Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thor: Volume I (2008)

Author: J. Michael Straczynski | Illustrator: Olivier Coipel | Page Count: 160

It is not for the gods to decide whether or not man exists -- 
it is for man to decide whether or not the gods exist.”

I read Thor stories for over two years because it was part of a monthly collection I used to buy but I never really liked the character very much.  I always felt he didn’t fit in the superhero world; he was a Norse god, not a costumed hero with overpants.  However, the Thor: Reborn storyline took me by complete surprise.  I picked it up because of J. Michael Straczynski’s name.  I’m a JMS fan; I enjoyed his work on The Amazing Spider-Man.  His Thor is a rebirth for the character, three years after it was cancelled.  It’s not a traditional origin story from Day 0, it picks up the threads that Michael Avon Oeming's Ragnarok arc (2004) sensibly left for whoever would follow him.  I haven’t read Ragnarok but it didn’t matter too much, JMS gives enough of a recap to help figure out what happened back then.

The best thing about the book is that at times it reminded me of some of the better Superman stories; not the leap tall buildings version, I mean the inner vulnerability, weight of the world on his shoulders, lost little child in an adult body version of Superman.  Thor is alone, in a post-Civil War universe, and he’s none too happy about how that turned out.  There are the obligatory fight scenes but they aren’t the main focus.  It’s a character piece exploring the inner feelings and the outer actions that a rebirth, both spiritual and physical, can have upon a person.  He is forced to reacquaint himself with his humanity and his duty.

Olivier Coipel, who you may know from House of M, did great things with his panelling and perspectives.  His art is fantastic, alternating between close-ups and large open vistas as needed.  His poses help humanise the man behind the musculature.

There are hints of where the story would eventually go, and I’m excited to find out if JMS managed to keep the fragility of the character as a focus when the shit hits the fan, as I’m sure it did.

The book collects together Thor v3 issues 1 – 6.

4 Krakkabooooom Fwoom Fwoooom out of 5

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