Marvel Studios’ newest Thor installment, Thor: Ragnarok, opens in theaters next month, which means the publishing arm of Marvel has to release yet another prelude book. These exist purely as corporate tie-ins, with a two-to-four-issue miniseries packed with a handful of older comics to give readers a taste of the stories a film is based on. The Ragnarok one is no different, and is easily dispensable. The four-issue “prelude” is nothing but a re-telling of the two most recent films starring the Hulk and Thor.
The first two issues rush through the plot of The Incredible Hulk, a nine year old movie that was the last time Bruce Banner had a solo outing. Louis Leterrier’s film, written by Zak Penn, was mostly a forgotten part of the MCU until William Hurt showed up out of nowhere in Captain America: Civil War as Gen. Thaddeus Ross. Will Corona Pilgrim is tasked with cramming the events of a 112-minute movie into 44 pages, with uninspiring art from J.L. Giles.
Next up, Pilgrim and Giles re-tell the events of Thor: The Dark World as quickly as they can. So much action is crammed onto these pages that there’s often pages with nine panels. It doesn’t add anything to the film and it doesn’t look like Giles made any attempt to make his figures look like the actors in the films. Who knew Liv Tyler and Natalie Portman looked like the same person?
In order to add to the page count, Marvel included two older Thor and Hulk stories. Thor #361 (originally published in 1985 but misidentified as 1966 on the back of the book) includes a fight with Hela, the villain played by Cate Blanchett in Ragnarok. Written and drawn by Walter Simonson, there’s more originality here than in the new material. Marvel also tossed in Incredible Hulk Vol. 2 #95 (originally published in 2006, but misidentified as 2000 on the back), which is the fourth part of “Planet Hulk: Exile.”
Thor: Ragnarok – Prelude is a really pointless book, meant to attract an unsuspecting Barnes & Noble buyer thinking that it might be an actual prequel to the movie. But instead it’s just a quick summary of the events of The Incredible Hulk and Thor: The Dark World. This is an incredibly brazen cash-grab, just like the Spider-Man: Homecoming prelude was. You can save $15.99 by just watching the movies or reading the synopses online.
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