It’s another Thor comic, just in time to help finish out 2010. This one-shot functions in a similar way to an annual, delivering a story that isn’t essential, but is enjoyable enough. Focusing on a time where Thor helped a Viking village rid itself of the threat of Hela’s demon army, “Wolves of the North” has action and a little intrigued plus some stunning art by Mike Perkins and Dan Brown.
A village is continually ravaged by demons and Thor falls from the sky after their chief died in battle, leaving his daughter as the new chief of the village. He reveals that the demons are part of an army that Hela is using to attack Asgard, travelling via Earth to remain unseen as long as possible. Part of her attack involves using magic to obscure the Rainbow Bridge, making Thor’s journey extremely difficult and not final, requiring an anchor of some kind to remain on Earth. From there, it’s his job to help fight off Hela’s forces. It’s a simple and direct plot that also involves the villagers wanting to make a sacrifice of their new chief to appease Hela, hoping that will save them.
The best part about “Thor: Wolves of the North” #1 is the art team of Mike Perkins and Dan Brown. Carey’s writing is serviceable in providing a fairly typical ‘Thor meets Vikings’ story, while the art by Perkins and Brown is absolutely gorgeous. Perkins’ line work is crisp and bold, while Brown’s colors complement it well, working to both deliver strong colors and to highlight Perkins’ line work. The focus is on the line art because of Brown’s high contrast style here. There’s a washed out effect, but in a bright, almost overwhelming way that plays off Perkins’ heavy use of black. I want to say that it reminds me of a black and white comic, but with color. The preview pages show off the use of bright whites by Brown and how they make Perkins’ lines stand out even more.
Perkins’ compositions are interesting, often choosing an unexpected angle or pose for characters. His Thor has a more youthful appearance than usual without looking like a scrawny teen either. He’s managed to capture a Thor that looks to be in his early twenties, which is a rare depiction of the character. In the action scenes, his choreography is energetic, raising the tension and, often, making Thor look as if he’s one second away from death thanks to the power of Hela and her demon ally.
“Thor: Wolves of the North” #1 is the sort of comic that fans of the character will enjoy. It’s hurt to a degree by the plethora of Thor material available now where it becomes ‘just another Thor’ release instead of having a chance to stand out as something different from the ongoing series. Mike Perkins and Dan Brown kill on art, and it’s fun to see Perkins return to the Marvel universe, if only briefly.