Tag Archives: Thor

Opinion: Avengers NOW!, Reboots, and Fanboys

By now you have heard the news that Marvel Comics is shaking things up quite a bit later this year with a few of their A-Listers, and I for one cannot wait to see the new directions the publisher takes these venerable characters. The internet almost cracked in half as irate fanboys took to the Facebooks and Forums to express their disgust over the changes, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would be upset about new ideas. However, I also found a large part of the comic book community suggesting that all of these changes amount to an upcoming, universe-wide reboot at Marvel comics, and this confuses me even more. Here’s a rundown of the upcoming changes, and some thoughts on both the hatred of anything different, and the desire for something completely different.

The Changes

Thor FemaleFirst off we have Thor Odinson losing his worthiness and a female Thor taking up the mantle. Here’s a great write-up if you missed the news. An idea devised by longtime Thor scribe and all around lover of different and new concepts, Jason Aaron’s run on Thor: God of Thunder has been one of the best in years, and that story has been building to Thor losing his aforementioned worthiness. Anyone who has been keeping up with Aaron’s run understands that this can be a terrific title, and the idea of a brand new character becoming Thor is intriguing, but a female Thor adds a whole new layer.

All-New Captain AmericaCaptain America will soon have his super-soldier serum sucked out of him, rendering him geriatric 90-something, incapable of wielding the shield any longer. So, Steve Rogers is passing on the mantle of Captain America to his best bud and fellow Avenger Falcon. Yes, we’re getting a brand new Captain America! The book will be written by the current Cap writer Rick Remender, and if you’ve been keeping up with that run you know everything has Avengers 35been leading up to this, but the news announced by Joe Quesada on The Colbert Report earlier this week cemented the already pretty much spoiled news. Falcon has never been more popular thanks to his appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it’s a good time to to take advantage of that popularity. This stuff isn’t going to be contained to single titles either, as seen in this cover of Avenger #35, as Thor without his hammer, Falcon with his shield, and Steve with his cane all appearing.

I have to be honest, I haven’t read an Iron Man comic since the Extremis story arc. Tony just hasn’t been a very compelling character. Although, with the upcoming Superior Iron Man dropping in Superior Iron ManNovember, I may be changing that before year’s end. Helmed by writer Tom Taylor and artist Yildiray Cinar, this new take on the old Shell head will take Tony to San Fransisco, where he changes the Extremis into an iPhone app, and makes it available to everyone in the metro area, in an attempt to create a utopia. I love a hard to root for good guy, and this sounds like it’s right up that alley. The changes aren’t that out of character, actually, as Tony has always been kind of a rebellious loner, and the things he’s done in the pages of New Avengers fits nicely.

The Hatred

Most of the griping I heard about these changes fell into two categories. The first group hated these changes because they thought it was nothing new.

“Captain America has been a different guy before, and he was black.”

“Thor’s been Beta Ray Bill, a frog, and has been unworthy a ton of times. This is nothing new.”

They all said it differently and with different levels of seething, but it Avengers NOW!was all so illogical. Certainly there IS something quite different between making Thor a frog or an alien and making the character a completely new female persona. To say otherwise is not only demeaning to women, but shuts down just about ANY story that ANY creator could devise. It’s 75 years or so of contained superhero story-telling; you’re not going to get anything “newer” than that. Of course making Falcon the new Captain America is new; it’s never happened before (officially), and despite there already being a black Captain America, and there being several character to hold the title and wield the shield, if the only reason to not tell a story where Falcon is Cap is that other people have also been Cap, well, that’s not much of a reason. Those old stories where Steve is not Cap are still out there; go read those! Nothing new can take away from those old stories. But suggesting that something that is clearly new is not new is just silly.

Beta Ray Bill
Look! It’s Thor, but not Thor!

The other outstanding group of naysayers I encountered decried the entire change for the equally illogical reason that these changes were not going to be permanent. Really?! Well, of course they aren’t going to be permanent. Weren’t you listening to the people who hate these changes because they’ve already happened before? Thor was a frog, and then he wasn’t a frog. Beta Ray Bill wielded Mjolnir, and then he didn’t. Bucky was Captain America, and then he wasn’t. Marvel’s storytelling is a cyclical thing, and anyone who has read comics for longer than a decade can tell you. A character dies, we see characters deal with the death, the character comes back from the dead, repeat with new character. Now simply replace a character death with any other life-altering event; like losing worthiness, having super-soldier serum sucked out, becoming a disillusioned douchebag, moving across the country, or taking a trip into space; and you have what Marvel does each and every year. This is nothing but business as usual at the House of Ideas.

