Is there an issue seven coming out next month that was previously unadvertised? With the end of “Thor: For Asgard,” the actual problems set forth at the beginning of the series haven’t been resolved. Instead, they’re still there and the focus has shifted to something else entirely. By the end, Asgard still faces RagnarÃ¶k, Odin is still on quests, Balder is still dead, a threat still exists, and there are more people to keep alive with Valhalla now empty. At the same time, an effort is put forth to suggest that something has been accomplished, that the state of Asgard is better here than it was at the beginning of the series, that a victory has been won, and there’s validity in that argument.
If treated as a personal story about Thor and his ability to lead, “For Asgard” has a clear beginning and end: he’s a bad leader and he becomes a worthy leader. This is symbolized by his inability to pick up Mjolnir, his hammer, throughout the series and his ability to do so at the end of this issue. He has improved the morale of Asgard through his death and return to life along with everyone else inhabiting Valhalla. But, that’s a false victory and one that obscures what was the seeming point of “For Asgard” since the same problems facing the Aesir are still there, they simply don’t seem as worried about them at the end as they were at the beginning.
Worse, the issue ends in a way that makes it explicit that nothing has been solved and that the threat facing Asgard is still there. An antagonist even appears in a panel, threatening further doom in the future. Part of what made the early issues of this series so compelling was the doomed feeling of the writing, that sense that everything was wrong, and the promise that this would be the story of that redemption. Except nothing was solved. It’s a game of misdirection and it’s wholly unsatisfying.
Bianchi’s art remains steadily consistent in quality here from previous issues. The washed out, muted beauty of the art hits its peak with the image of Thor leading the residents of Valhalla to Asgard by climbing the World-Ash. Bianchi gives that scene an epic feeling that almost sells the idea that it’s enough of a victory to conclude the story. A page where Thor’s body is unmade and remade clearly shows the difficulties facing these gods in a way that the narration accompanying the panels does not. The final pages of the issue — Thor finally picking up Mjolnir — are some of the most gorgeous, especially the last page. Finally, Bianchi is able to show Thor at his most iconic, hammer raised, lightning springing forth, and it makes me want to see more of Bianchi on the character.
The final issue of “Thor: For Asgard” is a disappointing conclusion, because it lacks one. An attempt is made to present a different sort of victory for Thor, but it’s one that doesn’t obscure that little has changed since the first issue. Maybe if a sequel series is released, this issue will seem less of a disappointment. Still, even that would hardly justify this lack of conclusion. It’s a final issue that undermines the entire series, retroactively taking away from what came before.