if flawed, this film’s as good as anyone could realistically expect. It’s told by people who understand the team’s nature and appeal, and can bottle that and serve it to audiences new and fannish alike. It’s been a five-film wait. And it’s pretty much been worth it.
Thor is one of Marvel’s oldest and most powerful characters, and a prominent member of the Avengers. He was also fortunate up to 1982 in having stable creative teams. Why, then, did he rarely arouse interest in fans in the 1970s?
Okay, let me get it out of my system; one of this movie’s greatest assets is the eye-popping physique of its star, Chris Hemsworth. This particular god would be the answer to more than one moviegoer’s prayers, as he’s spectacularly three-dimensional before you even put on the glasses.
My first article in my first fanzine, almost 30 years ago in World Collide 1, was called ‘Why Is Thor Boring?’ It covered the last decade of the character, i.e. since Kirby left him, and this collection covers a couple of years at the start of that period. I pointed out then a few things that still strike me as true, reading this and that article so long after.
Obviously there has been a proliferation of Thor titles lately – we’re getting a bunch of collections of recent mini-series, we’ve just had a fifth Essential volume, and so on, but Marvel must be hoping that a new Thor title out now will really hit big.
I bought this because the recent X-Men 534.1 interested me in writer Kieron Gillen, and this increases my new very high opinion of him. In that X-Men comic he focussed on Magneto, doing a beautiful job of defining who he now is, where he is and what we might expect from him. In this, he does something similar for Loki, now resurrected (after dying in Siege) as a child. He makes him into a more interesting character here than I can ever recall before: brilliant, talented, very complex, powerful, with a precisely judged blend of chaotic risk-taking and genuinely cunning intelligence and planning.
Three comics in, and I am very irritated by this Fear Itself event. The prologue set up the Red Skull’s daughter, Sin, tracking some mighty weapon. In FI1 she gets it, and it’s like Don Blake getting Mjolnir: she becomes some ancient scary Asgardian god (of fear, I suppose). Odin immediately runs away, taking all of his Asgardians with him. Oh, and Sin meets some old guy, an alternate or evil Odin type by the look of it, and summons something or other. This is a double-length issue, so 66 or whatever pages in, and we still don’t actually know what is going on, but just keep getting “OMG Odin is scared and look the Watcher is hanging around so just imagine how big and exciting this is!!!!” stuff thrown at us.
I’ve seen various approaches to the .1 jumping-on-point issues so far: just exposition to bring readers up to date; leaving the main character out of it completely; and a comedy single-issue story. This is closest to that final approach, except there is minimal attempt at comedy here, as far as I can tell.