To open this issue, Thor joins Beta Ray Bill in an attempt to stop a tsunami. Upon defeating the wave with his oathbrother, Thor gives a little celebration, akin to the moves you may have seen a linebacker use after taking down a quarterback when the score is already wildly out of hand. That is the least of this issue’s faults.
Beta Ray Bill is portrayed here to be obsessed with dealing the final blow upon Galactus. His actions draw the attention of two of Galactus’s heralds, but Beta Ray Bill’s own actions are questionable. He sets a course to destroy any planet he cannot save from Galactus. Truly, Bill seems to have been driven insane, set to destroy that which cannot be saved, solely to spite Galactus.
Gillen does little to provide the reader with back-story, preferring to plunge the reader into action alongside Beta Ray Bill and Thor. Gillen gives us a story filled with characters and places from across the Marvel Universe, but his characters are frequently painfully out of character (Thor acting more like “Drunk Thor,” as Dan Slott likes to call Hercules) and his locations are mere backdrops, not really offering much in an emotional or interesting sense.
The art by Kano and Lopez is journeyman’s work: nothing intensely riveting, nor is the work hideous. It serves the purpose of assisting the story to move in a forward, sequential manner. Kano’s Beta Ray Bill is presented as more of a hulking monstrosity than the bulky warrior others have drawn. Kano’s style seems to waver somewhere between great detail and inferred detail. In some panels, the planes of his figures are cut like those drawn by Mike Mignola, while in others Kano’s work seems more like Scott Kolins on a bender. This may be a result of Kano inking some of the book and Lopez inking the remainder of the issue, but I’d like to see Kano choose one style and really excel with that one style.
This issue doesn’t offer much for Beta Ray Bill fans, as the character in these pages seems to be a mere shadow of the character created by Walter Simonson to be a capable replacement for Thor. Speaking of Simonson, this issue does offer Bill’s first appearance, reprinted from the pages of “Thor” #337. This section of the book is well worth the cost of the book, but sadly it makes the newer material that much more pale by comparison. John Workman, Jr.’s lettering alone makes the reprint worthy of your hard-earned $3.99.