There Is No Reboot Only Drool

While I did find a lot of geeks that loved these changes, there was another rumor that constantly crept into the discussion. Many people suggested that all of these dramatic changes were leading up to a universe-wide reboot at Marvel Comics, and I’m not sure these folks are paying attention.

Ghost rider #2
“I’m a new character!”

First off, where would Marvel reboot to? Would they begin by selling all new #1 issues retelling those same old origin stories the entire world already knows? I’m not sure where else they COULD begin that would be any different than the changes we’re already seeing occur, and nothing has ever stopped Marvel from releasing a new #1. Next, is anyone else reading All-New Ghost Rider? How about the new Ms. Marvel book? Or the Inhuman title? Why is Marvel creating all sorts of intriguing and new characters just this year, if they are planning on rebooting the entire thing the next year? It just doesn’t jive. Last, I think Marvel DOES reboot, but they do it in a style that is all their own. Soft reboots abound in just recent history of Marvel Comics. Hickman’s run of Fantastic Four, Hickman’s Fantastic Four Changesrun on Avengers, changes to the X-Men, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Venom, Superior Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Hulk, and many other titles have balanced the fence between pulling off dramatic changes to keep things interesting and keeping to some sort of established continuity. It’s often difficult to figure out which side of that balance any single title leans toward, but the attempt to find the balance is definitely apparent. And Marvel’s method of constantly revamping plots, titles, and characters to find a solid story despite hurdles that continuity may represent continues to keep them at the top of the sales charts, and the changes highlighted above are a strong example of this.

 

Thor Will be a Woman–In the Comics, Anyway

Thor is one of Marvel Universe’s oldest comic book characters, and one of my personal favorites (comic and movie). However, the cost to wield the mighty Mjolnir is high, and the Uru Hammer only picks the worthiest of vessels. For a long time now, that has been the buff, blonde-haired male version of Thor:

However, the comic will be launching a new story line written by Jason Aaron. In Aaron’s story, the Thor we all know will be deemed unworthy to meet the requirements etched on the Mjolnir. Instead, a woman will be chosen as worthy to wield the hammer and go by the name Thor. So I guess it is time to make a bit of an edit to the Mjolnir’s inscription, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall posses the power of Thor.”  This is the picture circulating of the new, female Thor. This is from the Thor #1 cover by Esad Ribic :

Aaron and Marvel have all been really quick to point out that this is, in now way, She-Thor or Lady Thor. Instead, this is simply a new chapter in the Thor story. This new Thor is 100% the Thor of the Marvel Universe, simply portrayed like we’ve never seen before (see Marvel’s entire press release here). Marvel already has a very impressive lineup of female superheroes in Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, Elektra, She-Hulk, and the upcoming Storm series. However, this is a pretty big deal that the Thor we’ve all known for so long is going to be dethroned and have his place taken over by a woman.

I’m pretty excited about it, and you can bet that I’ll be at my comic book store to pick up a copy when it releases in October. I really love Marvel’s commitment to producing awesome female characters, and I hope this trend translates to their movies (still crossing my fingers for a Black Widow movie). Still, I am really hoping that this move isn’t too “gimmicky”. Thor is great as guy-Thor, and even though it will be interesting to see Aaron’s new “Female Thor” arc,  I don’t want it to feel like cheap pandering to female comic book readers.

The other thing is, the Thor comic series also has some great existing female characters. Sif, for example:

Again, I’m really proud of Marvel for continuing to include and feature women in their superhero universe, and I’m excited for this new take on Thor. It is odd that they are making Thor a woman rather than shining the spotlight one of their awesome, existing female characters, but I think this could be a very interesting new dynamic in the Marvel Universe. I just hope that Aaron creates a compelling story line instead of making it the awkward comic book version of a guy shouting, “Girl power!”

The other thing that has me scratching my head is the fact that Thor seems to be more of a title rather than an individual’s name, which might point to the fact that I just need to catch up on my Thor-reading. I don’t get why this woman will not only have the power of Thor, but also now have Thor’s name. Anyway…

Ultimately, I can speculate about this until I’m blue in the face, but I won’t know anything until October. I’m excited to see how the Superhero Formerly Known as Thor will lose his powers to the New Thor, and I’m excited to see how one of my favorite superheroes evolves with this exciting new plot twist. I’m really rooting for Jason Aaron, and I hope he does something truly exciting and compelling with this change.

