Welcome back to my summer binge of J. Michael Straczynski’s 2007 “Thor” Omnibus. After rereading Jason Aaron’s run and looking back into Walt Simonson’s epic run, I wanted to delve deeper into the stories of Marvel’s God of Thunder, so I found this book at my LCS and decided to give it a go. This week, Stracynski pushes Thor onto the sidelines and focuses more on the supporting cast, as Loki’s sinister plans come to fruition.
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Penciled by Olivier Copiel
Inked by Mark Morales, Danny Miki, John Dell, Allen Martinez, Victor Olazaba, and Andy Lanning,
Colored by Laura Martin,
Lettered by Chris Eliopoulos
J. Michael Stracyznski Olivier Coipel and company have given us quite a tale thus far in an Asgard reborn. We have seen the rebirth of gods, and were given an origin of sorts for the All-Father, Odin. This next chapter once again puts our titular hero on the periphery and instead focuses more on Balder and Loki. Loki’s plans start to come into focus within these issues. We see that the god of mischief and lies has indeed turned over a new leaf, however, she still exceeds in manipulating others. She convinces Balder that though they are “free” from their slumber, the gods of Asgard are confined to the mortal realm, and should be held accountable by mortal laws. Yes, Thor gave them their freedom but because they do not quite understand the Mid-gard they are like caged birds. This is made clear when Balder questions his purpose and Loki tells him of frost giants on the loose around the Rocky Mountains. Balder saves a father and his son, but in doing so slaughters some frost giants, subjecting the boy to a murder scene. Thor tells Balder that while he is free to make his own life, their are rules in Midgard that must be followed for the gods and humans to live in peace. This emphasizes Loki’s point that Thor is only following in Odin’s footsteps in the way he rules Asgard.
Loki continues to sink her teeth into Balder by revealing that Balder is in fact the son of Odin and a prince of Asgard. Stracysnki and Coipel spend the entirety of the issue unfolding Balder’s conception and what’s more is that Thor has known about Balder’s true lineage and has neglected to tell Balder. Balder confronts Thor and the god of Thunder expresses his sorrow for not telling his half-brother. He says that in his shame he didn’t know how to properly tell Balder and kept putting it off. Thor, at the insistence of Loki, holds a coronation party in front of all of Asgard, so that all the gods may know of Balder’s true parentage. Whatever Loki’s plan, we can be sure that Balder is part of it.
The next issue follows Loki and Balder as they oversee a contest of sorts, where Volstagg leads a team of gods in a makeshift capture the flag game. It’s revealed that the gods are warriors who lust for valor and these contests may not satiate their appetites. Meanwhile, J. Michael Stracyznski uses Thor to send a political message. Much like the issue involing New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, Straczynski uses Thor’s friendship with a fallen Steve Rogers to reflect his feelings about the political climate in 2008. He even references the 2008 presidential election. It’s quite an odd addition, but doesn’t feel too forced. A year after Captain America’s “death” Straczynski shows Thor mourning his friend and for a single minute blacks out all the media coverage. Again, one can easily date this story, if not for the plainly stated date, but by Straczynski’s inclusion of politics.
Finally, we get an issue completely devoted to Loki. We see Loki enact their plan and discover a terrible truth about their new form. As it turns out, Loki had to find a guise to make Thor trust them. Loki therefore has stolen Sif’s body and her spirit is trapped in Jane Foster’s cancer patient. Loki goes to Hela, in Las Vegas and asks for her help. She assists Loki by making sure Sif’s body does not wither away. Loki in his true form travels back in time to meet his younger self and manipulate events to come. He also gets to strike the killing blow to Laufey in the frost giant’s battle with Odin.Continued below
Once again Olivier Coipel’s art is fantastic. Coipel manages to make a slow paced few issues feel important and Laura Martin’s colors give the art it’s mood. From the somber scene with Captain America’s “ghost” to Loki and Hela’s Las Vegas menacingly green suite, the art team definitely has a grip on what tones Straczynski’s script calls for.
For a book titled “Thor,” the main character is not often featured. Straczynski instead seems more inclined to focus on other cast members with Loki, Balder, and even Bill from Broxton getting most of the spotlight in these four issues. That’s not a bad thing, just different and not what I was expecting at all. Join me next week as “Thor” celebrates its 600th issue. What will become of Sif? And what will become of Loki? Tune in next time.