Comic Review – Thor #5 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“And the road of the mighty necroworld shakes the heavens. But not loud enough to drown out the laughter of one little worm” Narrator

This week I wasn’t sure what I’d review, until I enjoyed Thor #5 so much I couldn’t help but take the chance to write about it. I’ve really enjoyed the return of the Odinson to the mantle of Thor (as I did the fantastic Jane Foster Thor run before) and the cosmic level adventure to date has provided an incredibly fun change of pace and has bought some of the most powerful Marvel entities such as the Great Galactus, Ego the Living Planet and a mysterious cosmic worm into the picture.

Cover by Ribic (Marvel Comics)

This coming was bought to us by:

  • Writer – Jason Aaron
  • Guest Artist – Christian Ward
  • Logo – Jay Bowen
  • Letterer – VC’s Joe Sabino
  • Cover Artist – Esad Ribic

Thor #5 takes place in the distant future, in a dying universe where the All-Father Old Man Thor and his grand daughters protect New Midgard. The issue picks up with Thor coming face to face with an old friend – (very!) Old Man Wolverine, the current incarnation of the Phoenix Force. We’re treated to a flash back to show the dynamic between the two in the modern era, with them both enjoying a few drinks in ‘the best bar in Midgard’. We see that although there is still a friendship between the two in the future there are far greater forces at play here they are both bound by. In the meantime, the majority of the universe has deteriorated and passed away, leaving only the most powerful forces standing. New Midgard has caught their attention and the grand daughters of Thor must protect it.

Art by Ward and Sabino (Marvel Comics)

Ward excels in an art style well suited to such a fantastical issue and cosmic scale events. His characters and actions scenes almost appear to be painted brushwork, with intense colours communicating motion, action and awesome imagery that captures the imagination. Sabino’s lettering adds to the grand atmosphere. His choice of speech bubble, font and text colour for various characters suits them perfectly and brings out their personality – the passion of Thor or the malevolence of Ego the Living Planet. Sabino does a solid job with the lettering tucking them into tight panels weaving the reader’s eye through the pages and allowing the reader to appreciate the art.

Final Verdict

I really enjoyed this issue. This is a hell of a good way to write Thor, cosmic battles for the fate of the Marvel universe against cosmic level entities. It’s fun to see Aaron’s interpretation of a few familiar faces come the end of time, to see who from the current era is still kicking around and what has happened to certain characters and powers that make a cameo appearance and set up a cliff hanger for the next issue.

I’ve been enjoying Thor for a while, and that won’t be stopping any time soon!

Final Score: 9.5 weird goat stories out of 10

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 Mighty Thor #703 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

Normally I would try to avoid reviewing a comic well into the swing of a story arc, but one of my regulars today really stood out as both an issue and an arc I want to say my piece on. The Mighty Thor has been an outstanding series of comics, once Jane Foster taking over the mantle of Thor after the Odinson became unworthy Marvel have done an incredible job in portraying a different kind of Thor throughout compelling narratives and great character development. The reason I’m highlighting this issue in this arc is it appears Jane Foster’s run as the Goddess of Thunder is coming to an end (seeing as the arc title is ‘The Death of the Mighty Thor’ this shouldn’t be too much of a spoiler). This comic is bought to us by:

  • Writer – Jason Aaron
  • Artist – Russell Dauterman
  • Colourist – Matthew Wilson
  • Letterer – VC’s Joe Sabino

There has been a built up to one hell of a confrontation in this comic – Thor vs the Mangog, for those not familiar with the Mangog it’s a monster that comes back time and time again to murder and destroy as many Asgardians as it possibly can. Jane Foster however, is still fighting her own battle against cancer, which isn’t going so well. This issue really feels like this will be it, soon Jane will need to choose whether or not to pick up the hammer one last time and likely not survive or to hang it up and step down as Thor. Personally, I’ll be very disappointed to see her go, assuming she does. Jane Foster as Thor has been a favourite of mine since she took up the mantle, and I had been hoping the Odinson would get his hands on another hammer (there is more than one of them kicking about at the moment!) and for the both of them to share the role. As you may be able to tell by my prioritising this issue, it does feel like there’s an emotional weight to this and I am hoping Jason Aaron can keep up to the standard set by The Mighty Thor run and give Jane/the Goddess of Thunder the send-off she deserves (assuming again, this does happen!)

Dauterman and Wilson’s art has to juggle two tones of story – one where Jane is battling cancer and facing the decision of her life and one where the Mangog tears through Asgard. To me, they handle this well, with duller tones during the Jane Foster focused panels and vibrant bright tones in Asgard. The Mangog is very, well, orange and is a villain who could easily look a bit ridiculous if handled incorrectly, but I think the artists do a great job in portraying how terrifying it must be to stand up against. I also very much enjoyed Sabino’s lettering, and the panel breaking screams during the battle between Asgardians and the Mangog.

