Pietà is an Italian word meaning “pity.” During the Renaissance, the word became synonymous with a specific sculpture type representing Mary holding the body of Jesus after the crucifixion. The less well known term for these sculptures was “lamentation.” The most famous of these is by Michelangelo and has spawned countless imitations. It is no coincidence that this piece is used multiple times in this volume of The Mighty Thor, both in the pages and in variant covers. This book is a lamentation, a Pietà. It is the end of beauty and goodness in an act of self-sacrifice for something greater than one’s self. The journey taken by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson, many other artists and colorists, and Jane Foster herself comes to an end in this volume that wraps up a true work of art in modern comics.
The arc throughout the volume is, as it has been, a parallel between Jane Foster’s battle with her own body and the fights that she takes on as Thor. When wielding Mjolnir, she is powerful, the goddess of thunder. When she puts the magical hammer down, she is weak, dying, getting worse each and every time. Her battles as Thor are multiple as well, including physical battles with the Mangog, a nearly unstoppable creature from Odin’s own past, and Malkeith, leader of Svartelfheim and constant thorn in the side of all things good in the universe. She also must deal with the political machinations of Asgard, with an Odin who despises her as Thor, an Odinson who loves her, and gods warring amongst themselves for the best courses of action. She must split her efforts between these battles, all the while heading for the inevitable final showdown with the Mangog and her own cancer.
As I have talked about at length in my own reviews of the individual comics that make up this volume, the art and color by the team of Dauterman and Wilson is something beyond expectation. When intensity is needed, it is found in abundance. Panels exist in their own space as they are needed to tell the story, not restricting themselves to rectangles, but spreading across pages and even inside onomatopoeic sounds that crash across the cosmos. In addition to the sheer beauty of the art surrounding Thor herself, the throwback look of the Mangog brings to mind the best of Jack Kirby’s style. The creature truly is a throwback and a worthy final foe.
Much can be said about the comic, and has. Out of all the gorgeous pages in this volume, the one I have spent the most time on is the collected height chart of characters put together by Dauterman. In a two-page spread, he has collected all of the characters together, some detailed, some simple, to keep himself honest in his depictions of man, god, and creature. It is a reminder of how much work has gone into this series over the past few years. Everyone who worked on this book should be infinitely proud of the work they did. Each volume of this set has a central place on my shelf, always ready to flip through or lend to someone in need of inspiration. I was full of lamentation at the end of this run, but I see the subtle joy that exists in embracing change and the next phase of life. As Jane Foster, Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matt Wilson move on, so shall we all to new and different stories about the Mighty Thor. We shall, however, always remember that she proved herself, if nothing else, worthy.