What do you think of Marvel’s decision to make Thor a woman, and of their selection of Jason Aaron as writer? Will you be buying a copy in October, or is this too weird for you? Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

Review: Thor: God of Thunder #22

Thor God of Thunder 22

THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #22
JASON AARON (WRITER) • ESAD RIBIC (ARTIST)
Cover by JEE-HYUNG
THE LAST DAYS OF MIDGARD – Part Four
• Thor and SHIELD agent Roz Solomon vs. Ulik the troll! ROXXON vs. Broxton, Oklahoma! And in the far future, the Goddesses of Thunder take on Old Galactus! But wait, where’s King Thor…?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Although Thor is one of Marvel’s most iconic characters, has had volume after volume of amazing stories associated with him, and probably has the highest profile he’s ever had thanks to the popularity of the Marvel movies, Thor: God of Thunder has been a wonderful and creative take on this long-time hero. Jason Aaron’s approach of exploring three distinct time periods in Thor’s history has been such a fun and exciting ride of a comic book series that any dip in the quality is more noteworthy than the release of yet another great issue. And so it was with Thor: God of Thunder #22. While it’s a great comic book, the comparison to the previous issues in the volume bring it down quite a few notches.

The Good

Like the vast majority of Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s work on this title, issue #22 is a fun and strong comic book that uses the Thor of three different time periods to tell wonderfully comparative stories with feeling and meaning. This ish delves further into present-day Thor’s dealing with the Roxxon energy company’s unabashed pollution of the Earth, and sets that story next to future King Thor dealing with a Galactus coming to devour an ancient and desolate Earth. The duality of these two tales dealing with the destruction of the Earth in two very different ways makes for a compelling story with an importance that hearkens to Marvel’s historical trend of dealing with important, real-world events, however Jason Aaron is much more in-your-face with his tactics. It’s wonderfully refreshing to see something like man-made climate change being put front and center in a mainstream publication, but using a character as popular as Thor in the process is a great way to stress the importance of this world issue. But Aaron goes the extra mile in this depiction of Earth’s destruction from two different angles, and by showing Thor’s weakness in the face of both Roxxon’s CEO, and Galactus the writer displays the severity of climate change spectacularly. All this, of course, is brilliantly drawn by the great Esad Ribic, and the artist is hitting on all cylinders in this issue. Beautiful lines, wonderful details, and an epic scope brings the book together so very nicely. This single ish was by no means the best of the arc, however.

The Bad

With this ish being part 4 of 5 of The Last Days of Midgard story arc, the issue dragged a bit compared to the the other books in the run, and there were reveals that seemed more than a bit forced. Ulik the troll showing up and the last page reveal of Roxxon CEO as the Minotaur to Thor is a bit overdue and had almost no impact on the reader at all. Ulik may be an old-school Thor villain, but with all the new elements in this title seeing something else new would have been nice, and Aaron’s imagination could bring something great. Things feel a bit rushed in this ish, as well, and the whole Broxton being bought by Roxxon and turned into downtown Beijing on a smoggy day coupled with Thor being sued by Roxxon and banned from his own Earthly HQ has barely been explored. I’m sure the Roxxon shareholders wouldn’t be thrilled by a Minotaur CEO, and with that cat out of the bag the whole aspect of this story has reached its end. But if my only complaint is that the cool elements in this issue were only cool within this issue it’s not all that bad.

The Verdict

I hate to judge a book by the previous books in the current arc, but this issue doesn’t really stand on its own, requires previous reading, and simply isn’t as good as those required issues. There were plenty of cool concepts introduced, fun characterizations, and an amazingly well-done and important social statement, but nothing that seems will last into the next issue. The future King Thor half if this ish definitely saves it in the long run, it’s a mixed bag for the present-day Thor half of this ish, but that wasn’t enough to ruin it altogether.

Story: 3.5 Out of 5
Art: 4.5 Out 5
Overall: 3.5 Out of 5

Top o’ the Lot: Wielders of Mjolnir Other Than Thor

Top o' the Lot Image Updated

From time to time Outright Geekery brings you a slanted and biased opinion on some trivially specific topic of geekery. We call it Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot.

“The Grinder”, as Mjolnir is translated, is one of the most recognizable weapons in all of comic fandom and, thanks to the success of those films, in all of popular culture. Yup, Thor’s Hammer, as it’s also known, is without a doubt awesome! Hard-hitting, it returns when you throw it, oh, and it lets you fly! It may be the perfect “tool” for Thor when he needs to kick some Ice Giant arse or save Midgard (because those weak men are so petty!) but the Asgardian Avenger isn’t the only character worthy of carrying a weapon forged by a god with the core of star! So, without further ado, we go to the obvious, keep it in the family, and run into completely crazy on our way to the Top o’ the Lot: Wielders of Mjolnir Other Than Thor.

