A new Thor title out just in time for a new Thor movie. Is it a good issue, and is it a good starting point for new readers?
The Mighty Thor spins off as the main Thor title reverts back to its original name of Journey into Mystery. Some may say this is a marketing gimmick, to have an issue one ready and on the stands just in time for the new Thor movie out May 6. Those people would be right.
This issue one is a direct follow up to Fraction’s recent work on the aforementioned Thor book, where the World Eaters have recently failed an invasion of Earth and the World Tree that connects the nine realms of Norse myth has taken root outside of Asgard and Broxton, Oklahoma. Does that make sense to newbies? To the hypothetical masses that will check out this book because of all the movie hype?
Fraction does a good job in narration and dialog exposition to keep a reader informed and entertained. For instance, this first arc – titled “The Galactus Seed” – actually features ol’ purple hat, and his entire character is explained simply enough for new readers to get who he is (which is good for a character not typically associated with Thor). His writing carries the expected tone of these godly beings, and it gets readers more into the characters.
The story itself is off to a good start, intertwining the mythic aspect of the Asgardians and their realms with the cosmic aspect of Galactus and the Silver Surfer. Fraction also does a good job maintaining this fantasy element and keeping the generic superhero feel out of the book.
The knocks against this issue are, even with Fraction’s exposition, it’s not a good first issue for new readers (as the book is obviously for), and it’s very much a part of Fraction’s just-finished run on Thor that it feels like it should be in that title instead. Plus the book is a bit heavy on the Christian church usage and a bit light on real hammer-bashing action (except in a weird ethereal space suit). Otherwise, as I eventually enjoyed Fraction’s first run (bit of a slow start), I look forward to what he does here.
Olivier Coipel returns to the character after having relaunched the character with J. Michael Straczynski back in 2007. His Thor is stockier than usual, more akin to what one would expect from a Viking, and that’s an interesting look that works on Thor. Coipel also knows how to bring the eye candy with an especially revealing shot of Sif.
Needless to say, the book looks good, but there are some design choices I question. First off, Thor, Sif and Loki’s ethereal space suits? It’s just weird to see these god-like beings need environmental protection to survive. Otherwise, what’s the point of being a god? It’s like Superman wearing a space suit. It’s not really necessary and the ornate designs look ridiculous.
Coipel also lays it on a bit too thick with the pastor, who is chubby and constantly has a slimy expression that has “manipulative villain in disguise” written all over it.
Generally though, those are minor. It’s a fine-looking book.
I really just have one problem with this, and it’s the whole marketing gimmick of taking this story out of the main Thor/Journey into Mystery book just to have a new issue #1 in time for the new movie. It’s not a good jumping point for new readers. If you are new to the character, start on Straczynski/Coipel’s 2007 Thor #1 and go from there. If you already read that series and liked Fraction’s run, continue here.
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10