Norse warriors in space – gods and frogs fighting in the cosmos. What more could you ask for? The title alone is hilarious enough, but can it carry a comic? Read on and find out!
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Matteo Lolli
Colored by Frederico Blee
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Spinning out of the events of INFINITY WARS comes an epic space opera from DEADPOOL veterans Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli! Angela, the not-so-beloved half-sister of Thor. The hotheaded Valkyrie – and the human who shares her form, Annabelle Riggs. Skurge the Executioner, freshly returned from Hel. Throg, the mightiest frog of thunder. Kevin Masterson, the boy who took his father’s mace to become the hero Thunderstrike. And the Destroyer, the Asgardian armor built to take down Celestials – its wielder unknown. The events of INFINITY WARS set NEBULA off on a quest to rule the galaxy – wielding an Asgardian weapon even Thor would fear – and it’s up to this team of gods, assassins, frogs and heroes to stop her.
If there’s one thing that Thor: Ragnarok and certain parts of Avengers: Infinity War taught us, it’s that the “Thor” characters can work well and thrive in a cosmic environment. With the chaos of “Infinity Wars” well underway, what better time than now to toss a selection of the Asgardian characters into space?
In a less-skilled writer’s hands, the two elements might not blend well at all. Fortunately, Cullen Bunn effortlessly connects the cosmic to the godly. Whether it’s using a fragment of the Bifrost to power a spaceship, trolls and Chituari fighting side-by-side, or finding dwarves of Nidavellir tossed out into space, the two sides of the story complement and enhance each other. It blends the Asgardian and the galactic all very naturally.
The story itself hits the ground running. It pulls us into the narrative and action as suddenly as Anabelle Riggs (currently serving as the viewpoint character) gets pulled into it herself, then quickly skips ahead to the middle of combat.
The battle itself is a fine time to introduce the characters, as their personalities shine through in their tactics, banter, and techniques. Each character has a very distinct voice, and they’re made clear early on in the combat, whether it’s Thunderstrike’s overconfidence or the connection between Anabelle and Valkyrie.
Of course, the best introduction has to be from Throg, because who doesn’t like seeing a frog with all the powers of Thor kick some butt?
While Angela is technically the team leader, it’s Anabelle that we primarily follow (save for when she’s replaced with Valkyrie). As the closest one to a normal human (“normal” being a very relative term) she serves as the voice of exposition and reason, and her archeological knowledge allows her to relay information to us readers at the same time as it does to the rest of the cast.
The “Asgardians of the Galaxy” cast itself draws from a good array of characters from the “Thor” comics. Those who haven’t been keeping up with everything Thor-related may be a bit lost, but a character list at the end of the issue helps catch everyone up on the important aspects of each member of the cast.
Matteo Lolli’s artwork is practically made for this series. Each action-packed scene is loaded with designs and motion, lighting and lasers, and plenty of gratuitous violence. Frederico Blee’s color work blends perfectly with it, contrasting the red and orange of the battlefields with the black and blue night sky.
Outside of the battles, the artwork remains solid. There are little touches to each of the designs that properly blend the Asgardian and the cosmic aspects of this comic, such as the spaceship leaving behind a rainbow trail as its Bifrost-powered engine sends it forward. Matteo Lolli’s character work gives us some nice expressions and details when we get to see them up close, although of course the details do get a little sparse once they’re further away.
We also get some chilling moments, like the frozen corpses of dwarves floating in the emptiness of space. Once more, Frederico Blee’s colors set a great tone while adding life to the scene, with the blue and white bodies – stained with just a hint of red – drift against a black background and a green-tinted galaxy.Continued below
In short, the artistic team is a perfect combination for bringing this comic to life. It’s bright, otherworldly, and features some very solid world and character designs. It’s exactly what a comic about Asgardians in space should be.
When the threat gets introduced, we see how it works in both a cosmic and mythological sense. Its connection to the Norse mythology aspects of Marvel is appropriate and adds new layers of meaning onto previous Ragnarok-level events, but its purpose and use in a spacefaring story is also appropriate.
Finally, we must return to the characters to analyze their relations. Just the way the characters speak or defer to each other makes it clear where they stand in regards to one another, but that also comes through in subtle ways. Angela’s comments and glances towards the Destroyer armor, for instance, hint that whoever is controlling it is someone of importance.
And oh is it ever. I won’t spoil who by revealing it in the comics, but the reveal did cause a squeal of delight from more than a few readers while at the same time raising a lot of questions that Cullen Bunn will answer in due time.
All in all, “Asgardians of the Galaxy” #1 is exactly what we were hoping for. It’s a rag-tag band of demigods fighting aliens and monsters in space, flying in a ship powered by Asgardian magic, and clashing against foes and their own personalities. The artwork is perfectly suited for the style, the characters all have strong personalities and enjoyable banter, and it kicks things off with plenty of solid action.
Final Verdict: 8.9 – A fun, space-swashbuckling adventure with a great cast of gods and godlings. Solid character work, good pacing, and artwork that’s both fitting and frequently beautiful. It’s just what you’d want out of a book with its title.