Tuesday, 12 April 2011

‘Marvel Visionaries: The Mighty Thor’ – Warren Ellis & Mike Deodato (Marvel Comics)

Think of Marvel Comics and what’s the first character that springs to mind? For me it would probably be Spiderman but hot on his heels would probably be Iron Man and the Hulk. If you asked me to name five Marvel superheroes off the top of my head (or even ten) then Thor probably wouldn’t come anyway near that list but he’s been around for a while now fighting crime with the best of them. In a universe that’s full to the brim (and beginning to overflow) with superheroes it’s inevitable that some of them will fall off the radar and I guess that’s what happened with Thor and I. I was too busy reading ‘X-Men’ comics and he was too busy fighting Norse gods to really care what I was doing. If it hadn’t been for my wife picking up ‘The Mighty Thor’ in the library last week then I guess we would have gone our separate ways and never met. As it was, I had the chance to find out what Thor was all about for the first time and, as fun as it was at times, I don’t think I’ll be going back for any more.

‘Marvel Visionaries: The Mighty Thor’ collects ‘Thor’ #491-494 along with #498-500 and that’s a fair obstacle in itself to overcome for a new reader like me. If you’ve read a good chunk of those other issues of ‘Thor’ then you’re fine but if you haven’t... Well, even though the two tales here are fairly self contained, this book kind of assumes that you’ve been keeping up with your ‘Thor’ and doesn’t want to hang around for those who haven’t. There’s a lot here that might not make sense to the first time reader but long term fans shouldn’t have any trouble at all.
Now, it’s not the book’s fault that I haven’t been keeping up with my ‘Thor’ so I’m not going to blame it for that. What I wasn’t so keen on though was how the stories themselves were handled. In issues 491-494 the world tree Yggdrasil itself is trying to kill Thor out of a misguided belief that Ragnarok has already happened and I could get my head around that. What I couldn’t get my head around though was the shoehorning of a random character in so there could be an explanation behind Yggdrasil behaving in the way it did. I was also left bemused at why so much time and effort was put into developing the character Warren Curzon when nothing was actually done with him at all. Things felt rather flat when I saw his eventual fate, what was the point of all the work that went into him in the first place?

I also wasn’t too keen on Ellis’ take on Wagner’s ‘Ring Cycle’ though. Jamming Thor into an operatic setting not only felt contrived (some of the explanations that they had to come up with were awkward to say the least) but also like it had been done before. The end result was fun but very confusing at the same time, more confusing than it had to be.
Mike Deodato’s artwork gives the story vibrancy and a life all of it’s own but isn’t enough to carry the whole book which is pretty much what it ends up doing. Are there any other ‘Thor’ books that you think I should pick up? This one really didn’t do it for me...

Five out of Ten.

1 comment:

martin said...

Try and find the Walt Simonson run on Thor:

Thor #337-355, #357-369, #371-382; Balder the Brave #1-4


One of the best comic runs I've read in my opinion