The Asgard/Shi’ar war started off much differently than I expected. It started off with a brief invasion of Asgard by the Shi’ar, and then Thor found herself teleported to a chamber, face to face with the gods of the Shi’ar. The second issue (last month’s), was mostly the beginning of a series of challenges between Thor and the Shi’ar deities, while Sif convinced Cul to retaliate with a brilliantly written speech. This is the issue where things really start to pick up.
The Mighty Thor 17, written by Jason Aaron, begins with the Shi’ar gods kicking off the next round of their “challenge of the gods” by sending a supercomet straight at a planet. Thor’s solution to the problem is a simple yet creative one. Time and time again, the Shi’ar prove themselves to be extremely powerful, but at the same time, really dickish. They kill people just for the sake of being feared. Also time and time again, Thor tries to save as many people as possible, showing that she actually cares about people the same way that Odinson does. Maybe even more so. There’s a great line by the little green guy (forget who he is) saying that he wishes Gorr could have killed the Shi’ar gods instead. He raises a good point – the Shi’ar deities almost make people like Gorr the God Butcher necessary.
While the challenge is going on, Asgard arrives at the Shi’ar Empire in full force, and the following battle scene is epic. The space battle is complete with Asgardians tearing apart technology with their swords, Gladiator fighting the Destroyer and Cull being hardcore. The comic ends with the Asgardians catching up with Thor, and despite their huge problems, she and Cul seem to get along just fine when they’re united against the Shi’ar.
The art by Russell Dauterman is utterly fantastic. The supercomet on the first page is glowing with all sorts of energy as it flies through the stars. The opening page also shows the Shi’ar deities standing on a small asteroid, glowing, a close-up of Thor making her preparations (I won’t spoil what happens), and a great spread in the middle of Thor standing in front of the supercomet as it approaches, followed by a worded sound effect in big letters, with Thor and her lighting within. The level of detail is incredible. The quality level remains throughout the rest of the comic, whether it’s the well varied environments during the challenge of the gods, the debris when something is destroyed (which happens often) or the perfectly captured facial expressions. The battle scene might actually look even better with the stars in the background, smoke in the foreground, well varied character outfits and great use of occasional motion blurs. There are times when this comic almost looks like a live action movie with a huge special effects budget. Matthew Wilson’s colouring brings the art to life. This is a bright and colourful comic with realistic looking reflections on metal objects and brilliant use of glows from lights and power effects.
With an enjoyable epic story that splashes touches of drama and probably the best comic art I’ve seen in 2017 so far, this comic is easily my favourite of the week. It’s a self-contained story that still makes a few references to Aaron’s previous Thor writing. The ending feels a bit weird and isn’t as exciting as it probably should be, but that’s the closest thing to a complaint that I can come up with. To not recommend this comic would be a mistake.