Honorable Mention: Rogue

RogueThere’s lots of places I could take this list. Superman and Wonder Woman have held Mjolnir, and there’s the Ultimate Universe, and all the What If? comics. A person could go mad! So, I kept my list to the Marvel 616 proper…for the most part. I couldn’t let this first one go.

In a 1994 one-shot What If? comic aptly named What If Rogue Possessed the Power of Thor?, Rogue possessed the power of Thor. During the X-Men’s first battle with the Avengers Rogue puts it to Thor a bit too hard, takes all of his power, and is overtaken by the experience. She kills most of the Avengers and goes on one hell of a warpath, Mjolnir in tow. She eventually snaps out of it and comes to terms with her new power, but it’s just one of a ton of crazy examples of wielders of that hammer. Conan the Barbarian, Storm, even Deadpool were options, but, as weird as some of the choices were, the picks on this Lot seemed a lot more important.

5. Air Walker, Awesome Android, Pretty Much Any Humanized Robot

Mjolnir seems to have a soft spot in its bright golden sun of a heart for sentient robots, Air-Walkerbecause those droids with feelings have lifted the hammer quite often. Zarko, the Tomorrow Man, an evil scientist from the future, created a mining robot that lifted Mjolnir way back in 1962’s Journey Into Mystery. Air-Walker, the Nova Corps member formerly known as Gabriel Lan turned Herald to Galactus turned humanized android picked up the hammer in Thor #305 March 1981. Even the Mad Thinker’s Awesome Android was able to pick it up way back in Fantastic Four #15 June 1963. Kirby and Lee had a thing for robots, and lumping them all together into one spot on this Lot may be cheating, but the premise intrigues me, and I’d love to see it used more in today’s books. The next spot lumps a bunch of characters together, as well, but it makes a bit more sense.

4. Buri, Bor, and Odin

Among other Asgardians I’m sure I forgot to mention, Thor’s dad, his grandpa, and his great-grandpa are all able to pick up the hammer. And why shouldn’t they be able to? Heir to the thrown of BorAsgard and all. Everyone has seen Odin pick up and handle the weapon, but Buri, Thor’s great-grandfather in one version, and one of the forgers of the hammer in another, are worthy, and Thor’s grandfather Bor was resurrected by Loki in Thor #600 showing Thor exactly what IS possible (see image). Yes, this one may be cheating too, but it IS slanted and biased. This list is just a bit more slanted than usual. It gets a bit more straight and narrow from here on out.

3. Thunderstrike

Eric Masterson was once just one of Thor’s vessels on Earth, acting as his alter ego for almost 20 issues, and then taking on the role of Thor himself for another 20 or so, before Thunderstrikebeing spun-off into his own character Thunderstrike, which was spun-off into a 24-issue comic called Thunderstrike in 1993. Thor was always going through stuff and loaning the mantle out to worthy folks to help out while the god was off doing whatever it is he does whilst away. Classic Thor! Yes, I know, Thunderstrike actually has his own enchanted uru metal hammer that shared the hero’s name, but he held Mjolnir, wielded it well, and it was fun to see him pop up in the Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity War events. The next spot on the Lot is just plain old fun!

2. Captain America

Not that long ago in Thor #390 in 1988 Thor found himself a bit torn between Captain America and Captain AmericaIronman (his two best Avenger buds) who were having a bit of a falling out, and was confused when Cap showed up for a visit. If he hangs out with Steve, Tony may get mad! Oh, what’s a god to do?! Luckily, a bunch of badguys showed up and took his mind off his problems, and sometime during the fight Cap picks up Thor’s Hammer. That’s about it. Thor sees his buddy as a worthy ally, despite what that dick Tony Stark says about him, and they make up, hug, and do whatever people did back in the 60’s for fun. LSD? It’s an event that has yet to be repeated to my knowledge, and for decades we’ve had to wait and see if Captain America will ever wield the weapon again. We can hope for the impossible, but the Top spot on this Lot is obvious.

1. Beta Ray Bill

He was the first non-Norse to carry the weapon, and Walt Simonson’s 1983 monster turned hero creation isn’t only a fan favorite, he’s just plain old badass! Simonson wanted to go in a different direction with the entire idea of Thor; something new and weird; and Beta Ray Billthat’s exactly what readers got with the alien turned Asgardian. In his very first appearance, Thor is dispatched by S.H.I.E.L.D. to intercept an incoming alien spacecraft. The spaceship turns out to be sentient (I hate it when that happens), sees Thor as a threat, and releases Beta Ray Bill from suspended animation to protect it. And then there’s the fight! And what it fight it was, as Thor loses Mjolnir, Bill grabs it, and Odin forces them both to fight for the reward of being the wielder of the weapon. Bill eventually concedes and Odin gives him his very own hammer, Stormbreaker, with the alien going on to protect Earth and Asgard on several occasions. Yeah, it’s the obvious choice, but it’s certainly the best one, putting Beta Ray Bill at the Top o’ this week’s Lot.

