I’ve reviewed my fair share of Thor Epic Collections here at AIPT, some of which reaped some interesting news items, to say the least. There’s a lot of rich history in these Epic Collections, and the latest stories by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz continue the adventures of Eric Masterson. He’s a modern Thor who took up the mantle when Odinson was hidden away by his father. Masterson even claimed his own series Thunderstrike later on in the 1990s. This collection runs 472 pages long and features Thor #437-450, and Thor Annual #16-17 which originally published from 1991 to 1992. Here are three big reasons why this is a worthy book for Thor and for humans like us to read.
#1: Thor from the year 2591
This book opens with the origin of a Thor from the future who rises up to smite an oppressive society where the “age of governments” came to an end. In its place, big business took over to rule us. Doesn’t sound so far-fetched. Thor’s hammer lays open to the public from the ancient age of heroes and a young man grabs it like King Arthur’s sword from the stone to rise up and be the hero the people need. It also features the original Guardians of the Galaxy in all their weird, futuristic glory.
It’s a story that features a punk-looking Thor with metal studs on his jacket, but is very worthy of the mantle. Later in the collection, he shows up to fight Thor and Beta Ray Bill so it’s not simply a one-shot moment. This character is an example of how the series took chances straying from fantasy and dipping its toes into science fiction.
#2: A humble hero trying to live up to the mantle of Thor
Most of this book is devoted to the main Thor character, who is Eric Masterson transformed into the thunder god. His adventures started in the last Epic Collection and while he’s fought plenty of supervillains, he’s still a bit unsure about his role as a superhero. It’s a stark contrast from how Thor was written previously, since he was a hero who was full of himself and a touch egomaniacal. Masterson’s Thor is also facing a culture that does not accept him. Loki for instance sees him as a false hero and tells him as much. This is a more relatable Thor which is an improvement on the traditional version in some ways.
#3: So many battles, so little time
As an action comic, this book doesn’t disappoint. There are battles with Ego the Living Planet, Hercules, Quasar, Gladiator, and even a green dude who looks like a hulked out Grinch. The beauty of this book in particular is how it juggles supervillains from space and battles in the streets. This is a Thor who isn’t tied to the cosmic universe as much — in fact, he’s not that familiar — so he has a natural tendency to take on fights in New York with equal gusto as fights with super-powered aliens.
The title of this book “The Thor War” is featured in four issues and has Thor fight Loki, Tomorrow Man, and Skurge to name a few. Beta Ray Bill, Thor, and Thor of the future all team up to take on various enemies, some of which are brand-new from the future. It’s an exciting story arc that takes place midway through this book and serves as a blending of three kinds of heroes and how they face a powerful foe. It also ends with Masterson casually saying “I liked hanging out with those guys,” in a nice example of how this hero is way more down to earth.
The 1990s were an incredible time for comic books as they elevated the narratives in new ways while supplying a modern, detailed look in their visual design. Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz were onto something with a new kind of Thor who wanted to do the mantle justice but also didn’t take it deadly seriously. Thor Epic Collection: The Thor War features multiple examples of creators taking chances and making the series better for it.
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