Written by Matt Fraction
Illustrated by Oliver Coipel
ASGARD RISES AGAINST GALACTUS! The World Eater has come for something buried deep within the heart of Fallen Asgard. As Odin leads an assault wave of gods against Galactus, a wounded Thor must contend with the Silver Surfer once more! All of which leaves Volstagg and Kid Loki in charge of the Shining City for an afternoon. What could possibly go wrong?
Thor! Galactus! Volstagg! Matt Fraction’s (technically) volume-spanning run continues with this fusion of old and new. I didn’t care for “The World Eaters,” but I figured I’d give Fraction a second chance with the renamed title. Plus, Coipel! Follow the cut and see if I made the right choice.
Like a lot of people, I loved JMS’s revival of Thor. As great as his run was, though, it was definitely skewed more toward fantasy than sci-fi, whereas what really sets the Marvel version of the ancient god of thunder apart from the rest is that he and the stories he is in are equal parts sci-fi and fantasy. Fraction gets that. His Thor is less likely to armor up and lead a band of warriors in Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings style combat, and more likely to put on an Asgardian spacesuit and fight the Silver Surfer and Galactus in space. Fraction’s work is very much inspired by Kirby and Simonson – you can almost visualize the rawer dialogue of yesteryear lurking under Fraction’s more refined text – but he doesn’t just ape the two visionaries. Hell, the Asgardians have faced Galactus multiple times before, and still Fraction is able to make this seem like something new and exciting (while still being faithful to the preceding stories, no less).
If that’s the case, though, why does every issue of The Mighty Thor seem so incomplete? Fraction is definitely a writer that works on an arc-by-arc basis, and it can drive some people crazy. A lot of people automatically equate comics issues to chapters in a book, but that comparison isn’t exactly ideal. Unlike chapters in a book, individual issues that are included in a multi-part arc tend to have a sort of opening setup (though not necessarily an “exposition,” per se) and conclusion – even if that conclusion is a cliffhanger. More often than not, issues are more like episodes of a television series than chapters of a book. The comparison is accurate, though, when talking about Fraction’s work. Even more so than your average issue in this write-for-trade direction the market is going in, any given issue that Fraction writes is more than likely not going to be something that you can just jump into. That isn’t bad, per se, but it makes the issue part of larger whole that can be difficult judge without the rest. The writing of the comic itself is solid, with Fraction spreading the events within across just the right number of panels and pages, but I’m just not sure if I can properly judge the story based on what is contained in this issue. This doesn’t me so much with his Invincible Iron Man, which has proved time and time again that it’s worth waiting until the end of each arc, but after the flop that was “The World Eaters,” I’m not so sure if I want to continue rolling the dice by pre-ordering this book.
All that aside, how ’bout that Oliver Coipel? With his prior work on JMS’s run, Coipel garnered plenty of critical acclaim, but it’s on the latest volume that Coipel is going to earn his place as one of the greatest Thor artists of all time. His work with JMS proved that he could pull off the mythological look, but here he’s blending that hewn classicality with futuristic pizzaz just as well as Fraction is. His work is so lively that I didn’t even notice that there weren’t any sound effects when I read through it the first time. Coipel’s art just makes them redundant. Add in his willingness to avoid a basic grid, and you have an artist that will be remembered. Add to that the perfect stylistic complement of Mark Morales’s inks and the how-can-someone-be-this-good colors of Laura Martin, and you have a complete artistic team that will be renowned.Continued below
The latest issue of The Mighty Thor is pretty good, and it could be part of something great. Then again, it might not. I just can’t tell yet. Still, with absolutely gorgeous art from Oliver Coipel, high-level action, and an entertaining scene of Volstagg… well, being Volstagg, it’s at least worth a flip-through.
Final Verdict: 6.5 – Browse for now. Come back when the arc is over and I’ll let you know if it’s worth a buy.