Overview

Thor #9

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Thor #9

Credits

  • Words: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Art: Olivier Coipel
  • Inks: Mark Morales, Danny Miki & John Dell
  • Colors: Laura Martin
  • Story Title: Forced Perspective
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: May 28, 2008

The Asgardians on Midgard continue their quest for meaning in the brave new world after Ragnarok. Loki may be female, but the Trickster maintains her wily ways.

Halfway through this, the ninth issue of the reboot of the monthly Thor comic, I started to have pangs of impatience. While I appreciate the humorous touches of a group of Norse Gods and heroes learning the ways of the modern world, there are only so many "culture clash" episodes one can tolerate before shouting, "get on with the story already!" And thankfully, J. Michael Straczynski gets on with the story already, albeit at the end, with a cliffhanger ending. Though I'm still unclear why Loki has been reincarnated as a female on Midgard, she stirs the pot quite thoroughly with Balder the Brave, who is going through a crisis of purpose. Now that Ragnarok is done and not coming back, the old prophecies are invalid, and Balder wonders what new fate awaits him. Seizing on his vulnerability, Loki sends him on a quest to find Frost Giants, who have found a home in the Rocky Mountains. When will these silly Gods learn not to trust Loki?

Olivier Coipel's art is fantastic as usual, and though I could spend paragraphs lauding his excellent pencils, I want to concentrate on one thing: the Frost Giants! Coipel renders these bright blue behemoths trudging through the snow with huge battle-axes drawn, and elephant tusks framing their faces. Formidable and deadly opponents for Gods are few and far between, but these Frost Giants fit the bill beautifully. More than static pinup shots, Coipel pits them in battle with Balder in several well designed pages. I hope we get to see his renditions of the classic villains of the Thor mythology, especially Ulik the Troll, and Malekith the Dark Elf!

It's obvious Straczynski is having a great deal of fun with this title. I like his characterization of the Warriors Three, especially Volstagg whose latest ambition is to join the Avengers. Heimdall is brooding, but funny. Hogun enjoys hunting boar in the Kingdom of Texas. And Kelda has found herself a fine human admirer, who attempts to teach the Asgardians the finer points of playing basketball. These are unique touches, and entertaining, but the sum total of them is a storyline that is meandering rather than developing. I've read enough of Straczinski's work to trust his plotting, but as a single issue, this one was missing something. The astute among you may have noticed it. If not, here's a clue, I haven't mentioned him yet in this review.

You guessed it. The blonde God of Thunder barely appears in the issue at all! Despite the powerful cover with a crashing Mjolnir and Thor commanding lightning itself, he appears in a total of five panels. As much as I love the mythic cast, Goldilocks is the character I buy the comic for, and want to see featured in the book. Again, I trust Straczinski enough to be patient, and he's got some nice stuff cooking, but a Thor comic should have Thor in it, and he should say at least once, "I say thee, nay!" Well, that last part might not be absolutely essential, but you get the point.

Straczynski has set up a pleasing direction for the Thor comic, and enough subplots to keep things interesting for a good while. Despite the pause in plotting of this issue, I foresee great things ahead for Marvel's version of the Norse Gods. This is a fresh take on the characters and the material and well worth following.

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