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Mighty Thor #1

Mighty Thor #1

Capsule Review

I liked about half of what is going on here, but as a whole the book fell just short for me. Writer Jason Aaron starts out well, with sensitive if grim insight into the realities of being a cancer patient, and then the book hits the gas when our lady Thor goes into action, with a daring space rescue that so exceeds the ability of lesser heroes that the Avengers are reduced to spectator status. But then the book hits a wall, with a lot of exposition about Asgardian political intrigue, punctuated by an unfortunate sequence where a bunch of senators argue with each other from floating platforms that evokes the most tiresome scenes of the Star Wars prequels. This is a beautiful-looking book — artist Russell Dauterman gives it his all — but he might more easily heft Mjolnir than make a dozen pages of talking-head exposition play, especially one laden with verbal wet noodles like “If the Congress of Worlds will not intervene IMMEDIATELY to stop these atrocities then it has forsaken everything for which it was ever meant to stand …” What’s next on Asgard C-SPAN? How a bill becomes a law? I appreciate the ambition — and the subject is handled with taste — but having cancer at the heart of this story was also a dangerous distraction. Cancer isn’t a radioactive spider — it has struck close to home for far too many of us. Jane Foster can beat her cancer by turning into Thor, but it comes back with a vengeance when she returns to her mortal form. Yet she refuses to remain Thor because the mortal work she has to do is so important that she cannot remain Thor all of the time. That’s not enough. When that bastard cancer has hold of you, you’ll do anything to beat it. Anything. No way do secret identity concerns or political intrigue move the needle when cancer is in the room. I expect I’m missing subtext here, and I do sense that I came in to this saga at the wrong moment — that I should go back and read the well-regarded series that led into this — but this is the jumping-on point for this new series, and it failed to onboard me as a new reader.

Approachability For New Readers

Poor. This was my first experience with Lady Thor — I would have appreciated a bit more insight into how she came to be, and less senatorial thundering about elvish treaty violations. Existing readers might regard this as making mountains out of mole hills, but this is the first issue of a reboot and I hold it to a higher standard.

Read #2?

No, at least not without going back and reading much of what has come before.

Sales Rank

#12 November

Read more about Marvel’s monsters at Longbox Graveyard

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

 

Mighty Thor #1

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Marvel Land!

This past week saw my semi-annual family outing to Disneyland, in honor of my oldest boy’s seventeenth birthday.

(If your seventeen-year-old consents to going to Disneyland with you, the only response is “yes.” This may well be the last time I enjoy Disneyland with my boy).

We had the usual time — it was a good day — and it was relaxed enough that we visited some out-of-the-way corners of the park, including the Marvel attractions that have been shoehorned in to the “Innoventions” pavilion … a kind of spare-parts collection on the rump side of Tomorrowland, occupying a building that hasn’t quite had a purpose since America Sings packed it in back in 1988. Now it’s full of Microsoft stuff and … of interest to me … artifacts from Marvel’s recent movies.

Front and center was the Iron Man Hall of Armor.

Iron Man at Disneyland

(photo by Collider)

I’d seen these suits when they made the tour at San Diego Comic-Con, but it was nice to get close to them in the sparsely-attended exhibit. There was a motion-capture gimmick where you could stand in line and seem to “suit up” in the armor on a large view screen. My boy started listing the obscene gestures he’d make were he to get on camera, so rather than have security tackle him, I contented myself with snapping an illicit photo of The Flash inside Tony Stark’s holy of holies and hustled everyone onto the next display …

The Flash photobombs Iron Man!

… which was the Treasures of Asgard throne room.

From the outside, it looked like a short line-up to view various props from the movies. I remembered the big Asgard throne from Comic-Con a couple years ago, so I figured it was worth checking it out for my family, who liked the film.

Treasures of Asgard

Turns out that behind the doors were more prop exhibits and a little show. The voice of Anthony Hopkins gave us a potted history of Asgard and Midgard* (*Midgard = Earth), then a mole fogger and some disco light whisked us away to the Realm Eternal.

