Friday, August 3, 2007

REVIEW :: Thor 1-2

written by J. Michael Straczynski
art by Oliver Coipel

Reviewed by Daniel Von Egidy

Thor was cancelled in 2004 as part of Marvel’s reshuffling of the Avengers line. Since then Captain America, Iron Man, and the Avengers have all been relaunched to mucho sales but Thor has stalled at the starting gates. Mark Millar and Neil Gaiman were both attached to it before becoming busy with something else but now J. Michael Straczynski and Oliver Coipel have finally got this thing up and running.

I personally think that leaving the character dead for this long (three years) was a good idea. If you think about it, his absence in the Marvel Universe has allowed everything to transpire the way it has from House of M to Civil War to now with World War Hulk. I hope Marvel waits at least this long before they bring Captain America back.

The major complaint from the online fans about this title thus far is the fact that nothing seems to be happening and it’s all talk. I can understand that but I also understand that there needs to be set-up, simply because the character has been gone so long and so much has changed. The story of the first two issues can be summed up pretty quick. Issue One: Thor and Donald Blake come back; Issue Two: Thor rebuilds Asgard and decides to go find his fellow gods. The plot’s pretty light but JMS builds around it with flowery narration, reflective moments, and humorous interludes.

There are two things that I L-U-V about this new Thor. The first thing is that Donald Blake, Thor’s original mortal alter ego is back. I think I’m one of the few that prefer Lee/Kirby’s Thor run to their Fantastic Four run and I’d recommend the Essential Thor volumes to anyone. So I have a great affection for the character of Blake, and it seems like no alter ego since the lame doctor has been quite as good. The other thing is Thor’s new characterization. This isn’t the Thor who screamed about the glory of Asgard in Shakespearian dialogue. This is a Thor for the post-Lord of the Rings world. In a lot of ways JMS’s version of Thor is a lot like Aragorn. His speech is formal and he has a quiet dignity about him now. Read Thor’s dialogue with Viggo Mortensson in your head and it fits.

But it’s artist Oliver Coipel who carries a lot of the weight of the story here and he just nails it. This guy is like a mix of Kevin Maguire and Jim Lee. This guy could illustrate a book about the life cycle of grass and make it dynamic and beautiful. And I also think that his redesigns of Thor’s suit and Asgard are pretty cool too, and I bet a little closer to the Norse origins than Kirby’s sci-fi inspired designs. It’s all very Xanadu.

If any of this lovely reviewing hasn’t convinced you to give this a look than maybe the third issue will because it looks like Thor’s gonna be seeing Iron Man again and we just can’t get enough of that jerk getting his. Thor and Hulk should start some sort of “Bleep Iron Man” support group.


Chris Watson said...

I am liking the "new" Thor so far. I don't think he's going to be too happy with Iron Man when he finds out what has been going on in his absence. It's going to be hammer time!

Rusty Baily said...

Gooid review....never liked Thor, but this is good stuff! And sweet art to boot! Jump on in boys, the waters' fine!

RichBarrett said...

Thor as Aragorn, huh? It's like, duh, that makes perfect sense. That's exactly what Thor should be. Sounds promising.

Cooper said...

I'm really liking this re-launch so far. It reminds me of, among other things, Neil Gaiman's "American Gods." Good stuff!

Shawn Reynolds said...

Well, if everyone else is doing it, I guess I should too. I'll have to check Thor out.

Jason Wheatley said...

I can't believe you didn't even mention Thor's sweet new costume. It's the biggity-bomb, yo.