The creative team that brought the world eight issues of "Thor: The Mighty Avenger" get a last minute resurgence, like a slasher before the end credits, to deliver to the audience one last gasp. This 'Free Comic Book Day' one-shot puts this iteration of Thor with Captain America back into the time of King Arthur. It's a completely successful romp that feels equal part Saturday morning cartoon and brilliant kids comic one-shot. This issue unleashes the delight inherent when imagination meets intellect.
Roger Langridge averages over six panels per page and yet not a single one feels padded. No moment plods in this issue as every panel is used to deliver another slice of narrative or a great balloon of dialogue. Langridge and Chris Samnee both control the pace of the page so that reflective moments stick and humorous moments get the space to set up and pop. This book is a master-class on how to fit enough tale into 22 pages that a lesser writer would have slogged through over five issues.
The concept of Loki setting himself up as the new Merlin is a layered notion which the rest of this quest sprawls out from. The awesome then comes thick and fast as our heroic duo battle assassins, a multi-headed dragon, and an all-powerful Loki with time to wrap it all up sensibly and in a satisfying manner. It's the fact Langridge makes each scene burst with dazzling character and sizzling dialogue that make this the best offering on 'Free Comic Book Day.' Every page is a treat with plenty to catch the eye and capture the heart.
The texture of the comic is expertly sold through the art of Samnee. His expressive lines for characters and mythically swirling magic and mysticism make this comic feel like a slice of childhood parceled up behind a great cover and ready to convert any eager young eyes to the wonderful addiction that is comic books. Matthew Wilson's colors give everything a soft and friendly tone and invite you in with a welcoming hand. This book looks exactly like the kid inside you wants it to.
Every publisher wishes they put out something of this quality for free to snag new readers. This issue stands alone perfectly, it delivers on every conceivable count, and if you don't own the "Thor: The Mighty Avenger" trades then you'll be hooking yourself up very quickly after this sample. Much as "The Sixth Gun" was miles ahead of the competition last year, this year's top honor goes to the final collaboration of Langridge and Samnee. May Marvel play it smart and bring these guys back together on something before they lose their chance to put out some of the best comics the House of Ideas has created in years.