See a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Tell us what you think about this installment of Top o’ Lot, join in the discussion and share your opinion.

Top o’ the Lot: Top 5 Thor Battles

Hiya folks! It’s nice to meet you! The name’s Taylor, and when I was asked to contribute here at Outright Geekery, I thought long and hard about what to write about. But they say that it’s for the best to write about what you love, and I love few things as much as I love good super hero throwdowns. And with Thor: The Dark World now in theaters, and Jason Aaron doing great things in his epic run on Thor: God of Thunder, what better time could there be to showcase one my favorite characters, the Mighty Thor, Prince of Asgard? So without further ado, let’s get my picks for Thor’s greatest battles in this installment of Top o’ the Lot!

Actually, let me take the ado a little bit further to clarify that I’m only going to be listing battles that Thor fought on his own. As such, this excludes the times he fought alongside the Avengers.

Honorable Mentions:

-Thor vs Iron Man from Thor #3

Shortly after Thor was brought back from the dead in 2007, J. Michael Straczynski gave us this gem of a fight early on in his run on the relaunched Thor. Hot off the heels of his actions during the Civil War event, Iron Man tracks down Thor in New Orleans to deliver an ultimatum: Thor must either register with the US government, or be considered an enemy combatant. To give some context, this is the first time that Thor and Iron Man have seen each other since Iron Man had begun to fight and arrest many of Thor’s old friends (most notably Captain America), and had created a clone of Thor (later dubbed Ragnarok) in order to help him in these endeavors. Needless to say, Thor was not pleased. His reaction is well summed up by the following pages…

The reason I like this fight so much is that it gives us a great example of the sheer power of the Odinson unleashed, not just in terms of swinging hammers and lightning bolts, but in the stalwart conviction with which he battles (much to Iron Man’s woe). Of course, it doesn’t hurt when the action is drawn by the hyper-talented Olivier Coipel. It’s kept from cracking my Top 5, though, by the one-sided nature of the fight. I mean, you’d have to be pretty generous to call this a “battle,” considering that it takes Thor all of 2 hits and a lightning bolt to reduce Iron Man’s armor to a useless shell. Still, it was fun while it lasted.

-Thor vs The Hulk in Hulk #300

What kind of list would this be if I didn’t mention at least one bout between Marvel’s two premiere powerhouses? After all, this is a rivalry that’s been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth, with constant debate over whether Thor is the mightiest of the Nine Realms or if Hulk is the strongest there is. While we may never establish a definitive answer to this question, at least we can appreciate that we’ve been given a number of good fights. The one that stands out the most to me, though, is the centerpiece fight in Hulk #300 by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema.

Having been driven into a mindless rage by the nefarious entity Nightmare, the Hulk begins Issue #300 on a seemingly unstoppable rampage through the city of New York. After smashing his way through every hero who tried to stand in his way, the Hulk is finally confronted by the Avengers. But when even Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are picked off one by one as well, it ultimately becomes clear that only Thor can stand up to the Hulk. What do you say we just let Sal Buscema take it from here?

As anyone blessed with the gift of sight could tell you, Buscema does a masterful job depicting the battle. The characters are both fierce and imposing as we see both Thor and the storms he conjures match the Hulk’s savagery. Yet the thing that makes the fight truly memorable, I think, was the way the issue built up to this moment. From the get-go, the Hulk has been running roughshod over stronger and stronger opponents; by the time the Thunder God steps up to the plate, the Jade Giant has already cast aside SHIELD agents, the Human Torch, Power Fist and Iron Man, and a whole team of well-coordinated Avengers. The tension reaches a high-point and indeed the Hulk seems nigh-unstoppable before Thor is finally able to give the monster pause. Watching the fight that ensues gives the reader a very satisfying payoff to all the build up.

Why, then, with all this going for it, did this fight not crack my Top 5? Well, after Thor and the Hulk trade blows for a few pages, the fight ends when this happens…

So, yeah, after all that, Thor and the Hulk’s awesome fight is brought to an abrupt end when Sorcerer Supreme and occasional Deus Ex Machina Doctor Strange shows up and magicks the Hulk out of our plane of existence. This was just a bit too anticlimactic for me to include this fight on my list.

