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Loki: Agent of Asgard Volume 3: Last Days
Loki: Agent of Asgard Volume 3: Last Days
by Al Ewing
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..., 22 Nov. 2015
The epic tale of Loki shenanigans comes to an end, in this third and final volume of Loki: Agent of Asgard, as Al Ewing comes back to the fore after the dismal middle volume (so bad I couldn't bring myself to review it - but it's not his fault, it's because it was part of the dismal Axis event).

Anyway, I could go right in depth and give an account of what goes on, but I won't. Instead, let me type that the complex twists and turns can put your head in a spin and it may well take you several reads to get your heads around the plot, which involves an old King Loki from the future and the Loki of the present. One of them trying to atone for his past, and the other trying to ensure that his legacy as the God of Lies lives on in the distant future and King Thor rules a land of bones.

Confused? As well you should be. What adds to everyone's woes is the fact that the final two universes in the Multiverse are about to collide and destroy everything, as is the storyline everywhere else in the Marvel Universe at this present moment in time.

Lots more actors come into play, such as Odin, Freyja and the rest of Asgard, the armies of Hel, young Loki's friend Verity Willis, Lorelei and Sigurd (from volume 1), as the might of the Nine Realms attempt to destroy Midgard, until it all comes crashing down with a wallop as not only does Time Run Out, but we see what entails as the Last Days of Loki approach.

With excellent artwork by Lee Garbett, this final tale closes the chapter of Loki that began way back in the build up to Siege, which included his death, then his 'rebirth' in the pages of Thor: The World Eaters, and his exploits in Kieren Gillen's Journey Into Mystery. It should be no surprise that this is not a standalone volume, and should be read with at least Volume 1 (and the dreary Volume 2), but you should also read the many excellent volumes of Journey Into Mystery, just to give you a feel for what has transpired before. However, if you can't afford all that or do not have the time, reading Volume 1 and 3 should do it for you. You only need Volume 2 if you need your Axis event fix.

With Secret Wars just about over at the time of typing, the future of Loki is uncertain. I'm pretty sure there's been no announcement of a fresh Loki title, but we have a Mighty Thor comic and an Angela: Queen of Hel title on the way, so there could well be more Loki shenanigans abound in the future.

For now though, if you want to read what could be the final story of Loki (not counting his appearances in the Secret Wars Thors comic), then you should invest in this comic book.


Angela: Asgard's Assassin Volume 1: Priceless (Angela: Asgard's Assasin)
Angela: Asgard's Assassin Volume 1: Priceless (Angela: Asgard's Assasin)
by Kieron Gillen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Heven Sent, 3 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Kieron Gillen, one of my favourite comic book writers out there at the moment, who has done little wrong in my eyes, has done something that I thought would not happen: he has converted me into an Angela fan.

In this first and only volume in her solo series bearing this title (more on that later), Gillen, along with co-writer Marguerite Bennett, catapults Angela from supporting actress to leading lady.

Here's a bit of background on Angela, for the uninitiated:

She burst onto the Marvel scene roughly 2 years ago, in the very last few panels of the woeful event Age of Ultron. Thanks to the constant messing with the space-time continuum, she appeared through a rift in space. In real life terms, she was brought to Marvel from Image Comics by Neil Gaiman who created her as a character in Spawn in the 90s. Since arriving in the Marvel Universe, she got into some adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy, until another dire Marvel event, this time Original Sin, turned her from random warrior woman to heavy hitter.

Angela, it turns out, is an Asgardian. Not only that, but she's Thor's actual sister. All this was explained in the Original Sin spin-off Thor & Loki - The Tenth Realm (Heven being the realm now incorporated into Asgardian folklore), written by the rather marvellous Jason Aaron. I'm not going to go into detail here, you can read that (or my review on it) for more information. I gave that story 3 out of 5 stars.

So now, moving into her own series, Gillen explores the aftermath of Aaron's story. She tries to find her place, tries to come to terms with the fact that she's kin to her mortal enemies (all explained by Jason Aaron), and gets into an adventure that spans several of the Ten Realms (that's right, there's not Nine Realms anymore, read Thor & Loki - you get the idea, right?).

