In Review: Thor #6

One of Marvel's best books continues to impress.

The covers: The Main cover is by interior artist Russell Dauterman and interior colorist Matthew Wilson. It’s a silhouette of the new Thor against a red background. Within her outline are several famous Marvel Comics females, any of whom could be this new super hero. The heroines are colored in a dark blue filter to make them blend more easily into the lead’s outline. Nicely done. The first Variant cover is by Stephanie Hans with the God of Thunder in a profile bust shot. She’s against a blue sky that is shattered by the electricity coming out of her hammer. Her body looks very thin in this painted cover as her hair and cape flail about. Her left hand seems a bit odd. The final Variant is by Pasqual Ferry and Sotocolor, and it’s an Inhumans 50th Anniversary cover. Black Bolt and Medusa are almost back to back in their classic costumes with Lockjaw beside them, and three other younger characters I don’t know. Nice, but has absolutely nothing to do with Thor. Why, Marvel? Why? Overall grades: Main B+, Variant Hans B-, and Variant Ferry C-

The story: The aptly titled “Who Holds the Hammer?” by Jason Aaron focuses on Thor’s, or should I now call him as he is known–Odinson’s, quest to discover who is the woman wielding Mjolnir. However, Aaron has one heck of a terrific subplot going on involving Roxxon baddie Dario Agger and Dark Elf Malekith. The issue opens with Agger revealing how he got the power of the Minotaur, and what he’s graphically done to those that helped in his supernatural creation. His tale is told to Malkekith, who wonders what the human wants in exchange for the skull of the Frost King Giant. It’s a stunning plot point from Aaron, who is taking business ventures into the most insane of locations. Still pouting about Asgaria is Odinson, who cannot fathom why he cannot hold his hammer. He goes on a quest to find out who the woman is and in the process has some funny and deadly serious moments. Page 8 was great, with the final line of dialogue the ultimate and only response to the former thunder god’s raving. Pages 10 – 12 will tear your heart out. I had completely forgotten about that character and was unaware of that individual’s situation. The book momentarily stopped being about super heroics and became a heartfelt reality check. This was a nice dose of humanity in a book comprised of gods and demi-gods. Humor returns on Page 13, with an appearance of Agent Coulson, who has some spectacularly fun quips for the Odinson. Something begins on Page 16 that threw me for a loop and lead to a fantastic cliffhanger. Aaron has written another flawless installment in the tale of the new Thor. Overall grade: A+

The art: Flawless is also the correct word in appraising Russell Dauterman’s art. The first three pages of the book involve Agger’s flashback as he tells his origin, and Dauterman is using a completely different style than what he’s used before on this book. It’s almost primitive looking, but is entirely appropriate for Agger at this point in his life. It also provides a shocking transition to his more familiar style, which appears on Page 4 in the form of a grotesque double-paged spread. This is a scene even adult readers will not forget any time soon. The posture that Malekith assumes is a wonderful mix of curiosity and bubbling threat. I hung on every image of this dark foe. The Asgardians that appear in this issue are amazing, with the one on Pages 6 and 7 especially impressive. Pages 10 – 12 are a visual gut punch, and are made even stronger by the silence of the last four panels of 12. Agent Coulson is a wonderful emotionless cold fish before the former god, who excellently contrasted the emotion of his dialogue. Pages 17 and 20 are full page splashes that showcase the new Thor’s strength and that of another. They are beautifully strong. Those two words are also appropriate for Dauterman’s work–beautiful and strong. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The primitive first three pages of this work are made more violent by the jarring colors by Matthew Wilson. The bright reds of Page 3 are dramatic and strong. They serve to make the next two pages sadistic due to the lack of colors on the wall. Only the blood red carpet belies Agger’s true nature. Page 6 has some beautiful work, but this location should be strong as befitting the gods. As strong as this is, hands down, the best colored pages are 10 – 12. Pink on white is the perfect combination for this couple’s past and their eternal bond. The tree blossoms are breathtaking. The best blend of colors comes on 17. Take note of how the top of the image is dark, but as one’s eye goes down, the background warms, showing the violence to be useless on the individual. It’s also impressive how the dark skies has made the person’s hair almost lime. Amazing. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration and dialogue (the same font), scene setting, Asgardian dialogue, and a S.H.I.E.L.D. ID are crafted by  VC’s Joe Sabino. All look fine, but I’m still not thrilled with the Asgardian font which is difficult to read at times. Overall grade: A

The final line: One of Marvel’s best books continues to impress. 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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