Final Verdict

The build up to the finale for The Mighty Thor is showing a lot of promise, Jane’s characterisation and how caught she feels between her two lives is very compelling. While I don’t want to see the Mighty Thor go, this run of comics has been successful and in both Marvel and DC characters do happen to have a habit of coming back… like the one who gets a cameo on the final page!

Score: 9 Rainbow Bridges’s out of 10

Comic Review: Generations: The Thunder #1 (Marvel Comics)

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

While Marvel wraps up their current event, Secret Empire, they are already laying the groundwork for their next event, Marvel Legacy, that will apparently smash together classic characters and their more recent legacy counterparts into a new status quo. This starts with the Generations one-shots, where the current and classic versions of several of Marvel’s most recognisable characters team up for a short adventure. My first foray into this is The Thunder, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Mahmud Asrar, with colours by Jordie Bellaire and letters from VC’s Joe Sabino.

“The Vanishing Point – An instant apart! A moment beyond! Loosed from the shackles of past, present and future – a place where time has no meaning! But where true insight can be gained! Make your choice! Select your destination! This journey is a gift…”

The Thunder, you may be able to guess, is a Thor-centric comic starring The Mighty Thor Jane Foster, who is the current wielder of Mjolnir and Goddess of Thunder, and The Unworthy Thor, who is the Odinson without the hammer. But not the current Odinson (recently star of a comic called The Unworthy Thor), instead this is Thor before he could ever wield Mjolnir but is still called Thor. It’s confusing.

Odin chastises his son for trying to lift such a dangerous weapon again, and summons him to greet some guests in the great halls of Asgard. But Thor, answering prayers from a group of Vikings set on invading Egypt, speeds off on goat-back to aide his faithful. There he finds Apocalypse, and has quite the fight on his hands. Until a time-displaced Jane Foster arrives to help out. After a little confusion, the pair waste little time in bringing the thunder.

Jason Aaron has been writing Thor (both Odinson and Jane Foster) for a while now, and continues to surprise, especially in how much variation he brings to the various levels of youthful arrogance the Odinson has over the millennia. And the pair are both reminded of what is key to any Thor, and that is humanity. The Thunder is incredibly fun, which is what these Generations books should be aiming for. As for the mystery of why Jane Foster was thrust back in time, or those final pages with Odin? I think we will find out in Legacy, and perhaps what The Vanishing Point is at the end of Secret Empire. At least this year’s event isn’t overrunning and hanging over the ongoing state of the Marvel Universe quite so much as last year’s Civil War II.

Key to Aaron’s enormous success to date with writing Thor comics is being paired up with artists who deliver on his vision and make the gods of thunder seem real. Mahmud Asrar draws jaw-dropping action worthy of those who have come before, and the splash pages are gorgeous to behold. Jodie Bellaire as usual brings colours in that only make the art better, with the lightning almost jumping off the page.

I have no idea where Legacy or the Marvel Universe is currently headed, but if it as fun as The Thunder then I can’t wait.

Score: 9 Ugly Men out of 10

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 86 – The Worst Idea Ever

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, our fortnightly pop culture news and reviews podcast!

This week, in a fit of madness, we recorded outside at the Southbank Centre in London, in the evening. As such there is a lot of background noise. Sorry! It won’t happen again!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Big News

This week we chat about the new trailers for Thor Ragnarok, Atomic Blonde and the live-action Fullmetal Alchemist and Adam analyzes how Marvel are goofing up their comics so much right now.

Screentime – Ghost in the Shell

This week we talk about the live-action Ghost in the Shell film starring Scarlett Johansson. We go into spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it, skip from 26:30-37:23!

Now Playing – Reading/Watching/Playing

Adam The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu/Fargo on Netflix/Horizon Zero Dawn on PS4
IanNaked by David Sedaris/Himalaya with Michael Palin/Uncharted 4 and Shovel Knight on PS4 and Planescape Torment Enhanced Edition on iPad

Check out any of those through those Amazon links and we get a kick back! Or you can go through here.

You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.Fancy supporting our site? Head on over to our Paypal donation page! It’s completely optional, set your own price! Even £1 helps us with hosting costs and we’d really appreciate it! Cheers!

Book Review – Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Ian likes books. Here is what he thought of one of them.

Odin, who is third, who is wanderer, who sacrificed himself to himself for knowledge and power. Loki, whose misdeeds range from mischievous to murderous. Thor, the strongest of the gods but, it’s fair to say, not the smartest. These are the central trio of Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. Surrounding them a supporting cast of gods and giants and monsters. Always present in the background is Ragnarok, the death of the gods- is it yet to come?

