As I start writing my review this week I have one resounding thought running as my internal monologue. So what do I say? Normally I have a good understanding of the character and background, some of the more outstanding nuances and foibles and know where I’m going but this week, if I’m honest, I’m finding things tricky. Not because the comic is bad or it looks wrong, but because I am very aware of the timing of both the launch and the recent movie tie-in that Marvel have put on our cinema screens.
Having not read anything that is specifically about Thor, or really followed him outside of brief encounters as guest appearances or crossovers, you could say that I have a completely innocent perspective, but isn’t that what it’s all about?
The first thing I need to mention about the issue is the cover. It’s bright, powerful and full of energy. There is a point around the centre of the image that everything is bursting out of which is great to see. It also adds some further intrigue, as you see not only Thor staring out at you but also the Silver Surfer.
The issue has been written by Matt Fraction, who I am liking more and more. Currently writing on both Fear Itself and Invincible Iron Man, you get the feeling that he is covering all bases. Especially seeing as he recently stepped down from Uncanny X-Men! From the outset there is a very human and theological point made revolving around the fall and rebuilding of Asgard and essentially who or what is god. A very bold step made in a nondescript way for all religions. But it does leave you wondering where it is all going. By the end of the issue I can see tangible links between religion, the Norse “guests” and Galactus. That said, I may be over-thinking what was really being put forward here about the significance of beings in the grand scheme of things no matter who or what you are.
As an opening issue I am also not surprised to see multiple storylines and narratives which don’t seemingly cross as yet, but that is all to come I’m sure. A sticking point for me, however, was the lack of continuity with the other titles. Especially considering who is writing them. Given that we are in the infant stages of Marvel's big event you would think that a pivotal character would be bound closer to it.
The writing has an easy to follow, almost literal, feel to it but at times can be a little word heavy. I did find myself skimming at one point and still fully grasping all around me. This could also be the storylines and diversity.
The outstanding pieces for me though were Coipel’s big pages. There are a couple where a single page is dedicated to an image and the odd word. Supported by Mark Morales inking, I think that the two pages containing the Silver Surfer are phenomenal. In a simple combination of body positioning and posture - entwined with an understated but apt background - there has been created two images which, although contradictory in elements, speak more than anything else in the entire issue. It’s just a shame that at this point in time they have nothing to do with the cover character. Normally I am a fan of huge amounts of detail and fine line work (for example Larroca) but in this instance I’m sold! Conversely though, I’m not completely taken by the smaller frames.
The individual elements of the issue are good, but can come across as confusing when put together. I am also left with an overwhelming idea that this has been created to capture an audience off of the back of the cinema release even though it follows more the current environment as opposed to the screenplay.
I’m unsure about this one, beautiful yet flawed.