Comic Book Review – Thor #1 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I read Thor #1 from Marvel Comics, the latest relaunch for the God of Thunder under Jason Aaron. Mike del Mundo provided art for part one, ‘God of Thunder Reborn’, with colour assists from Marco D’Alfonso, and Christian Ward drew part two ‘The Grace of Thor’, with letters on both by VC’s Joe Sabino.

The Mighty Thor is dead. Long live Thor. In ‘God of Thunder Reborn’, after the defeat of Mangog and the destruction of both the hammer Mjolnir and Asgardia, Jane Foster has reluctantly stepped down as Thor to finally focus on the treatment she needs for her cancer. The Odinson has taken up his old mantle again, with a fancy new golden arm and a lot of hammers, and with Jane’s direction he is tracking down displaced Asgardian artefacts before they fall into the wrong hands. Meanwhile, the bifrost is under repair, and until it is fixed there is no way of accessing other realms – a big problem, as Malekith the Accursed wages his War of Realms and Thor is powerless to stop it.

In the second story, ‘The Grace of Thor’, a one eyed old Thor and his grand daughters are watching over a rebooted Midgard. After all life ended on the planet long ago, now over 200 years have passed since they seeded life there once again in the forms of ‘Jane’ and ‘Steve’. As Jane dies, Thor sombrely reveals the state of the afterlife, before flying to the edge of the universe, which is rapidly ending. And there he meets the final incarnation of the Phoenix.

I hope Jason Aaron keeps writing Thor comics for a good long time yet, regardless of who Thor actually is. The arc of Jane Foster as Thor was wonderful, and enjoyed a satisfying wrap up too while not ending her story within this world. The Odinson slipping back into being Thor seems effortless, but to maintain his God of Thunder status he seems to be effectively supported by his own version of MI6, with Jane filling the role of M, and Odin and Screwbeard outfitting him with gadgets and magics in place of Q. It means that the usual brawns over brains approach needs to be taken with an element of improvisation rarely seen from this Thor. Aaron’s script is excellent, unsurprising as these are characters he has been in charge of for years now, but the new status quo of Thor and his supporting cast is still fitting in to the ongoing narrative of the plot he has been driving for a while now.

Mike del Mundo’s art is otherworldly, and yet feels very at place here. I feel that he is even better placed on Thor than his recent run on Avengers. There are some stellar action scenes in ‘God of Thunder Reborn’, but the quiet moments in the Brooklyn resettlement of Asgardian refugees works very well too, bolstered by the warm colours that often accompany del Mundo’s pages. For ‘The Grace of Thor’, Christian Ward’s skills are perfectly suited to the grand space sequences on display, from fighting a space shark to speeding to the universe’s end, and these pages are awash with cleaner colours than the first part that suits the story just as well. Rather than feeling jarring having two stories in one issue, the two artists sync right up with their respective tales, enabling them to complement each other.

To say Thor #1 is a great start would be disingenuous and a disservice to all that came before it from Aaron and the other great artists who have shaped his run on Thor. More this is a great continuation that may serve as a jumping on point for anyone who has slept on the series up until now (but if you have you should absolutely go back and read it all in trades). I’ll miss the Goddess of Thunder, but I suspect that we haven’t seen the last of her. Regardless, get this at your local comic book shop or online!

Score: 9 Asgardian Artefacts out of 10

Comic Review – The Avengers #6 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I’m reviewing issue #6 of The Avengers from Marvel Comics, written by Mark Waid with art by Mike del Mundo, colours by del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso, and letters by VC’s Cory Petit. This is the end of the first arc since the series (and team) restarted in the wake of last year’s Civil War II event.

Cover art by Alex Ross

The current team is made up of Vision, Hercules, Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Wasp (Nadia Pym), Thor (Jane Foster) and Captain America (Sam Wilson). These are the current (or one of two current) iterations of these heroes, which is only an important distinction in that this is a full-on, multiple team superhero time travel romp. Vision, in a very ‘what if you killed Hitler in the crib’ move, abducted long time Avengers villain and time travelling douchebag Kang while he was still a baby. That ended fairly badly. But Captain America seemed to think it was a generally good plan, and the execution was the problem. Bigger and more complicated is how Sam saw their take down of Kang. So he assembled more Avengers – future Vision, the founding members (Giant Man, Wasp (Janet Van Dyne), Iron Man, Hulk, Thor (Odinson)) and a few other past members (Captain America (Steve Rogers), Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Namor, She-Hulk and Black Knight). Then these folks split into three teams and attacked Kang and his strongholds across the timeline. Weirdly, this still isn’t going very well, to the extent that Giant Man and the original Wasp are being erased from time, which in turn means the Avengers never happened.

Does that sounds confusing? Probably. But it is well written confusing. This arc has been huge fun action, mercifully disconnected from the major goings on in the Marvel Universe, probably due to it largely taking place across time. Waid has a great handle on all of these characters, and while the size of the roster in this issue and the last precludes many character moments, there remains some good Parker quipping, and a lot of Vision and future Vision dialogue.

Art by del Mundo and D’Alfonso

Mike del Mundo’s art is not what you would typically expect for an Avengers book, but it is gorgeous to look at and suits the epic and twisting time travel plot. It almost swirls across the page, and despite often not having any backgrounds to speak of the panels are so stuffed with action and characters that you rarely notice. The character art is very strong too, with some fantastic looks of shock and surprise on a lot of Kangs and Kang minions. Although the colour palette is a little washed out, it is brilliantly vibrant and often brings a warmth to the book that rounds off the art very well.

As the end of an arc, I can’t really recommend The Avengers #6 as a jumping on point from a story perspective as you are likely to be fairly lost, but it is a strong and very enjoyable conclusion to this first arc and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ll be carrying on with it and you should check out the next story. I can however recommend it purely based on del Mundo’s fantastic art, which is worth picking up the book for alone. Check out The Avengers at your LCS or digitally now!

Score: 8 Kangs out of 10