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Thor's Flagship Hits The Rocks
What Has Gone Before
The Last Two Issues of Thor Were Pretty Bad
There are two reasons to be happy when one of your favorite super-heroes is on the verge of a major motion picture release. The first is of course the chance to see that hero get the big budget movie treatment. I don't know about you but, even when the movie, overall, doesn't match my expectations, I tend to find something that I love about it... even if it's only one scene. The movie "The Shadow" comes to mind. There was only one scene that I really liked in that movie. The camera is shooting The Shadow from behind and he turns to give the camera his profile with nose prominent, hat slouched, scarves billowing and guns drawn. It was perfect, that was exactly what The Shadow looks like and I thought the whole movie was worthwhile just for that image. But, I digress.
The Second good thing about a favorite super guy or gal hitting the movies is the glut of product that the comic book publisher pours into the market. Okay, sure, lots of it will be reprints of stuff we already have, so, we don't buy it.. maybe the new kids that the movie brings to the hero will buy it, and, get the back story, and hey, sometimes those reprints may fill a hole in our own collections at a reasonable price. A lot of the time it seems to get over done and some of the stuff that hits the market is, well, to be blunt, gratuitous crap. Still, there are very often diamonds in the mix.
And now.. The Mighty Thor looms on the horizon. The trailers look cool. There is every reason to believe the movie is going to be great. I know I can't wait, and, for the most part, the glut of Asgardian comic books hitting the market place are pretty darn good. (Okay, The Warriors Three was kind of gratuitous and crappy, but I really liked it anyway... what can I say.. I'm a sucker for those guys.)
The fact is, I've been pleased with all things Thor and Asgardian for close to four years ever since J.M. Straczynski brought them out of the land of the dead and back into our comic books in July of 2007. I had always been a fan of Thor and there have been some great runs in his book, whether your talking Lee and Kirby, Roy Thomas or fan favorite Walt Simonson. But since the resurrection there's been so much that is so good. Re-tellings of old eddic myths with modern story telling and great art. New spins on old characters that bring more life to them than they ever had before, witness Balder and Tyr. Thor himself, mythological in some, cosmic in others, always noble, always grandiose, whether alone, with the hosts of Asgard or with the Mighty Avengers. And let us not fail to mention the retconing of Loki to make us feel a little "Sympathy for the Devil".
The new big Marvel "event" "Fear Itself" looks to be highly Asgard centric and so far looks really good. It looks like this year it's going to be hard to look around in a comic book shop without seeing great comics with Thor or Asgardian mythology front and center. Pretty good for a character that, according to Joseph Campbell got his start in prehistory.
However, as true as all of the above may be, the last two issues of Thor (620 and 621) were awful. The build up to these stories was pretty good, asking the question, what fills the space left behind when Asgard is moved to Midgard, with the implication that whatever it is, it's unbeatable and scary. (Great Shades of H.P. Lovecraft.) But in these two issues the writing and art just deteriorated into gibberish. The story got nonsensical. Think about it, these gods have faced Ragnarok after Ragnarok, even been completely destroyed and they never before have tried the magics that Odin pulls out of his hat to deal with this new menace because for the first time, there is no hope without it? Come on. And the Art? Please, it's barely possible to distinguish the good guys from each other until only Thor is still fighting. Why the plot device has to prevent him from looking like some version of Thor, I'll never understand and the bad guys are similarly cursed with every single one of them looking exactly the same. Need I add that the unstoppable bad guys seemed to be stopped fairly easily and in the end are shown not to be an infinite engine of destruction but a small pack of whiny wimps?
Look, I hate the idea of being overly critical but I'm currently unemployed and these books cost me close to eight bucks. I deserve better for that much money. Especially when everything else with the word Thor stamped on it is so good. This was the character's flagship title the mainstream of Marvel's take on Thor by which everything else they do with him should be measured. Marvel should be ashamed to have printed them.
Above I mentioned that I like super-hero movies even if I only find one scene worthwhile. I try to be that way about everything. My mother raised me to believe that if you can't say something nice, you shouldn't say anything at all. In these two comic books I didn't find a single thing that I enjoyed.
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