Catching up with “Mighty Thor,” this story feels in many ways like a throwback to the Walter Simonson era of the title. That is, of course, a good feeling to evoke. After all, we’ve got Thor fighting the Silver Surfer on Mars, while Odin and Galactus throw down, and Loki is up to his own particular scheme.
When read as a whole, this story in “Mighty Thor” is (so far) a blast; it feels epic as the Asgardian Gods struggle to survive, and we get more information on why the Worldheart is so important to Odin. It is a little sad to see Galactus and Odin’s fight shift to a slightly more physical one than the creepy, in-your-memories fight they’d had up until now, but it was the sort of moment that was bound to happen eventually.
But on the whole, it’s good and strong. It’s also moving at the speed of molasses, which is my one complaint with the issue. Issue by issue, it’s hard to find “Mighty Thor” quite as satisfying, and this one is probably the worst in that regard. Every time things feel like they’re getting moving, we’re already at the end of the issue. Its saving grace is young Loki, who manages to steal every scene he’s in. It’s pretty easy to see why Matt Fraction has him around as such a major part of the comic, because not only is he a great catalyst for story developments, but writing his dialogue must be a blast. (And to a lesser extent, Volstagg’s scenes are fun, although I could do without Pastor Mike, even though it’s increasingly clear he’ll be a major part of the resolution of this story.)
Olivier Coipel gets some assistance from Khoi Pham on pencils this month, and it’s a good match. Both nail the regal, powerful nature of both the Asgardians and the space-farers, and moments like the crumbling of helms and the plummeting beings back to Earth have a certain level of grandeur about them. Best though, once again, is little Loki. He’s simultaneously cute and untrustworthy, and I love his expression as he stares at the thread before plunging into the World Tree’s wreckage. And that final page, with the shadowed Galactus? That’s gold, from the gleam of the eyes and the soft hues from Laura Martin to create the pink clouds, to the imposing figure of Galactus himself. With artists like Coipel, Pascual Ferry, and Patrick Zircher, there’s no denying that Fraction has had some great artists on his Thor stories the past few years.
This is a good enough issue of “Mighty Thor,” but like the rest of Fraction’s run on both this title and “Thor,” it’s one that’s going to read much better in a collected form. Here, it just paces out a bit too slow for me to be as enthusiastic as I’d otherwise feel. The pieces are good, but the completed saga will be great.