Yes … at the end of our Rainbow Bridge was one of those awkward autograph encounters with a Disney princess, but in this case the princess was a kid in a Thor suit (who did a fine job, but still — awkward). We snuck out while he was signing autographs for a couple kids who seemed convinced that they’d really gone to Asgard.

Thor at Disneyland

(Collider, again)

Overall, Marvel has little presence at Disneyland. It feels a bit like the characters are sleeping on the couch. But from little things do mighty exhibits grow, and Disney has a tradition of repurposing film props as attractions (in fact, one of the original “rides” when Disneyland opened in 1955 was a walk-through of sets from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea). In time I expect we’ll be able to experience Marvel rides at Disneyland, just as you can presently adventure along with Indiana Jones and Star Wars/Star Tours. My preference would be for Disneyland to level the nostalgic-but-underutilized Tom Sawyer’s Island and replace it with Marvel’s Manhattan.

In the meantime, Flash got to photobomb Odin’s throne room.

Flash In Asgard!

Good times.

The 1974 Irving Awards

This week’s F.O.O.M. Friday is the “Irving Awards” ballot from F.O.O.M. #9 that I carefully filled out … but apparently never sent in!

The 1974 Irving Awards

This earnestly-filled-out ballot is like a time capsule for me!

First of all, my penmanship wasn’t half-bad for a twelve-year old … and I was confident enough to do the ballot in pen!

Second, that return address was for my grandmother’s house, which meant my family and I were between addresses when I subscribed to F.O.O.M. — likely still at the Hollywood, CA address where I experienced the first blush of my personal Golden Age.

Third, I really liked Thor! My nominee for “Favorite Marvel Color Story” was Thor #227, the first issue of that series I ever saw:

my first Thor

I have no clue why I nominated Thor #153 as my favorite cover — I must have been confused, as I’ve never laid eyes on that issue! And I was likewise confused about many of the creative roles called out for making comics, having no favorite Penciller (neglecting to understand that Penciller = Artist), and, I am sure, just picking the names of Inkers, Letterers, and even Writers at random!

A bit more care went into my character selections. It would have been cool to pair Firelord with the Human Torch in Marvel Team-Up (and there’s another Thor #227 connection, as Firelord figured in that story). Likewise, the Vision was definitely the guy-most-deserving of his own book in 1974, and a Hawkeye/Spider-Man partnership still sounds like fun to me!

Finally, even though I wasn’t a Spider-Man fan, and even though I’d never read a story about him, so great was my love of dinosaurs that I nominated “The Lizzard” as my favorite Marvel villain. It’s possible I’d encountered the character in a Ditko reprint some time in 1974, but chances are better I was thinking of this guy:

Gorn!

See you next week for another F.O.O.M. Friday!

Who Is Don Blake?

I had a guest blog published at Sequart over the weekend. Who Is Don Blake examines the strange secret identity (and identity crisis!) of everyone’s favorite Norse superhero, the Mighty Thor!

Thor's original virtues, right there on the label

The Sequart Research & Literacy Organization is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting comic books as a legitimate artform. This is the second time I’ve published an article at Sequart, as they previously reprinted my piece on how Grant Morrison and Alan Moore handled the death of Superman.

Who Is Don Blake?

Thanks to Sequart for publishing my work! Head on over to Sequart to see what I had to say about Don Blake, then feel free to come back here and tell me what you thought!

Sequart

Thor Returns!

Thor returns to cinemas this week with the premiere of Thor: The Dark World!

Hopefully you read Longbox Graveyard’s coverage of the film’s Parisian premiere, which included an impossible suave Tom Hiddleston wowing the crowd by speaking French!

Thor The Dark World

Get ready for the movie by reviewing my Thor articles here at Longbox Graveyard, celebrating the classic run by Walt Simonson. These comics were a significant influence on the cinematic version of Thor (including the first appears of Malekith the Dark Elf, who serves as this movie’s “big bad.”)

The Stuff of Legends

The Mighty Thor!

and

Catching Lightning

Beta Ray Thor!

(and don’t forget my Thor Pinterest Gallery!)

I will also have an original Thor article published at Sequart later this week — about which more on Monday!

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