In Review: Thor #8

A epic story with stunning art that does not disappoint. Long may the Goddess of Thunder reign!

The covers: The Main cover is what Thor fans have been wondering for some time: Who is this Thor? This is the issue that reveals it, and the cover teases readers about this unveiling, or in this case unhelmeting. Against a black backdrop, Thor removes her helmet, and a bolt of lightning blazes behind her, casting the normally red aspects of her clothing into a pale shade of violet. Good cover that alerts readers to this being a defining moment. It was penciled by interior artist Russell Dauterman and colored by interior colorist Matthew Wilson. There’s also a Variant cover and it’s by Mike Mayhew. This shows Thor happily flying over the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, just above an oversized balloon of Captain America. Cool idea for a cover and there’s some good work on the building that surround the pair and the people on the ground. Overall grades: Main B+ and Variant B

The story: “The Woman Beneath the Mask” by Jason Aaron begins right in the thick of things as Thor, Odinson, his mother Freyja, and several super powered women of the Marvel Universe are doing battle with the Destroyer that’s under Odin’s command. He has instigated this conflict so as to take the hammer from this woman who’s wielding it. Several heroines are swatted aside, all the while Odin is able to watch the progress of his metal monster, whose handler, his brother Cul, reports their progress, asking “What should be done with these foolish she-gnats, my lord? Say it and Cul the Destroyer shall make it so.” But the All-Father has turned away from the carnage, unable to witness the heroes’ plight. This is an incredibly epic battle, including the fury of the Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman, Ms. Marvel, and Karnilla. The event that ends the fight on Page 8 is a brilliant bit of storytelling by Aaron, showing the power of one character to terminate this encounter in a very unorthodox way, and it makes Odin look every bit the villain. Outstanding. After the victors leave, Thor and the Odinson have a moment, where the original God of Thunder tells Thor he knows who she is. Her reactions are terrific as are his on Page 13. The final four pages reveal who this Goddess of Thunder is and it’s a great reveal. I was overjoyed at the identity of the character and then left feeling frantic knowing what the hammer is doing to her. Overall grade: A+

The art: Russell Dauterman is the gold standard for Thor of the 21st century. The opening double-paged spread as the heroines arrive to confront the Destroyer is a detailed Who’s Who of the Marvel Universe. The metallic monster’s reaction is spectacular as it stands still before this onslaught. When the newly arrived fall down before its might, Thor returns to the fray, bashing the villain on the head with Mjolnir. Every panel of the battle contains so many details one could lose him or herself in the visuals. Even when characters are in the background, such as the Black Widow in the first panel on Page 4, she looks amazing. The mystical energies that comes out of those magic users is breathtaking. Every twirl of power and bolt of electricity is stunning. The points of view that Dauterman uses to tell this story are awesome. The bottom panel of Page 5 is great for taking a real low angle of the action, looking up at the Odinson, who’s up close and personal, while in the distance Thor powers up for her next strike. If this doesn’t qualify as epic, nothing does in comic books any more. I really like the angle taken in the third panel on Page 8, which shows a hero in dire straights from the villain’s point of view. The emotion on that individual’s face is perfection. Thor’s transformation on 19 is powerful with the reveal on Page 20 being awe-inspiring and frightening. It doesn’t get any better than this. Overall grade: A+

The colors: This work is glorious. Matthew Wilson injects so much life and power into Dauterman’s work with his colors, time must spent on what he’s done. Look at the vibrant choice of colors for the arrival of the heroes on Pages 2 and 3. Everything outside the portal is a faded, dead violet, making this battle already seem lost to the lifeless. When Thor attacks in the final panel on 3 the background explodes in neon blue that highlight the yellow and red in Thor and the energy coming off the Destroyer. In Asgardia, as Odin watches the battle, the colors are a frosty blue, representing the cold nature of the All-Father to this imposter with the hammer. Page 4 is my favorite of the book. All the magic being directed at the Destroyer is just flat-out beautiful. I hope Wilson never leaves this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Rounding out this book’s list of excellent contributors is VC’s Joe Sabino. He’s crafted Asgardian narration and dialogue, scene setting, “normal” characters’ dialogue, sounds, laughter, and the tease for next issue. Sabino has completely swayed me from my hate of the gods’ speech–it commands a royal quality that instantly demands attention, as the gods would. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A epic story with stunning art that does not disappoint. Long may the Goddess of Thunder reign! 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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