In Review: Ragnarok #3

This is epic in every way. The end is coming and you should get this. Highest possible recommendation.

The covers: The troll Javokk walks forward to confront the creature that looks like a draugr, but smells of the living. Oh, if he only knew the mistake he was making in confronting a resurrected Thor wielding Mjolnir. Great hammer point-of-view illustration by Walter Simonson with the coloring excellent by Laura Martin. I like how the blue of the protagonist and his weapon have some white highlights to create a slick shine. The Subscription cover is by the same pair, this time with Thor in a forest being startled as he discovers several bodies hung from the trees. His pose shows his realization and even the reader will be jolted by the sheer number of the dead that emerge out of the misty colored heights. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: Walter Simonson’s epic tale begins with the destruction of Kliffborg. The strength of the god is shown on the double-paged spread of Pages 2 and 3. The next five pages have him getting a basic understanding of his situation and the state of his brethren before deciding on a destination that will assist him in his future. It’s not until Page 14 that he comes upon this issue’s title, “The Forest of the Dead,” but don’t think for a moment that there are pages to skip as Simonson has readers witness Thor learning about his current state: Page 4 has his first glimpse of his own image, 6’s friends and family, and 8’s last two panels have a valid commentary of the thunder god’s typical emotional sequence. I was glad to see the fourth panel on Page 14 had a response from the Thor that I’m familiar with. It was very cool to see on 18 that Thor is not just one for fisticuffs. The final two pages take the god to a new setting and a new foe. This is another outstanding installment in this story and a perfect entry point for new readers. Overall grade: A+

The art: If the story by Simonson doesn’t take you to another time and place, the artwork by him certainly will. The issue’s opening explosion and its wake sets the stage for the scale of this tale and the individual at the center of it (Pun intended for Pages 2 and 3). This skeletal Thor has no lower jaw, only darkness with an occasional flash of deep energy within that ebony. Page 6 has three outstanding vertical panels that show whom Thor wishes to contact. Without the dialogue a reader could still feel the passion coming out of the lead. The one page appearance by a familiar individual to the god shows that Simonson is as adept at illustrating life-like creatures as well as fantastic ones. Speaking of the fantastic, the antagonists Thor encounters in the latter half of the book are some of the more disturbing looking characters created to fight a hero. The cheeks of the characters shown in the fourth panel of Page 15 are especially grotesque. Simonson makes the teeth on his characters very frightening, from Thor’s lone jaw to the many sizes and shapes of the villains’ teeth. The last pages shows this focus on the dental to be terrifying. Overall grade: A+

The colors: For a book titled Ragnarok one would expect a dark and dreary end for the gods. Thankfully, Laura Martin uses bright colors befitting this setting to assist Simonson’s tale. The opening explosion is bright blue and white, which match the colors of the individual that incited it. The devastation to the city are the browns and greys one would expect in a pile of ruble and debris, but the title that appears in the bottom right has one word colored dynamically to show the focus of this installment. The pale blue eyes in Thor’s skull are a wonderful way to humanize him. Earth tones are the correct choices for the scenes in the forest, and sounds are bright to make the sounds louder. Excellent! Overall grade: A+

The letters: John Workman’s style is instantly recognizable with his thin letters. Even when a character makes an utterance in all caps, Page 4, the letters lead the reader to think they are reading a classical tale. In addition to his fantastic dialogue, Workman does an opening quote from a tome, opening title, two creatures’ squeals, sounds, and the best “To be continued…” I’ve ever seen. Workman is a sensational letterer. Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: Thor is on his way to learn why he was resurrected. Only the gods can help those that obstruct him. This is epic in every way. The end is coming and you should get this. Highest possible recommendation. 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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