on 8 January 2011
First four issues of the 'Thor - The Mighty Avenger' along with two very early tales from JIM. A beautiful story and lovely art. Jane Foster has never been more lovely; Mr Hyde is truly gruesome; the Wasp and Giant / Ant-Man wonderful; Thor is as you would imagine him to be (but never was in the early JIM tales by Kirby, Al Hartley etc) after suddenly coming across a hammer, this time in an Urn, and not in a cavern over in Scandinavia - not a hint of Don Blake. For me, a bit like reading Blue (Spider-Man) / Yellow (Daredevil) etc - totally magical. If only comics could be more like this, instead of endless cross-overs / brutal combat / dark and gloomy battles for the sake of the Universe or alternate dimensions or all time etc / epics / confusing continuity and a degree required to remember all the endless twists and turns of the comic universe --- just a great story, friendships, love, humanity ...
This was listed in various reviews as one of the most underrated series of 2010, it certainly is.. I don't even recall seeing this in my favourite comic shop, so it definitely disappeared under the radar for me.
Only minor thing - as of this point, a little bit confused by the title as I was expecting the book to be more 'Avengers' in the book (Wasp etc appear but that is it) - surely the title 'Thor and Jane - a romance' ??
on 16 August 2011
Thor is confusing. Lets get that out of the way. Years of conflicting continuity destroyed him. The Mighty Avenger goes back and produces a story the hybridises the early Lee/Kirby era with the new movie for the best Thor story ever written. I believe Chris Samnee said the biggest difference in this is that their Thor smiled and what a difference it makes! This is Jane Foster's Thor. A Thor not seen in decades. The sweet, happy, romantic, warrior goliath in love with the kindest, funniest, bravest mortal woman. Its a formula that works, a formula that has been lost in favour of blood, tears and women who have little more to them than a sword and a sexuality.
Lets get into the specifics of The Mighty Avenger. This contains 4 issues of the run with the other 4 issues in the following volume. Samnee proves himself a master of the comics form and I have no doubt he will go down as one of the greats. The art is vibrant and expressive. In particular I love his realism. Shocking for someone with such a clean style but he knows that we all make the most unattractive faces sometimes and his characters are not afraid to show that.
The writing is diverse. From the heartwarming romance and friendship to the plot strands that interweave perfectly. Everything is pitched just right. The characters are deeper than most comic characters. Jane especially as this is told from her point of view. Jane Foster has had a rough ride at marvel comics. As an everywoman she has often been shunted away so writers can relish in the glory of Asgard and its fantasy. She was replaces as Thor's primary love interest for this very reason. Her biography has become something of a tragedy so its wonderful to see a Jane with the light in her eyes and her hope still intact. She has finally been able to adapt and modernise here and its spectacular. All it took was some attention, love and care that Marvel can't seem to be bothered to show her in the main universe. This Jane would definitely rank as one of the best Marvel women ever written. She has a life outside of all this madness and she keeps it despite all the amazing things that happen around her. Its important to her. For those with a more solid grasp of Jane's history, this is definitely more of the Gerry Conway/ Dan Jurgens/ JMS Jane than the more sexist interpretations of the character.
Thor is younger than usual here. Both he and Jane I would say are in their mid 20's (by human standards of course). He is in a world he doesn't understand and can't get home. He has displeased his father so much his actions have been rendered unspeakable. Its a journey into mystery indeed! There is no macho aesthetic here that dominates the regular Thor. He's smaller in muscle, he's dumbfounded by the world around him and he cooks dinner. In the words of Volstagg 'He's asking directions like a woman'. We see Thor learn true humility in this hopeless situation. This Thor is reminicent of the very earliest Thor who was a hopeless romantic, unafraid to soar through the air proclaiming his love for Jane.
In this first volume we meet the adorable couple of Wasp and Ant Man who follow up on a murder only to find a mind altered Thor ready to attack. We also see the Warrior's Three, in what is the funniest single issue I have ever read. Thor has friends he can just be friends with. They go for a drink and hilarity ensues.
Now, if only Marvel would sprinkle some of this gold dust on their main universe. We may get a readable, relatable Thor who we can root for.