Tuesday, December 18, 2007

By Crom—Er, Odin! Thor Says Don’t Mess With A Classic

from volume 1, issue 2, early November 2007

Thor #1-3
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Drawn by Olivier Coipel

It all comes back to Bendis.
He’s the genius who decided in 2004 it was time to Disassemble the Avengers. Which, in turn, apparently meant it was time to bring Ragnarok and end Thor for good. Of the Big Three, that just left Cap and Iron Man. Sigh again. The Big Three: Godlike power, Human ingenuity and the wisdom that could guide them both. Without Thor, the balance tipped. And the list of travesties against superhero comics that was Civil War was allowed to happen, including not least of which the cloning of a cyborg Thor.
(You’re free to disagree with me all you want, and I’ve argued it to death with some of my friends; I simply can’t abide Marvel’s editorial decisions these past few years: killing Thor and Hawkeye, turning the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver evil again, wiping out almost all the mutants in the world, assassinating Captain America and killing Aunt May and maybe even Mary Jane [God knows where the pointlessness of “One More Three-Month-Long, Crappy Day” story will lead poor Spidey next]. Is this loving and honoring our characters? I submit that it is not. One day, not too far off, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark will stand side by side with Wanda, Hawkeye, Thor and the newly-booming mutant population, and I’ll be there, laughing. Nature abhors a vacuum, Brian Michael Bendis, and comics fans abhor actual, lasting change. You’ll see. Sorry. End of rant.)
ANYWAY. Strazycnskrski says Thor’s back, so Thor’s back. Basically, Thor was floating in the Void after the end of the Norse Gods called Ragnarok, but his former alter ego Donald Blake calls him out of slumber to do battle with evil once again. Okay. You can say the Void. Okay? You can’t say non-existence. IT CAN’T BE A VOID IF SOMETHING IS THERE! YOU CANNOT JUST WALK AROUND, IN SPACE OR ANYWHERE, AND TALK, WITH ANYONE, AND SIMULTANEOUSLY NOT EXIST! THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT OF NON-EXISTENCE! NOTHING IS THERE! TRY TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE LANGUAGE WE’VE ALL AGREED UPON!

Ahem. Philosophical and linguistic issues aside… these are still three pretty good issues. Thor fights his way back to life from… uhm…non-life, and appears in small-town Oklahoma as Donald Blake. Thunderstorms appear out of nowhere first, followed by Asgard itself. The commentary on New Orleans feels a little forced, but I guess somebody had to say something, and Strazcnikowicz is as good a writer as any to do it. But Heimdall as the first god to be “resurrected” was a nice choice, and he looks badass. But then, that’s part of his job (read up on Norse mythology if you haven’t already in life. It’s fun). Oh, yeah, there’s that. Thor is bringing back all the other gods, too. Where are they? “In the minds and souls of Man,” according to Donald Blake. Well, thank you, Joseph Campbell, I guess that’s something new to the typical comics fan, but what about those of us who’ve cracked open an actual book twice in our lives? Or for that matter, those of us who’ve ever read Neil Gaiman? And I do mean ever. Come on, Strazzleberry. The Eternals miniseries just came out a year ago. Gods are living among us, inside us? …Argh, fine. I’ll take it, just to get Thor back. It’s not like there’s anything new under the Sun, but come on. You could try. As it stands, the new Thor comic is much like the Marvel character himself: Simplistic, and not always terribly original, but good for a darned entertaining story. Honestly, as much as I piss and moan over the specifics of the whole thing, I wish we could go back and re-do everything from the past four years as easily as Stradiffendoofer and Thor have.

Rating: Three Vodka Collins.