For roughly the past decade, Marvel Editorial has been trying valiantly to turn back the clock for their monthly comic book characters. For example, after Grant Morrison advanced the X-Men in his run on the comic on which humanity discovered it had a scant twenty five years before it became extinct and mutants took over, Marvel undid all that progress by making mutants a minority again and the X-Men now have Sentinels on their front lawn watching their every move. Spider-Man became married and even an Avenger. Now he is on the run from the Mighty Avengers, police and many of his former friends and the life expectancy of his wife is looking dimmer than that of Aunt May.
In the case of The Mighty Thor, it’s more complicated.
Thor was killed off in an incredible storyline by Michael Avon Oeming called Ragnarök in which he destroyed the great weaving machine that kept him in an endless cycle. Not only Thor, but all of the Asgardians were no more. It was a stunning read and sadly missed by many comic readers at the time. I’m hoping that as this new series gains momentum, fans will journey over to the bookshelf to read the collection.
In J.Michael Straczynski‘s new series, Thor is compelled to return to reality from the void we left him in because there is work to be done. The weird bit is that it is his human half, the Doctor Donald Blake, who coaxes him back. Through battle and struggle with demons of the netherworld, Thor regains his consciousness and is back. Given the craziness that has transpired in his absence (In Civil War, Tony Stark cloned Thor from a strand of the thunder god’s hair and turned his creation into a killing machine), the return is not a pleasant one.
What JMS and new artist to the character Olivier Copiel (last seen in the pages of the successful House of M series) accomplish is classic Marvel Comics magic. As many readers of my blog may have noticed, I’ve been reading mostly DC Comics lately. As the quality of DC has (in my opinion) wavered of late, I decided to look back at the House of Ideas for ways to squander my hard-earned cash. It’s too bad because there are lots of great comics coming out from Marvel. I’m going to have to find money somewhere to catch up on what I have missed.
Anyone want my Justice League of America 1-13?
The first three issues of the new Thor have sold out. This lead to my missing out and ultimately Marvel collecting them in one collection called The Mighty Thor 1-3. While admittedly the first issue is quite slow, the remaining issues are full of humor, drama and action. They are so good that I thought I was reading a Stan Lee/John Buscema comic. This is what makes Marvel and DC so different. Many readers (myself included) have said that it’s character over icon, and that’s partly true, but it goes deeper than that.
In the second issue of The Mighty Thor, the thunder god recreates Asgard in the middle of a deserted stretch of land in Oklahoma. Despondent, he sits on a lonely throne wondering what to do and is stirred from his thoughts by a police car horn. He descends the grand steps of Asgard to get yelled at by a cop for building on private property. The entire hilarious and absurd scenario is told very well, but mixes the everyday with the fantastic, something that Stan Lee and company did from day one with the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.
It’s this mixture of the commonplace Joe and the Gods of legend that make Marvel so spectacular. Before the heroes versus heroes and edgy heroes that kill, it was this dichotomy of banal and amazing moments that made Marvel Comics what it is today.
The new look of Thor is quite fetching and fits in with his new ‘angry thunder god’ routine. So far, the story is that Thor is rounding up the other ‘sleeping’ Asgardians from the world of men and building a new Asgard. When Iron Man stops by to talk Thor into registering with the government as is law, Thor all but calls a curse down on any United States officer foolish enough to step foot on New Asgard. The outcome of the argument is a very rattled and defeated Tony Stark agreeing to accept that Thor‘s home is a sovereign nation on American soil and good thing for him, Thor accepts that and lets the issue rest.I have great hope for this new series. If you have the opportunity, I strongly recommend that you pick up this three-in-one collection. Its a strong indication of where Marvel Comics has been trying to go in the last ten years and if it stays true, it’ll be quite a fun ride.
Avengers Disassembled: Thor
Marvel Visionaries: John Buscema HC (Marvel Visionaries)