[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Freyja is putting together a team that will march into the Dark Elf home of Svartalfheim and destroy Malekith’s Black Bifrost Bridge. She first approaches the Punisher on Captain America’s recommendation. Freyja is hesitant to believe that any mortal could withstand what the Black Bifrost and Svartalfheim have to offer, but Frank Castle impresses her. She charges him with recruiting the rest of the team, which consists of She-Hulk, Blade, and Ghost Rider. However, before this team leaves for Svartalfheim, Freyja must test these mortals. It is a test that will expose them to the deepest and darkest parts of their souls.
War of the Realms Strikeforce: The Dark Elf Realm #1 primarily consists of the recruitment process for this mission. Freyja and the Punisher are the two characters most focused upon, as Freyja believes that Frank Castle is the mortal most qualified to measure the mettle of Earth’s heroes for this quest.
It’s an interesting interaction: the All-Mother of Asgard and by far more empathetic parent to Thor talking to Marvel’s most murderous and unstable antihero. They speak plainly with one another and don’t mince words in regards to their beliefs.
That’s not to say that She-Hulk, Blade, and Ghost Rider don’t get a fair slice of the book, and their part in it is compelling and overall entertaining as well. The darkness each hero must face in this comic is fairly harrowing given their personalities, even if She-Hulk’s once again centers on her cousin and Blade’s is treated with a certain degree of banality by the character himself.
Leinil Francis Yu is the artist on this venture, and, once again, he earns his reputation for being a legendary artist of the industry. This book looks fantastic, and his someone dark aesthetic suits the characters and their quest very well. Matt Hollingsworth’s color art matches the aesthetic well, giving the book a grim atmosphere.
War of the Realms Strikeforce: The Dark Elf Realm #1 has some tone issues and lines that don’t quite gel, but the overall tale is quite compelling and treats its characters with curiosity and respect. Mix that with some excellent artwork from Yu, and you have a book worth recommending. Feel free to check it out.
War of the Realms Strikeforce: The Dark Elf Realm #1 comes to us from writer Bryan Hill, artist Leinil Francis Yu, inker Gerry Alanguilan, color artist Matt Hollingsworth, letterer VC’s Joe Sabino, cover artist Yu with Hollingsworth, and variant cover artist Rod Reis.