In Review: Thor #4

Two Thors enter, but will only one leave? Fun fighting fantasy fiction.

The covers: In the middle of the cover is the logo of the book. At the top of the is Thor, upside down, looking at the person below him. He’s without his typical hat and he has no shirt. He’s also wielding an axe instead of Mjolnir because the person below him has it. The “new” Thor is at the bottom of the cover, one fist raised in anger, the other holding the magic Norse hammer. They book look sensational in this image from Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson. I love the strong teal background behind them that makes them pop off the page. Outstanding! The Variant cover is by Salvador Larroca & Israel Silva. This features both Thors pushing each other around a location where Loki, or version of him, stands outside a location that looks like the entrance to a club. The male Thor is slipping Loki something, and the devious god looks pleased to be receiving it. I’m completely lost as to what this is supposed to be, as it has nothing to do with the interior of the book. It looks fine, but I don’t know what it represents. Overall grades: Main A+ and Variant C

The story: After his appearance at the end of the previous issue, writer Jason Aaron is giving the fans what they want as the old Thor takes on the new Thor in fine Marvel fashion. However, readers have to be filled in with what the more familiar Thor was doing prior to finding this new female fury. So, “Hours ago” in Asgardia, Thor awakens angrily wondering what happened to his arm. He then wants to know what’s happening on Earth, and the All-Father cares not, but his crows betray him. Thor wants to go to Midgard to help the humans against the Frost Giants, but first he receives a gift from Screwbeard the dwarf–a mechanical arm made from Uru, forged in the same fires that created Mjolnir. With his new arm, he wants his traditional weapon, and that’s when Odin tells him it’s missing, as his mother. The action then shifts to the present on Roxxon Island, high in the sky, where the Thors are talking, though the more famous god is looking for any excuse to battle this upstart maiden, and faster than you can say, “Make Mine Marvel!” they’re at it. I love this hot tempered Thor. He’s not the brightest bulb in the box, but he sure can lay the smack down. She is just as good, if not a wee bit better than he is, because she’s actually thinking out the fight, rather than just reacting. I was glad to see the middle panels on Page 9, since that’s exactly what should happen during their battle. Page 12 was a nice resolution, and the second panel on 13 answered a burning question in flawless style. The fighting is terrific and the resolution solid, as it bodes troubles in the future for this Goddess of Thunder. Overall grade: A+

The art: It’s beautiful work on every page from artist Russell Dauterman. The details are humbling to look upon, but then again, shouldn’t humans feel humble before the gods? The old Thor’s hair is amazing in every panel. His beard is stunning. When both Thors meet on Page 4 the close-up in the third panel is breathtaking–and this is before any punches are thrown. The final panel on 5 is superb, instantly telegraphing to readers that things are about to go south quickly. The establishment shot on Page 6 is also very well done, considering that most of the characters in the room are over three stories tall. The emotions that Dauterman gets out of his characters are amazing, with the male Thor actually being the saddest I’ve ever seen him. I almost got weepy with the second panel on Page 10 and his posture on 11 was painful to look upon. However, I laughed out loud at the second panel on 12 with his expression perfectly matching the dialogue. The double-paged spread of 13 and 14 is stunning and is all that a fan could want from such an epic battle. This is the greatest Thor since Walt Simonson first got hold of him. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Bright, dynamic colors from Matthew Wilson on every page of this book. Thor shouldn’t be a darkly colored book, and this installment resonates power from the hues, matching the power of the gods within it. The gold and tan backgrounds of Asgardia cement the setting in a particular point in time. The Frost Giants’ blues, against the red capes and yellow hair of both Thors is so strong. When Malekith makes his exit, you’ll believe in magic because of the red and white colors. This is strong work, worthy of the gods. Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Joe Sabino provides scene settings, Asgardian speech, Frost Giant and human dialogue (the same font, just differently colored), and a scream. I believe that Dauterman is doing the large sounds himself. I wanted the font to be different between the giants and the humans because they’re two different species. Shouldn’t it be different? Overall grade: A-

The final line: Outside of two races’ speech, it’s a flawless book. It provides all the drama and power one would want from a Marvel comic. Two Thors enter, but will only one leave? Fun fighting fantasy fiction. Recommended. Overall grade: A 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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