#5: Thor vs The Midgard Serpent in Thor #380

Now, I’m fairly certain that it’s a crime against all that is good and decent in the world to talk about the greatest moments in Thor’s history without mentioning the great Walt Simonson. Fortunately, we have no such crime being committed here, because we’re starting off our list with Thor’s epic fight with Jormungand, the World Serpent!

At an earlier juncture in his fabled run with the character, Simonson had Thor run afoul of Hela, Goddess of the Dead, leading her to curse the Odinson with bones that were as brittle as glass and an eternal life with which to suffer the consequences. But not wanting to let something as trifling as a Death Goddess’ curse to keep him from fighting the good fight, Thor took to wearing enchanted armor to offset his new-found fragility. Furthermore, he determined that it was a good time to face the Midgard Serpent, the very beast that was destined to kill Thor at the end of time, hoping that  while he was effectively immortal, he could undo that bit of prophecy, even if the rest of his curse gave him an enormous disadvantage.

It is under this premise that Simonson treats us to a tour-de-force of artistic brilliance. Drawn completely in full-page and double-page spreads, the battle has an epic scope that is rarely achieved in comics or any other medium. With the heavy influence from the original Norse mythology that it has, this story has a primal, archetypal appeal to it, as we see Thor set out to conquer impossible odds, to slay a creature dauntingly larger than himself when one clean hit would leave the Thunder God broken for all eternity. Really, words don’t do it justice, so let’s just take a look.

Yes, that was Thor facing down a monster that makes Godzilla look like an iguana. Yes, that was Thor smashing his way out of the monster’s mouth through its teeth. And yes, Walt Simonson’s work on Thor cannot be praised enough.

#4: Thor vs Hercules in The Incredible Hercules #136

Things can be awesome for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, things are awesome because they are inspiring. Sometimes, because they are beautiful. And sometimes, things are awesome because they are simply hilarious. The battle between Thor and Hercules in The Incredible Hercules #136 by Greg Pak and Reilly Brown is the latter kind of awesome. Having been duped by Malekith the Accursed into impersonating Thor, Hercules finds himself in a tight spot when he becomes the leader of an army of dark elves committed to returning his “rightful” lands to him (it’s complicated). Fortunately, Thor arrives disguised as Hercules to defeat “Thor” and disband the dark elves’ legions.

What follows is a highly memorable and entertaining brawl between two longtime rival gods. Not only is the premise of the fight endearingly ridiculous, it’s also filled with clever banter and strong visuals. And just for good measure, Pak makes sure that even the sound effects contain jokes, with such fare as “GODDDATHUNDAAA,” SUKKKAPUNCH,” “THORRRRULZ,” and perhaps most memorably…

Ultimately, Hercules convinces Thor that he needs to fight like the real Hercules, which leads to this showstopping finale…

All in all, this is the sort of fun I’m glad to see in my comics, at least every now and then.

#3: Thor vs Superman in JLA/Avengers #2

While perhaps not as prominently argued as the Thor vs Hulk debate, another great fan feud has been the one between Thor and Superman. Seeing as Thor and Supes are major league heavy hitters from the comic industry’s most prominent publishers, there’s a natural fascination surrounding the issue as to who would kick whose ass in a fight. After all, this debate transcends mere character preferences and incorporates the rivalry between DC and Marvel. But while the whole rival company angle gives the hypothetical fight a certain mystique, it also means that there aren’t many opportunities to see the characters actually duke it out in the pages of a comic book. And so it was until Kurt Busiek and George Perez gave us the epic company crossover JLA/Avengers!

Having been made to compete against each other in the multiverse’s deadliest scavenger hunt, the JLA and the Avengers have been battling across each other’s universes to collect items such as the Infinity Gauntlet and Kyle Rayner’s Power Battery. At the end of the search, with the JLA up 6 items to 5, both teams gather in full with everything on the line in the Savage Land to claim the Cosmic Cube. It is here that Superman and Thor, the most powerful members on either team, finally have the one-on-one fight we’ve all been waiting for.

And so, as their teammates wage a hectic battle around them, Superman and Thor trade blows and verbal stings, crushing the forest around them. And though the battle was fierce, the Last Son of Krypton finally outlasts Thor and wins the day.

