LAST WEEK’S COMICS TODAY VOL 13
Welcome back everyone to another installment of LAST WEEK’S COMICS TODAY! Well more like LAST WEEK’S COMIC TODAY, as we’ll only be looking at one book this week, but it’s a doozy. The All-New All-Female THOR! It been another big break from the column and another format change – but we are leaner and meaner than ever. That’s what I’m telling myself at least.
So on with the show!
THOR #1 (MARVEL)
W/ Jason Aarron
A/ Russel Dauterman
It’s finally here, the much heralded and anticipated debut of female Thor. After the announcement of this change months ago by Marvel, the Internet was abuzz with questions about who she was and why she would take up the mantle of Thor.
And in her first issue she only actually appears on the last page.
But that’s okay, because there’s a whole bunch of build up in this issue before she actually shows up. Important build up, mind you, not just bloviated filler fluff. I haven’t read any Thor comics previous to this one, so this little preamble was very helpful for me, and I assume anyone else who’s up to date on Thor’s status in the greater Marvel Universe.
Essentially, Man-Thor has lost the ability to wield Mjolnir (I always have to Google how to spell this). He’s become unworthy to call the thunder. Something happened to him in the last big Marvel event ORIGINAL SIN (didn’t read that either) which stripped him of his worthiness. This is the first big mystery the issue poses to us.
The gods of Asgard have gathered on the moon where the hammer is buried and Thor has been moping about since becoming unworthified. Freyja attempts to console her son while Odin berates him for his lunar-bound gloom. The All Father even tries to take Mjolnir himself, but to no avail, but to much cursing instead. There’s bit of an allusion her Freyja might be the new Thor, as she’s leaving the moon with Odin, he makes a comments about her remembering her place in the world and she takes a contemplative glance at the hammer. I’m going assume that this is way to overt to be anything more than a red herring. That’s our second mystery.
Back on Midgard, or Earth as I like to call it, Frost Giants led my Malekith the Accursed (who looks nothing like Christopher Eccleston did in THE DARK WORLD – this Malekith is much more Spritely Anime Elf than Hellboy Castoff Elf) lead an assault on an underwater Roxxon facility in search of some secret mystical item. Third Mystery (This is regular Journey Into Mystery OhHoHoHoHo). Thor appears, wielding an axe instead of this trusty hammer, to put the clobbering to Malekith and Giants, but is beaten back by the Dark Elf’s magic. Without Mjolnir, Thor just can’t hack it (even with a giant axe that looks like it was made specifically for hacking.) and Malekith does a bit of hacking of his own with a magic sword that takes off Thor’s hand. The Dark Elf descends into the facility, assuming to find whatever relic he is looking for and states he thinks he’s seen the last of Thor.
The issue ends with a shadowy figure on the moon declaring there must always be a Thor and we get the first glimpse of She-Thor lifting Mjolnir triumphantly overhead.
Like I said, there was a lot of set up here, both for the debut of the new Thor and to help new readers get caught up with the state of the current Thor. The setup was pretty good – the interactions between Thor and his parents, give the reader an effective glimpse into the Asgardian family dynamics and the depths of depression he has sunk to without being able to wield his hammer in just a few pages. I really this version of Malekith – he’s much more playful and Loki-eque in his villainy than the very stilted one from the film (still so disappointed Eccleston was wasted in that role).
So what is the identity of our new God of Thunder? The allusion to Freyja seemed too obvious, so I’m going to say it’s not her. There are a few other contenders that I can see filling the role:
Valkyrie – The next logical choice after Freyja – blonde hair, ties to the Thor mythos, badass as hell. She’s a been on a superhero team before, The Defenders, so she’s due for a call up to the A-Team. But again, she seems too obvious.
Sif – Again she seems like an obvious choice considering her connection to the Thor mythology. She also just had a run in her own JOURNEY TO MYSTERY series only a few years ago, so it seems unlikely she would be getting another solo venture so soon. Not blonde either, but I assume they have hair-color-change magic (or dye at least) in Asgard.
Thor Girl – I had no idea this was a character until I started Googling about this new Thor, but apparently she’s some kind of alien that’s been imbued with powers of the Asgardian gods. Considering in the MCU canon the Asgardians are not gods, but aliens, I think she might actually be a good, albeit obscure, fit for the role.
Angela – The former avenging angel from SPAWN (the freaking ‘90s, man – dark days for women in comics. THE DARKEST), who is now apparently Thor and Loki’s sister. She’s staring in her own series as an Assassin of Asgard coming up soon, so her being showcased in two books seems unlikely.
Enchantress – There are references to Enchantress in this issue too – Odin concerned she might have put a hex on Mjolnir to keep Thor from lifting it. A wild twist if that’s what actually happened, and if she was the one who ultimately usurped the hammer. This is much more of a long shot, but a repented villain wielding power of Thor would be kinda cool.
Who knows, maybe it will be someone completely out of left field, not even related to Thor or someone completely new.
Let’s also discuss the art in this issue. Dauterman’s pencils were a real pleasure – I’ve never experienced is work before, but it’s lovely. The line work is very crisp and clean, with some really wonderful details, especially in the Frost Giants and the Asgardian’s wardrobes. The expressions on the characters faces are excellent too – from Thor’s melancholy as he contemplates his unworthiness, to Freyja’s determined glare at the hammer, to Malekith’s wicked whimsy as he torments a Roxxon employee, are all done to great effect. Matthew Wilson’s colors are great here as well, very bright and vibrant especially when displaying Thor’s lighting or Malekith’s magic sword. And these dudes can draw so really spectacular lighting-swept hair.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the costume as well, shall we?
The skin tight and scantily clad superheroine costumes are something that has been eschewed (well for the most part anyways, but is still around as you can see with the aforementioned Angela) in recent years, and for good reason. This Thor brings a costume that is very much akin to her male counterpart, complete with armored breastplate (but not really boob-armor), the red cape and sweet gauntlet on one arm. The helm – while covering the top half of her face, unlike He-Thor – has the classic Asgardian wings too. It’s a practical costume that’s simplistic in its design, strong and feminine without being exploitative, all while harkening back to the character’s legacy.
All in all, this was a fine first issue. The set up done without feeling like an overwrought info dump and the mystery of who the new Thor is and why the old one is no more is intriguing. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that the new Thor didn’t show up until the very end, but if the cover of the next issue is any indication, we’ll be seeing her lay a thunderous smackdown on some Frost Giant butt next issue.