Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Mighty Thor Vol. 2

The Mighty Thor Vol. 2
When Thor eats cheese before bed,
his dreams get super wierd.

Writer: Matt Fraction

Artist: Pascal Ferry and Pepe Larraz

Read as trade paperback.

Background Info:

You may not know Thor if you’ve been living under a rock for a while. I mean, the dude’s been in three movies so far, not to mention that there’s a whole tradition of Norse mythology that focuses on the God of Thunder.

What you may not be familiar with, however, is the event Fear Itself, in which Thor’s uncle, The Serpent, decided to raise hell on earth. The crossover-event saw Thor killed at the end of the story, which is possibly the second favourite pastime of superheroes.


Credit goes to Marvel to not trying to trick us into thinking Thor’s death was permanent. C’mon, man, it’s the superhero genre; nobody’s buying that “dead means dead” shtick. In fact, Marvel goes the opposite way in The Mighty Thor and gives us a return of Thor only a few issues after Fear Itself. Thankfully, lest this be an “over in one issue” story, writer Matt Fraction decides to draw it out a bit by giving us a plot that, while interesting, is grossly underutilised.

Immediately following Thor’s funeral, a new god of thunder emerges. This year’s model is Tanarus. And not only does he replace the thunder god, but his presence wipes Thor’s memory completely out of the memory of almost every Asgardian. The only one is Asgard or Earth who seems to remember Thor is the now child Loki, who takes it upon himself to set matters right.

If Fraction had chosen to stick solely with that part of the plot, I think we would have had a much better plot than we do now. Instead, though, Fraction decides to let us know what Thor’s doing at the time as well. Thor is on his way to be eaten by a creature called the Demogorge. Naturally, that would be a bad thing, so he has to escape. It’s these parts of the book that feel profoundly uninspired. The Demogorge has no personality. I get it that he’s a monster, but even for a monster the Demorgorge has no personality. He’s as blandly drawn as he is written; looking more like a developing baby in utero than anything fearsome. What makes it worse is that Fraction fails to convince anyone that Thor is in any real danger. It’s obvious from the get-go that Thor’s going to make it out and get back to Asgard without even getting blood on his golden locks.

That said, Fraction and the volume’s multiple artists do a fantastic job at creating Tanarus. At first glance, Tanarus appears almost to be an alternate universe version of Thor. But as the story progresses, very real differences set in. Tanarus’ squat facial features and inhuman expressions become a world apart from the more noble-looking Thor. What’s more, Tanarus’ attitude is appalling. He’s brash, misogynistic and completely uncouth. It’s a nice way to get the reader behind Thor, but it’s one of those things that just make’s Thor’s battle against the Demogorge even more tedious; you just want to see whether Thor’s nobility really can defeat Tanarus’ brutality.

The Mighty Thor is by no means a fantastic book, but it does its job; it brings Thor back from the dead. The main story is told well enough, but it’s marred by elements too ridiculous and predictable to be truly enjoyable it gets a two and a half out of five rocks to live under.

** ½

+ Tanarus is great.

+ Half the story is really quite interesting

- The Demogorge is pathetic.

- Predictable to the end.

Alternate Option: Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon

The Mighty Thor is not Matt Fraction’s best work, but Hawkeye manages to give readers a glimpse of Fraction at his best.

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