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Balder the Brave #1: Review

Nov 1985
Walt Simonson, Sal Buscema

Story Name:

The Sword of Frey

Review & Comments

4 stars

Balder the Brave #1 Review by (January 13, 2014)
A highly enjoyable mini-epic centering on the unappreciated hero Balder. Why unappreciated? Because he comes across as impossibly good and pure? Maybe. But the best part is the interesting dynamic between Balder and the evil Norn Queen Karnilla. A good guy and a bad girl held together by a bond of love—and with his goodness always waiting to change her without the danger of him being corrupted in return. This is a Norse version of “The Light Princess” by George MacDonald, which is an allegory of Christian grace. Doubt if the Marvel writers had that in mind but it’s there whether they knew it or not. Anyway, the whole story is full of thrills, chills, and cool moments thanks to the deft writing of Walt Simonson—and Sal Buscema provides some nice pictures to bring the tale to life.

Comments: Left out of the synopsis: Karnilla has the Sword of Frey but did not wish to loan it to Balder.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Balder the Brave #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Prologue: the Sword of Frey, which makes its wielder unconquerable, was stolen from its master centuries ago….

At Nornkeep, Balder the Brave is the guest of Karnilla the Norn Queen where he charms the birds that have long avoided her realm. Karnilla is informed that a messenger from Asgard is coming to summon Balder to battle (THOR #360); she has Agnar captured, casts a spell that turns all his words to gibberish and locks him in a dungeon while the memory of his mission slowly fades from his mind. Some days later, a bat trained by Agnar seeks out Balder, who follows it down to the dungeon and frees his friend. Balder then confronts Karnilla in her throne room; the Queen removes the spells from Agnar and Balder now learns that Odin has fallen (THOR #353) and that he has been summoned to join Thor on a quest to Hel. Balder accepts and spends the next several weeks training with Agnar for the mission. When the day of his departure arrives, he and Karnilla bicker and one of her guards (Rattusk) tries to chastise the hero for his disrespect but Balder easily sidesteps then intercedes for the well-meaning demon. Balder leaves and then Karnilla blasts the guard, while quietly wishing for her lover’s safe return.

Sal Buscema
Sal Buscema
Paul Becton
Walt Simonson (Cover Penciler)
Walt Simonson (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Balder the Brave)

(Norn Queen)


> Balder the Brave: Book info and issue index

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