The Mighty Thor #2

With the end of the previous "Thor" series having revealed the new Thor's secret identity as Jane Foster, "The Mighty Thor" #2 feels like it's slowing down a bit now that the driving "who is Thor?" story has been resolved. While Jason Aaron takes his time to set up a new storyline, Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson's visuals continue to dazzle.

Every single page is a showstopper in "The Mighty Thor" #2. Look at the opening image: half a map of Jotumheim, the other Loki and his frost giant father Laufey walking through snow and ice. It's perfectly crafted, from the tan parchment paper background for the map and its careful lines to the icy blue and white of Jotunheim. Dauterman gives us a great contrast in size between the two; Loki looks like a little speck to be overlooked at first glance. All of the details are meticulously added, from the hairs on Laufey's animal-pelt clothing to the little bones and teeth that hang around his neck and drape onto his chest -- and this is just the opener.

Dauterman and Wilson continue this impressive work throughout the comic. The Rainbow Bridge of Asgard is breathtaking, looking almost like a waterfall of bright, vibrant colors. It's a great depiction of the Bifrost, and what was once commonplace and average becomes a moment of wonder. It's that sense of wonder that ultimately becomes the backbone of "The Mighty Thor" #2; you can't stop staring at every page, be it a character or part of the scenery. Loki in particular looks wonderful here; that dangerous smile at the bottom of the third page takes Aaron's "Who's the tricky one now?" line and gives it such an edge. You can see both mirth and confidence glinting in Loki's eyes, even as his lips are pursed in a careful, deliberate, deadly smile.

The story itself -- which sets up Thor and Loki's involvement in the War of the Elves -- is little more than a minor transition, but that doesn't matter when the book looks this good. With a strong setup for "The Mighty Thor" #3 now in place, Aaron's mostly unmemorable script is forgivable because the book is an artistic powerhouse. If only all superhero comics were this pretty to look at.

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