Since Secret Wars ended, Odinson (the original Thor) has been missing. This mini-series caught us up with him, on his obsessive quest to become worthy again, or to find something that can replace his Mjolnir. That quest led him to teaming up with Beta Ray Bill, being the Collector’s captive, and an all-out brawl with some of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful characters. The previous issue ended with Odinson about to grab onto the Ultimate Universe’s Mjolnir while the Collector fought Thanos’s allies.
Written by Jason Aaron, the first half of this issue is a big action scene, intermixed with Thor deciding that the Ultimate hammer isn’t his to wield. He seems to come to several troubling realizations, but his resolve isn’t weakened one bit. He still proves himself a powerful fighter, able to hold off Black Swan and Proxima Midnight, while completely wrecking The Collector with a surge of power received from touching the Ultimate hammer. It’s a great action scene, with a touch of humour from Thori the demon dog toward the end.
The rest of this comic gives us a dramatic closer to Odinson’s journey, while also revealing exactly what Nick Fury whispered into Thor’s ear that caused him to become unworthy in the first place. It leads to a short yet deep conversation between Thor and Beta Ray Bill, and that Thor seems to have gained wisdom through the whole ordeal. There’s also a lot of intense build-up for things to come, both with Thanos’s crew and with the Ultimate Mjolnir itself. It all closes off a fun mini-series with an ending that’s deep and satisfying.
There are three artists credited in this issue. I’m not entirely sure where one starts and the other ends, but Olivier Coipel, Kim Jacinto and Pascal Alixe all contribute. In any case, it’s mostly good, but not as consistently great as in previous issues. The page where Thor touches the hammer is a great mix of close-ups on Thor’s hand, a wider shot showing Thor standing before it, and Beta Ray Bill looking on after being knocked down during the fight. Thor’s facial expression after a brilliant montage of Thor’s various looks throughout the years says it all – he’s disappointed, but he’s also come to terms with it. The energy he’s throwing around from his brief power boost leads to the best art in the comic though. He’s walking around with electricity surrounding his arms, his eyes glowing blue, and a look of determination on his face. There’s a lot of debris flying around too. There are other pages where character details aren’t as good though. For example, the last time we see the collector, he just looks weird. There are also two colourists credited: Mat Lopes and Jay Davis Ramos. The comic is colourful despite the dark environments throughout, especially when Thor starts smashing the ground, throwing electricity everywhere, leading to realistic looking flares surrounding the sparks. Old Asgard is a great mix of grayed out landscape from the damage, and the green of new plant life starting to grow.
For those who want to understand why Thor can no longer lift the hammer, or those who just want to read about his own personal journey, this is a must read. The action is intense in all the right ways, and there’s a lot of drama behind it. As for what Nick Fury said, it would be nasty to spoil it, but from a dramatic standpoint it works better than I thought it would. It not only ties to the start of Jason Aaron’s run on Thor, but it explains why the hammer is choosing mortals in a compelling way. It’s at least enough that people are discussing its meaning online, and most seem to be at least somewhat satisfied. The only thing holding this issue back is the inconsistent art.