Fraction Ushers "Thor" into the Heroic Age

For years, Thor believed that he and his fellow Asgardian gods were able to determine their own destinies in the Marvel Universe, but in 2004 he discovered that he was wrong. The Asgardians were trapped in a vicious, mythic cycle that always came to an end with Ragnarok, an epic battle that would always, inevitably end in the destruction of all nine Asgardian realms. So the Thunder God intervened and broke the prophecy, which had the effect of temporarily consigning all of the Asgardians into oblivion.

In 2007, Thor returned from the void and brought both his people and home of Asgard back with him. The Asgardians were now masters of their own destinies, but forging their own path is proving to be a difficult and dangerous task. That's mainly due to the fact that when Thor returned from the void, he chose to reestablish the realm of Asgard, his people's home, on Earth, or as the Asgardians call it, Midgard. As a result, Asgard now exists as a city that literally floats in the sky over the town of Broxton, Oklahoma.

This didn't sit well with Thor's brother Loki and his ally Norman Osborn. In the current "Siege" crossover event, the two villains have combined their forces to do something about it. This summer, "Siege" comes to an end and a new Heroic Age will dawn in the Marvel Universe, but the repercussions of Asgard existing in Midgard will continue to be felt. In June's "Thor" #611, writer Matt Fraction and artist Pasqual Ferry kick off their run with an arc that will delve into the cosmology of the nine worlds of Asgard. CBR News spoke with Fraction about his plans for the series,

Some of the action in Fraction and Ferry's first "Thor" story arc will take place on Earth, but the story will stretch all the way up the fabled rainbow bridge that joins the Asgardian realms to Earth and into the other eight worlds, many of which have not been seen since Thor reestablished Asgard in 2007. "The question that is brought up in the first issue is that there are nine worlds in the Asgardian World Tree, and if you believe in a quantum cosmology, or a multi-verse, where no one perception is any more right or wrong than anybody else's, then sure, there are nine worlds for them, but Asgard is here," Fraction told CBR News. "That energy, that matter that makes up Asgard, is here is on Midgard. So what the hell is happening where Asgard once was? It presupposes that there is another universe on the verge of collapse; on the verge of the Big Crunch.

"They are literally staving off the death of their world, and as the Asgardians come here, they see their opportunity to escape." Fraction continued. "They flee their dying universe and come to the Asgardian's dimension. This young, vital, fresh, energy-filled place full of light, heat, warmth and people. Then they rampage their way down the World Tree. So, what if there was a 10th world? And what if it was just waiting for Asgard to do something silly like visit Midgard so they could make their move?"

According to Fraction, the inhabitants of this 10th world are more than just cunning - they're also incredibly powerful. "Big, giant villains make the best foils for Thor," the writer explained. "And for our opening story, we've cooked up some new guys powerful enough that they can stave off a Big Crunch. So that's pretty powerful, and now they're coming here. For Thor, for Asgard, for everything."

Of course, the best known Thor villain is his brother Loki, and given the Asgardian God of Mischief's central role in "Siege," many Thor fans are wondering if Fraction has any plans to use Loki in his "Thor" run. "That is a very good question," Fraction remarked. "And that's all I can say about Loki."

Fraction was, however, able to get into a little more detail about the supporting and reoccurring characters that will pop up in his "Thor" run. "The kind of cool thing is, I know the dude who writes 'Iron Man,' so it's not really difficult to get Tony Stark to show up in the book any time I want. We'll be dealing some with Tony's relationship to Thor and Thor's relationship with Tony," the writer revealed. "Plus, the book will very much feature a classic Thor cast. As we venture up the World Tree, we'll see some of the more exotic Thor characters that we haven't seen in awhile. Then there will be a couple of new faces in there as well. So it's a mixture of new and old, and familiar and otherwise. We'll even see some old favorites from some of the other Thor stuff that I've written. Carla Hoffman just might become the happiest 'Thor' reader in the universe. "

The stories Fraction writes will be crafted to make the most of the artistic skills of his collaborator, Pasqual Ferry. "I love him and have been a fan of his work for some time. With his visuals here, he gets create a lot of stuff from whole cloth," Fraction stated. "This kind of feels a lot like when Salva [Salvador Larroca] came on board for Iron Man. I'd love to write the ultimate Pasqual Ferry comic. I'm doing my best to write for him the comic I want to see as a fan of the guy. So I'm excited. I love his stuff and it's really overwhelming to be able to work with the guy."

To give their "Thor" stories the proper tone, Fraction and Ferry are looking at other science fiction and metaphysical epics for inspiration, including the works of Jack Kirby. "If you look at the end of Kirby's 'Thor' run, you can see the origins of 'The Eternals' and the origins of the 'New Gods.' All that stuff is there. His obsession with the great motifs of his life really began with Thor. His interest in the relationship between man and god really started there," Fraction remarked. "So there's a kind of grandeur and scope and weight to all of that cool science fiction stuff, and I'm exploring that and diving into the cosmic and mythic roots of the book, and what the book can do when you really open it up. Ultimately, it's a book about a god inside of a man and a man inside of a god, and the world they both live in."

The god in a man and man in a god relationship of Thor and his alter ego Doctor Donald Blake means that the stories in "Thor" won't all be grand action sagas. The series will also examine many of the earthly and mundane aspects of the title character's world. "I want to pull back and look at some of the more human elements. Like the love...rhombus...between Thor, Sif, Don Blake, and Jane Foster. I'll introduce a new character that takes an interest in Jane; He's a sort of romantic rival for Blake if he were in that running, but it complicates things all around. Plus, I want to explore Broxton as well. I love that kind of 'Northern Exposure,' 'Picket Fences' feel that the town has. So we're going to be digging into the town and sticking around. Broxton is neighbored with Asgard, so what does that mean if you live there?"

When Fraction and Ferry begin their run on "Thor" in June, they'll be launching their protagonist on a sweeping, epic, adventure that will that will keep him busy for the remainder of 2010. "This first arc will take us into next year," Fraction explained. "It's an awful big bowl of grits!"

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