Big issue of the week for me is Thor. As many of you know (or could guess from the banner at the top of the page, or my avatar), I am a big Thor fan. Thor #5 was released this week, and I actually had a request to post my thoughts about it. So for the first time I can say “by request” I have reviewed Thor #5. No big spoilers here even though I do go through the plot in depth, but be warned, in order to really review this comic, I gotta give away the ending. If you have doubts, as always, feel free to skip to the Is it Worth Buying section.
Lead up to story
It is official, Thor is back. I’m going to give you some background info on what has happened in the previous three issues, but if you haven’t read them, stop whatever you are doing and go read them by whatever means necessary, I’m serious, they’re that good, especially issue #3. Essentially, Thor has returned, and he is seeking out his fellow Asgardians that are trapped in mortal bodies.
Plot Synopsis and Evaluation
Thor is written by Joseph Michael Straczynski, and this issue opens with a man putting in a mailbox in front of the floating Asgard, and he makes it look way easier than it really is, anyone who’s had to install a mailbox themselves will know what I’m talking about. Inside the mailbox, he puts a letter to the local town meeting, promising cakes and ice cream, entirely nonessential, but very humorous. Moving on to the main plot; so far, Thor has found few of his fellow deities, and Heimdall informs him that the trapped Asgardians are disappearing, and these disappearances are related to a growing darkness to the west. Fearing that his lady Sif may be among those disappearing, for Heimdall has not yet found her, Thor flies off to investigate.
Upon arrival, Thor finds someplace underground that is ambiguously undescribed and must be assumed to be some sort of jail (that’s what it looks like at least). Before Thor can even get down to freeing the prisoners, one of whom has the potential to be Sif, the destroyer appears, and does battle with the mighty Thor. Thor is victorious (are we really surprised?), and the destroyer was manned by, of all people, Balder, the one who triggered Ragnarok and ended Asgard. Returning to the jail-thing, Thor finds that the beautiful woman that waits there is not Sif, but Loki! Loki is now female, but Thor offers him/her solace, and a second chance, he/she vows to repent, and we, the reader, do not believe him/her at all. The issue ends with Loki making deals with Dr. Doom.
On the whole, I am a little disappointed in this issue, but then again, one can not appreciate Thor’s greatness without some mediocre issues. It isn’t bad by any means, but I did not find myself in love with the issue. My main problem with this issue is that not much happens, and frankly, as I will elaborate on in the art section, the fight scene was boring. I am not so sure how I feel about Loki being female either, I have enough faith is Starcynski that I will wait it out and see how it goes. I will say though that at least they are bringing in the villains. I do very much appreciate the mini subplot about the town meeting, with the Asgardian gods showing up looking for cake.
Thor is drawn by Oliver Coipel, and I am generally pleased with his work. He draws Thor to be an outrageously huge. I’m ok with this, he’s an Asgardian god, and he can be as big as he wants to be. Coipel has also given Thor a much blockier face than we were used to, but this also seems to suit him. Overall, I would say that I am very impressed not only by the overall quality of the art that Oliver is putting out, but also by his representations of the characters. He really seems to be able to capture their essence, and picture them just as I would imagine them, especially Thor. Broad shoulders, freaking huge arms, and a huge cape, topped off with shining armor. The only critique I would have is that he seems to be puzzled with how to draw faces, but even this is some of the time. I think it may be the eyes that throw him off, as Thor is often depicted as having his eyes shadowed by his helmet. In theory, I’m ok with this, but in one panel Thor is drawn with one eye shown, and one eye shadowed, and it gives a very odd look to the panel, and draws away from the flow of the comic, as I was distracted by the eye (singular), it made be exceptionally uncomfortable.
Is it Worth Buying?
I would say yes, Thor #5 is worth buying especially if you own the first four, and given that you should own those, logically, it follows that you should buy this one too. Yes, by Thor standards this was mediocre, but by current standards, it’s still a great comic. Also, it is important to note that this comic is to set up for the coming series, the story could not have continued much longer with Thor wandering the world seeking out his fellow Asgardians, bringing in the villains is a very good way of bringing some additional plot into the story. Also, why does Microsoft Word not have Asgard or Ragnarok in the dictionary? Closest thing it’s giving me to Ragnarok is Kangaroo, and that can’t be right…