I had a great time volume two of the Walter Simonson The Mighty Thor in part because it inspired a lot of what made Thor: Ragnarok so great. There’s no doubt Simonson is one of the greatest contributors to the Thor mythos, which makes these thick collections must reads if you dig the character.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Few people have ever left their mark on one character quite the way Walter Simonson has. His work on the MIGHTY THOR swept the Norse God of Thunder to heights never before seen and rarely achieved in his wake. Spanning epic tales of heroism and treachery, love and war, Simonson’s work is often considered the definitive Thor. From the majesty and mystery of fabled Asgard to the gritty streets of New York City, Thor was never the same. That is the mark of a true visionary. This third volume continues the collection of Simonson’s epic run – completely remastered from the original artwork and dynamically recolored by Steve Oliff .
Why does this matter?
This collection collects Thor #357 to #363 as well as Balder the Brave #1 to #4 and is written by Simonson with art by the great Sal Buscema. Highlights include that time Loki and Thor slept with the same woman, some iconic Tooth-Gnasher moments, and the iconic Skurge machine gun toting scene.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Asgard no more! This is a scan from an older issue before this volume’s recoloring.
That Skurge scene mentioned above is so damn iconic and well done he’s barely been used since. Simonson nails the revelry of this gun-toting alien god with some of the greatest comic pages in existence. It’s also a great opportunity to see the remastered coloring by Steve Oliff. It’s only a three-page scene, but it’s reminiscent of Wolverine taking out the guards in Weapon X and has a ’90s vibe that’s unmistakable.
Speaking of ’90s vibes, Simonson introduces an interesting element to Thor in this series as he wears a red mask from his cape. It serves a purpose due to Hela’s powers, but it also gives him a new lease on vigilante style heroism.
Another cool element introduced right at the start is a high tech group of covert ops enemies who end up shrinking down into cards. There’s a villain using a genius to cook up toys for him to rob banks — a cliched story beat to be sure, but it adds an interesting layer to the enemies of Thor. Beta Ray Bill also ends up being a main character for the first few chapters and his relationship with Sif is a fun development I’d love to see in the films.
Simonson’s art is exceptional, of course, from the Skurge scene to all the times Thor swings his hammer in this collection. His art is detailed and does well to create Kirby-esque technology or show the scope of giant armies. If you did not read a single word you’d still find enjoyment in this collection.
This is a scan from an older issue before this volumes recoloring.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The melodrama of Thor getting duped by love magic is tiresome. It’s a plot device used in the last collection, which further makes it a boring turn. Thor is more of a simple sort who wears his emotions on his sleeve, which makes the magic element an easy sell, but it also makes Thor somewhat boring. This collection also marks a time when Asgard was no more, which further sets its story and plot in an obtuse and strange limbo.
This is also an older time in comics when heavy use of dialogue was customary. This kills the pace of an already ho-hum story sending it into an almost unreadable place. There are moments of great entertainment, but for the most part it’s a tepid adventure.
Is It Good?
Save for the iconic Skurge scene, this collection is just okay. It retreads some simple plotting and is a slower read due to its pace. There are still some gems in this read including some fantastic art from Simonson, but I’d only recommend this for diehard Thor fans who don’t have it yet.
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