Most of the main Asgardian stakeholders are present; Thor, Odin, Loki, Heimdall, Sif, the Warriors Three, and Freyja, Angela's mother, who has another surprise for her daughter, are all here. The adventure rather cleverly links back to the Everything Burns mini-event that Gillen co-wrote (with Matt Fraction) in Journey Into Mystery/Thor two or so years back, and because it's a Gillen book, and he's delving into territory that he used to write so well about in JIM, you may delight at the return of Hela and her Disir.

If you loved Gillen's run on Journey Into Mystery (as I did), then you should enjoy this book. The plot weaves in a tricksy manner that I've become accustomed to with Gillen and he writes his interpretations of Norse mythology well. The Guardians of the Galaxy make guest appearances here, as does another Ten Realms villain in the last few pages, setting up the next adventure for Angela.

And that's as far as Asgard's Assassin goes. Marvel interrupts your Angela Odinsdottir viewing pleasure for the small matter of Secret Wars, but after that is over, Angela returns in a new series of her own, Angela: Queen of Hel, which sounds completely awesome and unmissable, especially as it's penned by Marguerite Bennett who has collaborated with Gillen here.

The artwork in this volume by Phil Jiminez and Stephanie Hans is at a high standard, and the colouring by Romulo Fajardp Jr is rich and vibrant and showcases the various worlds and characters expertly.

So after a not-so-impressive start into the Marvel Universe, I'm finally warming to Angela, and it's all down to this book. 4 out of 5 stars.


Civil War: Ms. Marvel
Civil War: Ms. Marvel
by Brian Reed
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice legs, shame about the story., 17 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Civil War: Ms. Marvel (Paperback)
I did wonder why Marvel produced this volume for the first time this year, from an event that took place several years ago. Still, because I loved the Civil War event, and had not read this version of events, I went and bought it.

I was slightly disappointed to say the least. Not because the story is set well away from the main event and has very little bearing on Civil War, but because I just don’t think that Ms Marvel (and now Captain Marvel who has her own current series) can stand up as a character in her own right in her own comic.

To be fair, I am being harsh. The story of course is set during the Civil War events and therefore there are lots of references to it throughout. I am glad that it is a side story to the main event; simply popping Carol Danvers into a story that is told during the main event would be pointless and unnecessary.

However, the storyline itself is just a bit weak, and so are some of the characters. It depends if you like Ms Marvel and Wonder Man, as they are the principal protagonists here. I myself am not a fan of Wonder Man, nor did I find myself gravitating towards the inclusion of another Ms Marvel from an alternative universe. Then there was the addition of Rogue, and I began to cringe, but then I’m no X-Men fan at all.

Battling alternative-reality heroes from other parallel universes is nothing new, but here I just did not get the idea. Jonathan Hickman nailed it recently in his Avengers/New Avengers/Illuminati/Time Runs Out storylines, so perhaps I’ve been spoilt by all that, but here, the plot was weak.

All is not lost though. There is in fact a nice storyline running concurrently throughout with the discovery of a young girl who has powers, and the turmoil that it brings to the party with the Superhuman Registration Act is spot on. That is this story’s strength, and bumps up the ratings a wee bit. There is also a separate story at the very end which is a standalone story and has no bearing to the other. This was also unnecessary and I guess it was added to beef the book into a bigger volume.

Carol Danvers/Ms Marvel/Warbird/Captain Marvel is allegedly Marvel Comics’ premier heroine. Unfortunately for me, she never will be in the same league as Cap, Iron Man, Spidey, Hulk or Thor, but these are just my personal preferences. She is amazing in an ensemble cast with the Avengers et al, and I do like reading stories with her in, as long as she is a supporting character.

Here, I am not a huge fan. Buy it if you want to complete your Civil War collection. Or if you’re a Ms Marvel fan, of course. If not, you might want to give it a miss, despite the good artwork.


Thor Vol. 2: Who Holds The Hammer?
Thor Vol. 2: Who Holds The Hammer?
by Jason Aaron
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THORoughly brilliant., 22 July 2015
Jason Aaron concludes his brief 2-volume stint (for now) on the new female chapter of the Thor character.

Odinson, formerly known as Thor but had relinquished the name due to realising that he's unworthy of it, therefore bequeathing it to the mysterious female now swinging Mjolnir, continues his detective work on discovering her identity, whilst his dad, Odin, resorts to more ruthless methods in obtaining the mighty hammer.

