Time to check out one of the classic Thor story arcs. We’ve seen Ragnarok mentioned many times in the Thor mythos and the event is one that is still being done today. The destruction of the gods is something that is naturally hard to stick, but this may have been the first time that it happened in the comics. It’s a pretty good story arc although the twist may be dicey for some fans.
Before the actual plot starts, we get a story where Thor helps a kid who is being bullied. Thor tells the kid that there is always someone stronger and remembers a time where he and Loki were trolled by a powerful titan. He seemed so much stronger than the two of them that is was hard to believe that such a being could actually be real. It was an entertaining story and I appreciated the twist that time since the whole situation would have been pretty humiliating otherwise.
Now, the real story occurs in Asgard, away from the problems of the mortals. Thor heads there and discovers that a camera crew has been brought in by Loki to witness the end of Asgard. Thor isn’t sure how Loki escaped his imprisonment, but it matters little as Asgard comes under attack by legions of adversaries. Making matters worse is the fact that one of the cameramen is able to best Thor in a fight and steal Mjolnir. Without his trusty hammer, will Thor be able to defend the kingdom and stop the Midgard Serpent? It’s definitely going to be a difficult fight.
The event that everyone feared got to finally occur and it was handled pretty well. That being said, the twist is major and it will affect how you look at the issues during your next read. A spoiler for this arc is coming up so skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know about it. I’ll just give you an extra sentence here so that you can skip away…………………..the whole event is a ruse by Odin. He pretended that Ragnarok was upon Asgard so that the villains would make their move and Odin could weaken them. He made an illusion of Loki appear and he choreographed everything. The deaths were real though so this came at a high price, but now the villains won’t be ready to strike Asgard for many centuries to come. Still, this was certainly not a heroic move on Odin’s part and you can understand why the heroes would be upset with him. He also tries to stop Thor from going back to Earth once again so Thor disobeys him and gets banished from Asgard. Odin likely won’t be earning any new fans from this collection.
Thor looks nice and heroic as he should. The first comic takes place back when he was very arrogant and he definitely didn’t mind insulting Loki back then. Loudly proclaiming that he was Odin’s true son, he marched headfirst into each battle, never doubting his victory. That’s definitely a version of Thor that likely has many fans and then the rest of the issues deal with a more experienced version of the character. Thor is still confident, but not in a rude way and he is always ready to give a fight his all. I agree with him in the decision to go to Earth since the planet would be in a dire spot without him. I have no qualms with how he was portrayed.
Odin doesn’t look very good as I explained in the spoiler paragraph. He makes some very questionable decisions and ordering Thor to stay away from Earth at this point in time is like asking Thor to disobey him. The main camera man was pretty good. He definitely presumed much when he asked Thor to take him to Asgard and he really didn’t think that one through. Even if he got some footage, it would be hard to ever go back there again. He may be a nice guy, but he’s not the smartest one.
Red Norvell is one of the big villains of the story after he gains the abilities of Thor. They have a decent fight although the outcome is certainly suspect. It was pretty circumstantial, but it was still pretty sad to see him grab Mjolnir and defeat Thor so handily. He’s not a likable character and while he did have a change of heart by the end, it’s really hard to root for him. He’s very full of himself and Red Norvell’s actions nearly jeopardize the whole planet. He also takes a life, which is something that he cannot take back. No, Red Norvell is definitely no hero.
Aside from him, other villains include the Frost Giants and the Midgard Serpent. The Serpent certainly has changed over the years. This design is still green and very large, but his eyes are very menacing. I wish that they had kept this design for the future comics. Loki is also present of course and he looks true to form. He’s always got a trick up his sleeve, as befitting the trickster. Hela also gets some props as Odin backs away when confronted by her. When in her dimension, it would seem that she is even stronger than him. The Hype Train just got derailed….
This is one of the classic Marvel comics so the art is naturally very good. You can tell that a lot of effort was put into it and all of the character designs look great. These are the characters that Marvel fans grew up with and you can immediately see why they are known as the definitive design for most of the characters who are present. You can’t have a great comic with bad art and having consistently good art helps to elevate the series to new heights.
It almost goes without saying that the writing is very enjoyable and it plays a large part in why the comic is good. Thor’s manner of speaking is pretty catchy and it provides a nice contrast to the slang that the humans use when they appear. Some of the slang words of hard to recognize because they simply haven’t been used in many decades. That’s how old the comic is, but this works in its favor. There are some unlikable characters like Red Norvell, but he’s not nearly as bad as he could have been.
Overall, This is a good Thor collection to check out. The stakes are high and we get to see how he handles facing an army without Mjolnir. The Midgard Serpent also gets its props as he looks very good against the heroes. The only part of the collection that isn’t great is Red Norvell and I don’t see why Sif went with him. It was to protect Asgard, but she should have just been confident that she could have defeated him along with Thor and the others. That scene was pretty frustrating for fans and Red Norvell went way too far. His big change of heart is very hard to buy into. The short story at the beginning was also enjoyable. One little thing to note is that the collection is very small and you’ll be able to zip through it in well under an hour. At only around 120 pages, it feels shorter than the average collection. Still, Quality>>>Quantity right? I recommend checking this out if you’re looking for a well written action comic and it’ll help to tide you over until Avengers Age of Ultron hits theaters in around 2 months.