As one of the people who bemoaned the lack of Thor in “Thor” during “Siege,” I’m happy to see two Thors on the cover of this issue. One of those Thors is Ragnarok, the Thor clone from “Civil War.” As the cover depicts, Ragnarok and Thor have a battle among the rubble and ruins of once lofty Asgard. The battle itself is well-written and briskly paced, lasting a mere six pages. Those six pages, however, are seemingly choreographed by Braithwaite as much as by Gillen as the two hammer-bearers exchange blows. The final blow, however, leaves little doubt as to the outcome of this battle, literally and metaphorically putting to rest not only the Siege of Asgard, but the Civil War that preceded it.
Gillen uses this opportunity to bring closure to many of the stories that have woven through “Thor” since Straczynski left the title while setting a new dawn for Asgard. Gillen and Braithwaite take the “Previously. . .” page and stretch it out into three, quickly bringing the reader up to speed on why Asgard is where it is. You can check out the “Previously. . .” stretch here on CBR.
Braithwaite’s art is strong in every aspect, from character anatomy to panel and page composition. Braithwaite gives these characters depth of emotion and human reactions. When the Warriors Three unearth Ragnarok, the alarm of Volstagg’s face is quite telling before we actually see Ragnarok on panel. The coloring is done in such a manner as to allow Braithwaite’s pencil work to shine through. The overall effect this achieves is that the book has a rawness to it, like a wall critique in a college life drawing course. That rawness helps the destruction and rebuilding of Asgard to radiate rather than being portrayed through sullen earthtones atop murky heavily-inked rubble.
This issue starts off with a personal conversation between Balder and Thor as they come to an agreement regarding the rule and the defense of Asgard. Braithwaite’s art is perfect for that setting as the two gods’ passion for their home comes through in the art as well as the words Gillen puts in the mouths of Thor and Balder. This could have easily been treated as the fill-in issue — between “Siege” and what’s next — that it is, but it strikes me as much more. Asgard has fallen, but the Asgardians are getting back up and brushing themselves off. This is an issue where things change, and the future of “Thor” is set in motion from this point. If it gets better than this, then this book will be just fine.