Meanwhile, Malekith the Dark Elf King continues his super villain alliance with Dario Agger, CEO of Roxxon and actual Mintotaur. Here, we discover how he became the beast of Greek mythology. As the evil-doers plan and scheme together, including a hostile takeover of the Ten Realms for Roxxon to subjugate and pilfer for its mining resources, Agent Roz Solomon of S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to get in their way.

It is Agent Solomon who becomes the key suspect in Odinson's investigation, and he brings in the discounted females on his list of suspects to help Thor in her battle with the Destroyer, now controlled by Odin's brother Cul, God of Fear. It's a who's-who of Marvel heroines with Odinson by their side, joining forces with Thor as they collectively try to beat the Destroyer, as well as foiling the plans of messrs Minotaur and Maleketh.

All in a day's work.

Aaron has rounded off his sojourn into the new Thor direction with the typical fire and brimstone that we've become accustomed to, coupled with witty dialogue and the ever-suspenseful secret identity of Thor, which remains a secret to the reader until the very last panel. Sure, you might have your suspicions, but Aaron writes it in such a way that you might be forgiven for changing your mind throughout this volume. I changed my mind a couple of times before sticking to my original guns, and the final reveal will come as no surprise to many.

The story in this volume is quite short, at only 3 issues, but it's fleshed out with the addition of the Thor annual, containing 3 short tales that have no bearing whatsoever on the overall story arc. However, they are fun all the same but not in the same league as the main Aaron-penned event. This is the only reason I have not given this volume 5 stars.

The adventures of Thor will continue in Thors, as part of the Secret Wars event, which is also written by Aaron, so you can expect more entertaining and thrilling Asgardian (and Battleworld) action, while we wait for the post-Secret Wars title, which I believe will continue with our favourite female Thor, and will still be scribed by Jason Aaron, so life is good if you're a Thor fan.

Until then, enjoy this exciting and superbly drawn (by Russell Dauterman, not including the 3 Annual tales) volume, assuming that you have read Volume 1 first, as that is a necessity - this is not a standalone volume.

Thor is dead, long live Thor. (not a spoiler by the way)


Avengers: Time Runs Out Volume 3
Avengers: Time Runs Out Volume 3
by Jonathan Hickman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get Out Of This One, Avengers..., 17 July 2015
Jonathan Hickman slowly starts to bring to a head all that he has put in motion in Time Runs Out Volume 3, with more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at.

In this penultimate volume before he destroys all the Marvel universes, Hickman weaves us through an explanation of what has been happening; just why the Multiverse is collapsing, and more importantly, who is behind it.

In Volume 2, the Illuminati, on the run from the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D., had finally clashed. Now the two factions were basically sitting down at the table sorting out their differences. At the head of one side is Reed Richards, at the other, the aged Steve Rogers, formerly known as Captain America.

There are two plans; 1 - stop the Cabal from going on the rampage and destroying parallel worlds (although those acts are actually saving Earth 616 from being destroyed, so why not just let them carry on?), and 2 - try and stop the Multiverse collapse.

Both plans are easier said than done, what with the Cabal consisting of Thanos and his generals, plus the Atlantean Namor, Maximus of the Inhumans and the alien Black Swan.

With one threat seemingly over, we discover that Reed Richards sent Hank Pym into the Multiverse a while back on a covert mission to discover what was happening. It is here that the explanation that we've been craving for what feels like years begins to appear. As Pym recalls his tale, we learn that the Ivory Kings are behind it all. We've seen them referenced earlier in this story, I recall, and we now know who they are. Long term Marvel fans who have read the earlier Secret Wars stories from the 80s will be familiar with the revelation, people who have never read those may not.

Whether you've read Secret Wars or not, readers should be aware that when time finally does run out, we will have a new status quo in Marvel comics, called Secret Wars. For the time being though, Volume 3 of Time Runs Out pits the reader into more revelations as the story heads to Earth 1610, aka the Ultimate Universe. I wondered when this universe would begin to feature. For an as-yet unrevealed reason, time really does start to run out as Reed Richards (both of them - Richards of Earth 616's Fantastic Four, and the Ultimate Richards of Earth 1610) discovers that the hundreds of thousands of multiple universes remaining are all destroyed in a single moment leaving just 2 left; 616 and 1610. Oh boy.

