Friday, February 17, 2012

Graphic Novel Review - The Mighty Thor vol. 1

Thor was my favorite Marvel movie of last year, and my interest in his comics quickly followed. When this new series was announced I was already thinking it was set up nicely for me to start as a relatively new reader to this character – and then with the added bonus of a scifi element (with the addition of the Silver Surfer and Galactus), well I just knew I couldn’t miss this first arc of The Mighty Thor.

Asgard, the home of the Norse Gods, has fallen to Earth and nearly destroyed in a war waged by the forces of the Dark Avengers. The fallout of that battle is still being felt, as the World Tree (a cosmic connection between worlds of Asgardian myth) has broken and revealed a powerful artifact called the Seed. Odin sends Thor and Sif to retrieve the vulnerable Seed before someone takes it’s power for their own, but the energy spike has caught the attention of one whose hunger never ceases.

Galactus comes to Earth, but this time not to devour the planet (as has been chronicled in the past with his battles against the Fantastic Four) but this time to battle the Asgardians and take the Seed. The Asgardians for their part are unwilling to part with their sacred object, and prepare for a war against Galactus and his herald the Silver Surfer. Even though Earth is not the object of Galactus desire, with two Godlike races locked in a battle, how soon will it be before the Earth itself and all life upon it is razed in the collateral damage?

Set against this backdrop of cosmic proportions are a number of smaller intertwined tales. Thor was wounded by the Seed as he was retrieving it, and the resulting wound is unlike any he has ever had before. His Asgardian friends are well represented in this book as well, from his dalliances with Sif, to his brother Loki who has been reborn as a child. Loki is trying to do right by his brother and his people, but after everything he has done in the past (despite not remembering any of it) few really trust him – and Thor’s trust will be tested most of all. Meanwhile, the Silver Surfer is faced with a moral choice where he may not be on the right side. Is it right to allow the destruction of the Earth and all its inhabitants in order to ensure that Galactus is sated for all time?

Of course the battles are spectacular in this book, when you’re dealing with two powerful heroes like Thor and Silver Surfer fighting on opposite sides things are bound to seem larger than life. The art style fits the story perfectly, I never had any trouble understanding what was going on (though there are a few confusing moments in the story that never quite gelled for me, of course this being an ongoing series, it’s possible those are threads to be revealed in future issues). The resolution to this tale was spot on, not only was it a great way to end the story, providing the only stop-gap solution that makes any sense, but it also provides lots of opportunities for future stories to spin out of this, as well as maintaining a sense that at any moment the war could begin anew. I like that kind of balance in the story, knowing that things aren’t necessarily wrapped up in a nice bow even as the current story arc comes to a close.

In case I haven’t been clear enough, I thought this first volume of The Mighty Thor was great. I’d highly recommend it to anyone whose interest was raised in the character by the recent movie, it does a good job of bringing readers up to speed with the current status of Thor and his companions in the Marvel universe, and presents an excellent story with revealing character moments all accompanied by beautiful artwork. What more could you ask for in a graphic novel?

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