dragon as it lands on a nearby building, sensing Knull is remote-piloting it. Speaking through the dragon, Knull says he can feel her trying to read his mind and asks what she wants to know. Dismayed at not finding any fears -- only his desire to annihilate all life -- Dani asks if she's indeed speaking to Knull, noting that in his eyes the absence of life and light is the most beautiful thing ever. Knull replies that he is everywhere, and when Dani demands to know why he's doing this he responds that he knows she's trying to distract him and buy time for the civilians to escape. As Knull gloats that it won't work, Dani taps into the minds of every nearby animal in an attempt to obfuscate the fleeing civilians' vital signs. Rebuking Knull, Dani says that he wants to destroy life but he underestimates it, forgetting that not all life is bright but that it exists in a spectrum. Declaring that Knull has forgotten about life's hunger and anger and will to survive, Dani peppers the symbiote dragon with arrows and sneers that turning off the sun won't work since life survives in the darkness too. Unamused, Knull simply lashes her with the symbiote dragon's tail - sending her flying.
In Asgard, Jane lands Brightwind on the Bifrost and greets Lady Sif - grimly observing that being all-seeing must be a curse when wars such as the one on Midgard are taking place. Without turning to look at Jane, Sif observes that she found what she was looking for in Asgard's armory and is now looking for Hildegarde; observing that needing to ask Hildegarde to join a battle where the chance of survival is slim is weighing heavily on Jane. Agreeing, Jane asks where Hildegarde is only to be told that Hildegarde isn't in Asgard, sharing a chuckle with Sif as she realizes that Hildegarde is already having fun fighting on Midgard. As Jane leaves, Sif says she'll relay a message to Hildegarde that Jane is on her way - keeping secret her rekindled hope at seeing the Valkyries regrouping to ride again.
In Vanaheim, Mr. Horse points out the Fort of Gaardar - home of Vanlandi, the self-proclaimed King of Thieves - to the Unnamed Valkyrie. Saying she wants to feel the ground beneath her feet, the Unnamed Valkyrie asks Mr. Horse if they can walk the rest of the way. Overcome with joy, the Unnamed Valkyrie drops to her knees and pressing her hands to the foliage, stating this is the first real living thing she's touched in centuries and that she knows it's real because not even the all-knowing undead Celestial could simulate the smell of life while torturing her.
At the Fort of Gaardar, Vanlandi meets with one of his advisors, having received a portent of the Unnamed Valkyrie's arrival in the intestines of a goat. Despite knowing what she's after and what she'll do to him if he refuses to give it to her, Vanlandi grouses that she came for his most-recent acquisition. When his advisor suggests just giving it to her to avoid any trouble, Vanlandi retorts that he's already lined up a buyer willing to pay premium for it and isn't going to just give it away -- especially not to some girl on account of a few bad dreams; ordering his advisor to marshal his troops and defend the castle at all costs.
En route to the castle, Mr. Horse recaps the events of Gandalf killing three trolls in The Hobbit to the Unnamed Valkyrie and lies that they actually occurred and that he was present for them. Commenting that she's heard similar stories, the Unnamed Valkyrie is skeptical that it could have happened to so many people until Mr. Horse points out that for all they know all the stones in the Ten Realms are dead trolls. No sooner does she say this than a pair of rock trolls emerge from a nearby rock formation. The first troll asks if they're horses or girls, ignoring the Unnamed Valkyrie correcting him that she's a woman. The first troll comments that the hairy one is the horse, confusing the second troll - who points out that both of them are hairy. As the first troll concludes that they both must be horses and are to be eaten regardless, the Unnamed Valkyrie draws her sword and asks Mr. Horse what they call a dead rock troll. Mr. Horse asks what that is, and the Unnamed Valkyrie decapitates the first troll and replies that the answer is gravel. The second troll grouses that the joke isn't funny, the Unnamed Valkyrie quipping that it was a "pebble" of a joke as she decapitates him too. Mr. Horse calls out to get her attention and the Unnamed Valkyrie narrowly evades a throwing dagger aimed at her back - cutting off a curse as she sees a group of mercenaries blocking their path.
On Earth, Knull mockingly asks if Dani has run out of tricks and insults; Dani thinking to herself that fighting the symbiote dragon is like fighting an angry ocean -- her arrows fizzling out the moment they hit. Leaping at the symbiote dragon with her spear, Dani rebukes Knull for not realizing that he is very much like humanity, for what is more human than to destroy that which they do not understand. As Dani laments living in a universe where something as xenophobic as Knull is a god, she feels Knull's consciousness withdraw from the symbiote dragon, the dark god turning his attention elsewhere. In retaliation, the symbiote dragon strikes her with its wing and crushes her against the side of a building.
In Vanaheim, the Unnamed Valkyrie awkwardly asks a troll if the one she just killed was a relative. Despite knowing how the encounter will come to pass, Vanlandi -- standing atop a nearby ridge -- addresses the Unnamed Valkyrie and warns her to leave. Turning to look at him, the Unnamed Valkyrie says that he has something that belongs to her and that she's not going anywhere without it. Retorting that if it belonged to her it would be in her hands and not his, Vanlandi hefts the divine battleaxe Jarnbjorn, which the Unnamed Valkyrie says was forged for her by the dwarves of Nidavellir. Vanlandi challenges her to come and take it, the Unnamed Valkyrie smirking as she says she thought he'd never ask.
Regaining consciousness, Dani recognizes her old steed Brightwind and assumes she's dead and that Jane has come to take her to Valhalla. As Jane assures her she's still alive and reaches down to help her to her feet, Dani senses Jane's complex web of fears and notes that death isn't among them. Commenting that she's finally found them, Hildegarde leaps off a nearby building and slashes the symbiote dragon's face with her sword; nonchalantly asking Jane if she was looking for her. As the three warriors stand together, Dani senses that Jane's desires mirror her own: to fight against the impossible odds and win; Hildegarde happily inviting them to join her in slaying the symbiote dragon.
SAVE THE SENTRY – SAVE THE VALKYRIES – SAVE THE EARTH!
Knull and his symbiote horrors have come to Earth, and now all Jane Foster sees when she looks at that big blue globe…is a vision of death. Most of Earth's heroes are locked in battle on the ground, and it's up to Jane and the Sentry to protect the rest! But Knull's power has spread over the galaxy and infected creatures even older than the gods…and it may not matter how many Valkyries Jane can bring to their aid.
- 3 image(s) from King in Black: Return of the Valkyries Vol 1 2
- 1 reprint(s) of King in Black: Return of the Valkyries Vol 1 2