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Thor: Reign of Blood

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Thor: Reign of Blood

Credits

  • Words: Matt Fraction
  • Art: Khari Evans & Patrick Zircher
  • Inks: Victor Olazaba & Patrick Zircher
  • Colors: Matt Milla & June Chung
  • Story Title: Reign of Blood
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jun 25, 2008

Thor: Reign of Blood boldly creates new Norse myths featuring Marvel's version of the Gods. The second issue of the Thor: Ages of Thunder trilogy, Matt Fraction delivers gripping tales in classical style.

Set in the "era of the twenty-third Ragnarok," the two part myth told in Thor: Reign of Blood draws on the classic style of the original myths, giving us a satisfying addition to the Norse canon. Plunged into an ice age brought on by the Daughter of the Frost Giants, the men of Midgard turn to their Gods for survival. Thor's actions in slaying a Frost Giant compels the vindictive giantess to freeze the world, and it is revealed that Odin himself had a history with her. Aside from the common motif of Gods vs. Giants, many common elements of the Norse myth are presented including gifts from Dwarves, the trickery of Loki, and the forging of great weapons.

The second part of the issue deals with the Enchantress' curse as she takes revenge on a jealous Odin. Thor becomes the power behind a giant machine known as the Colossus of Blood and proceeds to battle the reanimated corpses of every man who has ever died. The point of this myth is to explain the origin of the eight-legged horse Sleipnir, who becomes Thor's steed rather than Odin's. The authors deviate from the classic myth, but draw on some of the elements. The rams that pull Thor's chariot are re-imagined as horses, and mankind again proves his unworthiness and treachery to the Thunder God. The tales are not perfect, with some distinctly modern idioms uttered by medieval men, but overall they are a great read.

I remember first discovering the Norse Gods in a well-worn volume in my elementary school library. Simplified and watered down for a young audience, the myths retained their magical qualities, and it spawned a fascination with Norse mythology I retain to this day. Shortly after discovering them, I bought a copy of Thor #350 by Walt Simonson, and have been hooked by Marvel's Norse Gods ever since. Matt Fraction has created two new, fascinating myths set in a time out of time. The characters act like the Gods of legend, rather than the more heroic Marvel versions. I am not sure if these Thor: Ages of Thunder one shots, are setting the stage for stories in modern continuity or whether these are intended to stand on their own and add color to the past of these Gods. Either way, these are fantastic myths sure to please any fan of Marvel's Thor, and probably anyone appreciating the Norse legends.

Coming off a stint on Terror Inc. where nearly every page is drenched in blood, Patrick Zircher illustrates the second chapter, wherein Thor battles the dead and the sky is literally raining blood. If he is not already, Zircher must be close to claiming the title of King of Comics Gore. His work has extraordinary detail, and is truly a wonder to behold. Khari Evans and Victor Olazaba illustrate the opening chapter with much less blood, but no less skill. Both art teams succeed in creating the fantasy/medieval setting with excellent backgrounds and costumes.

The Thor resurrection continues, with the monthly title in capable hands, and the tremendous one shots delivering some classical stuff. I am glad to see one of my favorite characters being given such quality treatment. It's not a bad time to be a Thor fan.

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