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Thor by Donny Cates Vol. 3: Revelations
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Thor by Donny Cates Vol. 3: Revelations’ lacks cohesion, but presents new fretfulness in the King of Asgard

Revelations doesn’t quite manage to feel like a full story.

Thor is in a period of flux, both as a character and as a book. In new hands and with a new purpose, the story being told sits, a little over a year into its run, in an unsure position, at least partially because it’s consistently being judged against the stories that precede it.

Another concern is that Thor is unable to be the sort of Thor most fans are familiar with: reined in by duty as the King of Asgard, wracked with uncertainty (and warped by writer Donny Cates’ aesthetic), the Thor in Revelations can’t manage his jocularity, can’t traipse off on carefree adventures in other realms. Hell, he can’t even properly wield Mjolnir.

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Thor Vol. 3: Revelations
Pesky thing.
Marvel Comics

None of this is a bad thing. If anything, it illustrates the character’s ability to change despite being an ageless being, more idea than man. The sorts of conflicts in which he used to indulge don’t quite work in the character’s context. This puts Cates and Bandini in an enviable position, in that they can begin to play with Thor in a “heavy is the head that wears the crown” way, instilling an understanding that Thor is in a tough transition not only by that crown but by illustrating other troubling aspects of himself.

In the first issue in this volume, Thor sits down to talk to Captain America about his troubles. There’s nothing new in the situation—we’ve seen Steve and Thor have a beer together before (usually with Tony drinking something non-alcoholic). What makes this moment important—and telegraphs the sorts of character-altering concerns the creative team are playing with—is that Thor admits to Steve that his immortal perception of time means that he’s never sure his friends will still be alive the next time he returns to Earth.

Thor Vol. 3: Revelations
Time Bummer
Marvel Comics

That’s a huge and horrifying revelation, and it perfectly exemplifies the sort of stories loom in this era of Thor: eternal concerns in the lofty beyond. Unlike the Aaron run that Cates needs to escape the shadow of, there is no ticking clock. . . because for Thor, there is no such thing as finite time.

Thor Vol. 3: Revelations
Concerns like this.
Marvel Comics

All that said, Revelations is the least successful volume of the series so far, with neither the cosmic scope of The Devourer King nor the horror of Prey. Rather, it feels like a grab-bag of narratives loosely connected more by a theme of Thor’s fretfulness rather than any actual threat. Aside from that big emotional revelation in the first issue and the ongoing Mjolnir malarkey, the most poignant and exciting part of the book is the appearance of Angela, in which she scolds her father and brother.

It also includes the stellar story from the annual, which is more fittingly collected in the Infinite Destinies collection. Which means that Revelations feels unsteady, incomplete, a bridge between the incredibly powerful first and second volumes and whatever might be contained in the fourth.

Thor by Donny Cates Vol. 3: Revelations
‘Thor by Donny Cates Vol. 3: Revelations’ lacks cohesion, but presents new fretfulness in the King of Asgard
Thor by Donny Cates Vol. 3: Revelations
Looking to explore fresh concerns that will define this new era of the character, Revelations doesn't quite manage to feel like a full story.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.9
Looks to break new ground.
Includes a who's who of Thor supporting characters.
Doesn't feel as meaty and full as the preceding two books.
6
Average

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