The Mighty Thor #18

The cover to "Mighty Thor" #18 promises readers a prologue to "Everything Burns." The story offers some panel time to Surtur -- after all, if there's fire and Asgard combined, Surtur is certain to be near. It also sets into motion the six-part crossover with "Journey Into Mystery" before both titles undergo a change for Marvel NOW!

Writing a prologue to a smaller, somewhat self-contained event provides Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen a wonderful opportunity to synchronize their titles and coordinate characters. It also provides a natural point for the writing duo -- Fraction in particular -- to take inventory of what Asgardia has endured and where it stands today. This tale spans back in time to the war between Aesir and Vanir, visits the wedding of Odin and Freyja and stops by Valhalla in addition to spending a considerable portion in Broxton, Oklahoma.

The always-stellar art team of Alan Davis and Mark Farmer are joined by colorist Javier Rodriguez to compose visual wonderment that is a perfect fit for tales of gods. Rodriguez does not shy away from bold greens and purples on the same page, nor does he falter when Surtur's flame needs to be translated to hues of yellow, orange and red. As daring and unparalleled as Davis' figurework is, Rodriguez matches it color for outline all the way through "Mighty Thor" #18. Davis' Thor is as majestic and commanding a figure as possible. Walter Simonson is a high water mark for Thor artists, but Davis' work with the character demands consideration as a close second.

Beyond the collaboration of Loki and Thor, there is a subplot featuring Jeff Fischer (from the previous arc) certain to pay dividends as the grander "Everything Burns" arc progresses, but for now it is simply another item included in the inventory report that Fraction and Gillen have run on Asgardia's stock. This issue would have made for a perfect offering in Marvel's Point One program, but as the prologue to a longer story, it is certainly just as effective. If you've had an inkling to check out a Thor comic, this one includes everything for a new reader just the right thing for you at just the right time. I'll certainly be onboard to see just what remains once "Everything Burns."

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