To make matters worse, the Shi'ar Empire decide that they must intervene and destroy the Earth. Oh boy, oh boy.

Get out of this one, Avengers.

Hickman pulls no punches in his storytelling in this volume. I really do get the feeling that there is no coming back from this one. Whilst the heroes debate about the morals of destroying another universe in order to save your own (pretty much answering my earlier question above), the universally righteous Steve Rogers doesn't back down when faced with defeat. He still wants to punish the Illuminati for trying to save the world with their questionable methods. But first they must come up with a plan, and it pretty much feels that they have accepted defeat as well, as their latest idea is coming up with a life raft to preserve what little of humanity they can. The usually reckless and tempestuous Namor even seems to have cooled in the wake of certain doom, while the Black Panther, who you might have been forgiven for thinking that he'd earlier come to terms with Namor destroying his homeland, has an about-turn of character.

So tempers are frayed, heroes are at their wits end. People are broken. And to top it all off, they face an invasion by an alien empire.

Just a typical day in the life of an Avenger, right?
Artistic duties are again shared by Stefano Caselli, Dalibor Talajic, Mike Deodato and Kev Walker, which makes this volume a feast of artistic bliss and quality storytelling. Bring on the final volume...


Avengers: Time Runs Out Vol. 4
Avengers: Time Runs Out Vol. 4
by Jonathan Hickman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Game Over Man, Game Over", 17 July 2015
Writer Jonathan Hickman stakes his claim as possibly one of the greatest Avengers writers of all time with his final instalment of Time Runs Out. It's a bold statement, especially considering that I haven't been a Marvel comics reader since the beginning, but I have read a lot of Avengers stories, mostly catching up with the major events over the recent years, and I can safely type that Hickman's Avengers World/Avengers Machine/Time Runs Out storyline since he took the helm in late 2012 has been the best thing that I have read with an Avengers title. Ever.

When it all started, I gave Hickman's first volume a measly 3 stars, but when read in the whole context of what has transpired between then and now, I'd probably rate it higher. However, it has been a slow-burning story in the earlier volumes, but like all great sagas, it has certainly ended with a flourish.

When we last read Time Runs Out, there were 2 remaining parallel universes; the one containing Earth 616 and the one containing Earth 1610, basically the mainstream Marvel Universe versus the Ultimate Universe. The various factions of 616 Avengers, previously at loggerheads with each other, had united in an attempt to pool their resources against the incoming threats, which not only included the incoming incursion, but also included the Cabal of Thanos and his generals, and the looming armadas of the Shi'Ar Empire and its allies.

In this final volume, we see just what has become of Stephen Strange as he earlier ventured into the Multiverse to make sense of the threat, as he comes face to face with the Great Destroyer, aka Rabum Alal. We also find out what Doctor Doom's role is in all this, as he explains what he's been doing with the Molecule Man in his bid to combat the Multiverse collapse.

Everything comes to a head, as time literally does run out. In an earlier volume, Thor, Hyperion, Starbrand, Nightmask, Abyss and Ex Nihlo (the latter two introduced as bad guys in Hickman's first volume, we're now full circle) also head into the Multiverse on a mission of their own. We discover their fate in this final chapter.

And then, finally, the clash of universes occurs. It's incursion time as the Reed Richards, the Cabal, and S.H.I.E.L.D. of Earth 1610 battle against the heroes of Earth 616. There's another battle as well, that of Steve Rogers versus Anthony Stark, who came together in Hickman's volume 1 in 2012 and created a bigger Avengers team. The two have not always seen eye to eye, but now, all their differences come to a head as literally universes fall apart around them.

And it does not quite finish their either. The very last page leaves us on a cliffhanger, as Everything Dies.

And so it kind of ends. The actual 'what happens next?' question is answered in the pages of Secret Wars, also penned by Hickman, so it promises to be excellent, in my opinion.

So Everything Dies as predicted by Reed Richards as he got the Illuminati back together in volume 1 of the New Avengers in early 2013. Hickman destroys all that he has built, and it is done superbly. It's been a long haul, with various distractions along the way, such as the excellent Infinity War and the awful Original Sin and the even more awful Axis. But I congratulate Sir Hickman for all that he has done, and for giving me the most brilliant Avengers storytelling I have seen on paper. The artwork has not been too shabby either, so the entire creative team must be thanked.