Norse Mythology is a collection of retold Norse myths- Gaiman has worked primarily from centuries old source material rather than rehashing popular versions of the modern era. The prose is sparse, more reminiscent of children’s books of myth and legend than the rich descriptive world-building Gaiman is known for. These are stories- what is told is only what is necessary. Every detail highlights character or propels plot. These gods are not benevolent omniscients- they are human in their wants and desires and virtues and flaws. Capricious and prideful, they barrel through a world that is painted in broad brush strokes. Minor details hint at the endless further stories beyond this collection- what we see is that polished gleam of ice that sits above the surface.

Loki’s children and Freya’s wedding are the stand out tales. Almost every story in the collection could stand alone, but together they form an arc from the beginning of time to Ragnarok, the death of the gods. The Norse universal creation myth is strikingly bizarre in its details, and it is testament to the skillful writing that some of the more absurd aspects never overshadow the underlying feeling of genesis and timeless truth. The ambiguity of description allows the reader to fill in the blanks- we know Loki is handsome, but little else. We know Valhalla and Valkyries, but we do not dwell overlong on specifics.

A gorgeous aspect of these stories is the lack of clear moral lessons. Sometimes the good are rewarded and the evil punished, but just as often the opposite is true- few are the unimpeachable in this world. So often the problems that pursue the gods are of their own devising- and who can judge the gods themselves? A highlight is the tale of Fenris-wolf, so ambiguous a character. Can you truly blame him for his actions?

Marvel have been digging into the seams of Norse Mythology for decades now, and the modern iteration of Loki is arguably one of the most popular characters in their cinematic universe. Reading these myths, it is surprising to see which aspects of character and story have been kept and which have been twisted in this transformation from fireside tale to movie- certainly differences abound (specifically Marvel’s Odin pales in comparison to the All-Father of myth), but there is a comfortable recognition. These are characters and archetypes we know well, and the familiar cadence of myth is a balm. Indeed some of the more boisterous tales are reminiscent of comics in their form- I await the inevitable graphic adaptation of these tales eagerly.

Norse Mythology– this myth, this is a book to sit faithfully on your bookshelf to be plucked at occasionally when only old tales will make sense, this is a book to read aloud by firelight to friends and family, a book to read alone as rain floods the world outside and Ragnarok comes.

I highly recommend it.

Review- Ian Green @ianthegreen

You can pick the book up below!

Comic Book Review – The Unworthy Thor #2 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“Now his friendship is clearly yet another thing of which I am no longer worthy.” – Odinson

This week, I felt it would be interesting to pick up The Unworthy Thor Issue #2:

Writer – Jason Aaron

Artist – Olvier Coipel

Colour Artist – Matthew Wilson

Letterer & Production – VCs Joe Sabino 

If I’m honest I feel Marvel have been underperforming across many of their comics, however the ongoing situation with the Thor characters, specifically Thor and Odinson has been something Marvel have been keeping up to their normal high standards on. As with all comic book de-powerings/incapacitations/deaths etc. Odinson will of course regain the mantle of Thor eventually, though I’m expecting him to share it with the current Thor once he’s worthy once again. The current Unworthy Thor series is certainly indicating this will both be the case, and his story of redemption.

The story picks up with the Odinson and Beta Ray Bill teaming up, to set out and find a supposed extra hammer (read the very good Thors series, part of Battleworld last year). Their deep friendship conveyed in the respect Bill still shows Odinson in the opening panels really stood out and kicked this issue off to an excellent start. The issue also contains a particularly good dream sequence where we get a snapshot of Odinson’s current psyche. One panel in particular stands out for showing Odinson’s current relationship with his hammer, the weight of the situation is crushing him and he’s helpless beneath it. We’re also introduced to the first villain of the story as well, The Collector. As an adversary he has a unique drive and motivation to all of his schemes, which sets him apart from your standard comic book villain.

Coipel and Wilson do excellent work with the art, shifting the colouring and visuals to suit the tone of comic. Sombre during Odinson and Bill’s reunion, bright and flashy during combat and shades of grey during Odinson’s nightmare. As well as this every lead character feels powerful and imposing. In an issue with many strong personalities this is well reflected in the art. There’s more text in this issue than the last, the conversations showing Odinson’s character development and promising good things from this series. Sabino does excellent work of weaving the reader’s eye through the character conversations, without detracting from Coipel and Wilson’s work. This of course ignores the big question though: 

Can Coipel draw hands? The number of hands on show are limited throughout the issue. Due to the large scale of the combat they’re usually small during the fight scenes and during the conversations the emphasis is so often on character’s faces as opposed to their whole body language. Hands are drawn perfectly well when they are shown, unfortunately this is less often than I’d like to see during conversation, though only because they can add to personality so effectively. 7/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

Aaron is off to a great start with what could well be a fantastic redemption story. The twist villain at the end promises to up the ante throughout the series and the artists are certainly giving it the high standard it deserves.

Score: 9 G.O.A.Ts out of 10