This fight makes the #3 spot on the list for a few reasons. First of all, we have the peerless artwork of George Perez, who really was the perfect choice for this book; not only does he have familiarity and comfort in drawing the A-list characters of bothpublishers, but no one draws gigantic, sprawling fights as well as he does. And once again, we have to appreciate the build-up to this moment. After all, this is the first time the two had met since both teams’ core members had gathered in Metropolis and THIS had happened…

Since this small sneak preview, Thor and Superman never find themselves in the same place at the same time until we reach the end of the contest and the stakes couldn’t be higher. With the chaos swirling around them, we get the fight we had been promised.

And you know what? I have to admire that Kurt Busiek had the guts to declare a winner. All too often, these types of crossover fights end with the characters coming to their senses, with some outside power forcing the fight to end prematurely, or some other sort of cop-out. But for this fight that had been argued for decades in comic shops across the world, Busiek saw it through to the end, and that scores major points in my book.

#2: Thor vs Bor in Thor #600

Coming in at #2, we have Thor’s battle with his resurrected grandfather, Bor, in an issue-long slobber-knocker which serves as the climax to Loki’s plan to banish Thor from Asgard and to J. Michael Straczynski’s run on the title with Olivier Coipel. After a long and arduous plot involving time travel, ghostly disguises and gender-swapping, Loki finally springs his trap by restoring Bor, the ancient King of Asgard, to present day New York, but not without cursing him to make him perceive everything around him as a threat. It is in this state that Thor finds him. So, naturally, a fight ensues between two of the greatest warriors Asgard has ever produced.

The fight continues in this way with Thor and his grandfather trading blows for several pages, evenly matched as they battle. As things continue, however, the situation continues to escalate as both combatants try everything they can to defeat their opponent. Thor even calls in the Avengers, whom he was estranged from at the time, to help subdue Bor. Thor was so estranged, in fact, that he hadn’t realized that Norman Osborn had control of the sanctioned Avengers team at that time.

Needless to say, Thor was not amused.

As things look increasingly desperate with Thor, Bor, and the Dark Avengers all fighting each other at once in a three-way standoff, Bor pulls out all the stops and unleashes the unrestrained power of the Odinforce (or Borforce, I guess).

Realizing that Bor had to be stopped before he destroyed all of Midgard, Thor girds himself to do what needs to be done, leading to this awe-inspiring final blow.

And so it was that Thor was forced to slay his opponent, striking so hard that Mjolnir itself was shattered by the impact. It is then that Loki shows up to inform Thor that his opponent was none other than the first King of Asgard, meaning that Thor is guilty of regicide, the penalty for which is exile.

Sorry for flooding the screen with half the fight on this one, but this is the type of fight that needs to be seen rather than described. As I said earlier, this issue is wall-to-wall action with almost no let-up at all. The pacing is beautifully handled as the fight leads up to a crescendo at the very end. And all of the action is brought to life by the very capable Olivier Coipel, which is always a point in any books favor. Add all of it up, and you have a duel between viking gods that is truly for the ages.

#1: Thor, Thor, and Thor vs Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: God of Thunder #009

I have to confess that when I determined the order of this list, I was slightly apprehensive about where this bout was going to appear. I say this because I’m paranoid about being a slave to the moment; after all, Jason Aaron’s run is still ongoing at the time of writing, with the issue in question having come out just a few short months ago. But the more I thought on it, the more I realized that this fight couldn’t possibly be anything less than #1, its relative youth be damned.

I’m talking of course about the slice of brilliance that is the bout between the Thors of three eras and the genocidal mad man known as the God Butcher.

If you never checked out Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s sublime work on the God Butcher and Godbomb story arches (and shame on you if you didn’t), this confrontation comes after 8 issues of Thor chasing down Gorr the God Butcher, a vengeful mortal wielding a terrible power, waging a one-man war against all gods everywhere, and holding a grudge against Thor for a fight they waged centuries ago. Thor’s chase ultimately leads him across the veil of time to the far future, where he meets his future self, King Thor, an All-Father of Asgard who had endured Gorr’s 900 year siege on the Realm Eternal. From here, the two Thunder Gods travel to Gorr’s  throneworld, where they come across the Thor of the viking era, a brash warrior not yet worthy of Mjolnir who had been plucked from the timestream to serve as Gorr’s slave.

With the stage set in this way, Aaron and Ribic give a virtuoso performance, a near perfect blending of strong writing and stunning art that I just cannot adequately describe with what weak words I can muster. This issue is one you just have to read for yourself. And thanks to Youtuber Fernando072295, you can enjoy it for yourself right now.

(Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WfseeMiPxo)

This fight demonstrates masterful work from Ribic. The way he plays with light and shadows, his ability to convey both subtle emotion and dynamic action (often at the same time), and his ability to convey the otherworldly nature of a fight between divine beings are all beyond reproach. Even if this issue had no words, and you just flipped through the artwork, it would still be a standout comic book. Fortunately, though, Jason Aaron’s words are every bit as strong as Ribic’s art. Aaron provides us with three unique Thors, depicting them in such a way that we see that they are three vastly different people, while still understanding how they could have been or will become one another.

Really, though, the best thing about this issue is how they embrace being over-the-freaking-top. We have our four combatants zipping back and forth between planets in a battle that spans light-years. We have Young Thor riding into battle on a star shark. We have a dark leviathan fueled by the blood of a million gods, swallowing our heroes whole. We have the Gods of Thunder furiously attacking their foe even as they plunge into the heart of a sun. And in the end, we have the sinking despair of hopelessness as the defeated Thors rain down from the heavens (spoiler warning: they get their second wind).

So yeah, it’s an awesome fight. It is not only my favorite Thor fight, but it might just be my favorite super hero fight ever.

That’s my list! Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to get your opinion! Please let me know how I can get better, and thanks for reading!

Review: Thor God Of Thunder #15

detail (11)

Thor God Of Thuder #15

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Ron Garney

The hunt for Malekith continues, as Thor leads his new D&D party, I mean the League of Realms. Seriously though, A Dark Elf sorceress!A gun-toting Light Elf! A gargantuan Mountain Giant! A dwarf who loves dynamite! and a particularly surly troll, tell me that doesn’t scream D&D? Anyways their seems to roam in circles as they can barely stop fighting between themselves, Thor does his best to hold the team together but when one of them falls, could all the realms be soon to war?

The Good: The League of Realms is no doubt the most practical use of the huge world of Norse Mythology the Marvel Universe hasn’t tapped into really. A fresh breather compared to usual use of the Asgardian Pantheon put in to the game. The story moves smoothly as Jason Aaron tells the story he wants. Most writers seem to drag Malekith out but this being part three of five, it def felt like this was the issue to pick up. Ron Garney is downright the perfect man for the job with this arc. The art def gives it that RPG feel as you follow the League though the search!

The Bad: While this is a fun read, the previous arc, God Butcher, as so good, if not the Thor story to read. It seems to eclipse every issue. Don’t get me wrong, this is a def good title and this has been an awesome story with little bad. Just that man that last story was so much better. I will say some of the banter, while extremely funny, seems a bit obvious but could be better knowing Aaron’s body of work.

The Verdict: If you’re a Thor fan, this is the title you hath been waiting for since J. Michael Straczynski left the book a while ago. I down right love this title. I’m a huge fan of the League of Realms and hope they continue to exist long after the hunt for Malekith is over. I love it, pick it up!

-JulesTrue

Movie Review: Thor: The Dark World (Spoiler Free!)

Thor-The-Dark-World

Tuesday evening I was lucky enough to catch an advanced screening of Marvel’s second movie offering starring the Asgardian Avenger, Thor: The Dark World, and although the flick had a bit of trouble finding its identity, and was a bit burdened by an overuse of comic relief, The Dark World stands on its own as a Marvel Universe movie. Here’s a quick (spoiler free) review.

The Good

Everything you’d expect from a Thor movie was there, and they did a real nice job moving the story forward from the last Thor movie and the events of The Avengers. While the action is nonstop, save for a 20 minute or so lull towards the beginning, the story doesn’t suffer a bit from it, and is quite good. The dialogue and character interactions make the movie, with each character standing out in their own remarkable way at least once. Without spoiling a thing, because it’s probably pretty obvious, Loki pretty much steals the show, and, besides some brilliant comedic (yes, comedic!) action from Mjolnir (yes, Mjolnir!), will be all anyone talks about from late Thursday night into next week!

The Bad

The use of comedy throughout the movie is a bit overplayed. While there are a lot terrific moments, I was taken out of the action a bit too much by some of it. It also felt like the movie had a hard time figuring out exactly what it wanted to be. There’s a love story, but it’s not a love story; there’s a story of brothers, but it’s not a brothers’ tale; there’s action, but it didn’t have the same scale as other Marvel flicks; I laughed a whole lot, but it was by no means a comedy. Now, maybe this should be part of The Good because, overall, it was still a good movie, but there was a different feel than previous installments of the Marvel series of movies, which surprised me.

The Verdict

You should probably go check this out. While I had my issues with it, as a Marvel fanboy, they’re pretty much just nits I like to pick. Thor: The Dark World is a solid movie, a great tie-in to the overall Marvel movie universe, yet different from the previous Marvel fare or the typical action flick. And hey, it’s all anyoneis going to be talking about anyways, right? Go check it out this weekend.