I decided to jump into the current ongoing Thor series after it was recommended to me by my local comic shop owner. Every week when I come in to pick up my books, my 5 year-old would often walk away with one of the True Believers reprints available at the front of the shop. Looking through the spinner rack, she almost always grabbed a Jack Kirby issue. The vibrant colors and busy, energetic cover design jumped off the page, making them seductive and welcoming to a new reader. While Kirby died years before my daughter was born, the timeless quality of those books still engages readers today.
I mention this in the context of Donny Cates and Nic Klein’s current run on Thor because their work feels like an appropriate rainbow bridge between those classic Kirby adventures and modern comic storytelling. This issue is what comic books should be: bigger than life, outlandish yet earnest, colorful and lively.
As I did not read the first three issues (although I plan to remedy that when the first run gets republished in trade), the background synopsis on the first page was a necessity. I found myself chuckling reading the eccentric tale being weaved here: Thor, having become the All-Father of Asgard, is now working with Galactus, who has imbued him with the Power Cosmic to stop an evil force known as The Black Winter. This interstellar villain is bent on destroying the universe and can only be stopped if Glactus consumes five specific planets. Thor, recognizing the need to stop The Black Winter, is adding Galactus by evacuating each planet’s inhabitants. Only a comic book could do that with a straight face!
The plot sounded batty, but the ease in which Cates makes you feel like this is all understandable and rational is a testament to his writing chops. Within this single issue, he moves briskly between fitting character interaction and larger narrative plotting. Much like the Kirby issues my daughter has been picking up, Cates understands that the single-issue comic should provide a complete story within its 24 pages, even when part of a larger story arc. Klein’s linework is contemporary but fantastically and vibrant; each page is filled with larger-than-life visuals woven together commendably with inspired panel layout. Matt Wilson’s colors should also not go unnoticed; they are attractive and exciting, giving the book an appealing vibrancy.
I was not familiar with either of the creative forces behind this book prior to picking up this issue, but they have made me a fan. Even if you are not a Thor aficionado, this current run is one to check out if you love the art of comics.