Four Letter Nerd

4LN Throwback Comic Review: Thor #80-85 – Ragnarok Parts the First Through the Sixth

Book: Thor #80-85
Writer: Michael Oeming
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Colorist: Laura Villari

Summary from Amazon (not available on Comixology): “Ragnarok appears to have come for the gods of Asgard, and only Thor and his Avengers allies might be able to stave off that fate – but will the Thunder God be Asgard’s savior, or the architect of its downfall? In search of new wisdom, Thor must repeat the ordeals of Odin – and the price may be too terrible for even an immortal to pay! Beset on all sides by treacherous foes from his past, the God of Thunder leads the tattered remnants of the forces of Asgard on a desperate quest, as the Realm Eternal burns.”

4d_91073_0_ThorVol280RagnarokParttheFirst

Overview

Over the last year or so Thor has become one of my favorite superheroes.  A lot of this has to do with the awesome run by Jason Aaron, Thor: God of Thunder, which will soon be drawing to a close, but I have also been trying to read up on other Thor stories.  I have read a majority of J. Michael Straczynski’s run and thought it was pretty decent despite Asgard being rebuilt above Broxton, Oklahoma (my family is from Oklahoma so I am probably a little biased), as well as a few of the original issues by comic behemoth’s Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  I will eventually work my way through Walt Simonson’s run, but his omnibus costs more than my left kidney, so that will have to wait for now.

This particular arc was recommended to me by our good friend (and purveyor of comics) Steve, at our 4LN Birthday Con at Comic Collector Live: the Store (if you missed it you can still get an awesome shirt here).  He was so sure that I would like it that he drove home to get them and bring them back up to the shop.  Steve apparently has a knack for recommending books to people (which makes sense given his chosen profession), because I loved it.  I read all six parts in two nights, which is pretty good when dealing with a toddler and a pregnant wife on bed-rest.

The Good

This book is like a Norse Lord of the Rings, which I mean as the highest of compliments.  Everything about it, from the story to the illustration, just felt like a mythological epic. In Norse Mythology, Ragnarok is often interpreted as a cyclical twilight/apocalypse of the gods, and this story feels like it.  Oeming definitely sets a darker tone than most of the other Thories I’ve read, but it fits with the setting (which is the end of everything). The story’s tone is matched perfectly by Di Vito’s art. All of the character designs were solid (I particularly liked Thor’s outfit in the later issues), but what really stole the show was the scenery and battle sequences. The battles were absolutely brutal and the scenery in the different realms was beautiful. There were several panels that I spent a while just staring at. One scene in particular shows Thor searching for wisdom in a mountain temple and everything about it was stunning. The angle was from above the temple looking down on the plateau where Thor stood gazing off the cliff — it was a solid piece of art that blew me away.

 

The Bad

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I didn’t find anything wrong with this book. Some might not like the darker tone and ending, but I felt that it ended perfectly. There were a lot of deaths in this book, and the pace rarely let up, so if you have to have a happy story from first to last, you might be a little disappointed (“little” might be a bit of an understatement).

 

The Final Say

This arc is just tremendous.  The characterizations, story, and art all have a deep sense of a mythological epic. It’s kind of hard to find it right now because it’s not available as a digital copy, so you have to order the trade or find the individual copies somewhere, but it’s well worth it.  This book is a solid 4 out of 4.  If you manage to get a hold of a copy, let us know what you think in the comments!

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Cam Clark

Cam is a husband, father, and a fan of many things. In college, he wrote his senior thesis on Mythological, Philosophical, and Theological Themes in Star Wars, and now spends his days causally specializing in Star Wars, Tolkien, and cubical work. No relation to Bill Clark.

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