I shudder to think what comes next, and more importantly, what comes after Secret Wars, which sadly does not have Hickman's name next to any of the recently revealed titles, as he goes off and does some more creativity elsewhere.

For now though, in large part thanks to Jonathan Hickman, I will always Make Mine Marvel.


Avengers: Time Runs Out Vol. 3
Avengers: Time Runs Out Vol. 3
by Jonathan Hickman
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get out of this one, Avengers..., 17 July 2015
Jonathan Hickman slowly starts to bring to a head all that he has put in motion in Time Runs Out Volume 3, with more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at.

In this penultimate volume before he destroys all the Marvel universes, Hickman weaves us through an explanation of what has been happening; just why the Multiverse is collapsing, and more importantly, who is behind it.

In Volume 2, the Illuminati, on the run from the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D., had finally clashed. Now the two factions were basically sitting down at the table sorting out their differences. At the head of one side is Reed Richards, at the other, the aged Steve Rogers, formerly known as Captain America.

There are two plans; 1 - stop the Cabal from going on the rampage and destroying parallel worlds (although those acts are actually saving Earth 616 from being destroyed, so why not just let them carry on?), and 2 - try and stop the Multiverse collapse.

Both plans are easier said than done, what with the Cabal consisting of Thanos and his generals, plus the Atlantean Namor, Maximus of the Inhumans and the alien Black Swan.

With one threat seemingly over, we discover that Reed Richards sent Hank Pym into the Multiverse a while back on a covert mission to discover what was happening. It is here that the explanation that we've been craving for what feels like years begins to appear. As Pym recalls his tale, we learn that the Ivory Kings are behind it all. We've seen them referenced earlier in this story, I recall, and we now know who they are. Long term Marvel fans who have read the earlier Secret Wars stories from the 80s will be familiar with the revelation, people who have never read those may not.

Whether you've read Secret Wars or not, readers should be aware that when time finally does run out, we will have a new status quo in Marvel comics, called Secret Wars. For the time being though, Volume 3 of Time Runs Out pits the reader into more revelations as the story heads to Earth 1610, aka the Ultimate Universe. I wondered when this universe would begin to feature. For an as-yet unrevealed reason, time really does start to run out as Reed Richards (both of them - Richards of Earth 616's Fantastic Four, and the Ultimate Richards of Earth 1610) discovers that the hundreds of thousands of multiple universes remaining are all destroyed in a single moment leaving just 2 left; 616 and 1610. Oh boy.

To make matters worse, the Shi'ar Empire decide that they must intervene and destroy the Earth. Oh boy, oh boy.

Get out of this one, Avengers.

Hickman pulls no punches in his storytelling in this volume. I really do get the feeling that there is no coming back from this one. Whilst the heroes debate about the morals of destroying another universe in order to save your own (pretty much answering my earlier question above), the universally righteous Steve Rogers doesn't back down when faced with defeat. He still wants to punish the Illuminati for trying to save the world with their questionable methods. But first they must come up with a plan, and it pretty much feels that they have accepted defeat as well, as their latest idea is coming up with a life raft to preserve what little of humanity they can. The usually reckless and tempestuous Namor even seems to have cooled in the wake of certain doom, while the Black Panther, who you might have been forgiven for thinking that he'd earlier come to terms with Namor destroying his homeland, has an about-turn of character.

So tempers are frayed, heroes are at their wits end. People are broken. And to top it all off, they face an invasion by an alien empire.

Just a typical day in the life of an Avenger, right?
Artistic duties are again shared by Stefano Caselli, Dalibor Talajic, Mike Deodato and Kev Walker, which makes this volume a feast of artistic bliss and quality storytelling. Bring on the final volume...


Thor Vol. 1: Goddess of Thunder
Thor Vol. 1: Goddess of Thunder
by Jason Aaron
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thunderstruck..., 4 Jun. 2015
After recently having not much good to say about Superior Iron Man Volume 1, the tables are turned when it comes to reviewing the peculiarly brilliant Thor Volume 1 by Jason Aaron.

Possibly the only good thing to spill out of the awful Axis event, this bold new direction for the Thor mythos could possibly polarise Thor fans just as Superior Spiderman did.

Unlike Superior Spidey, where the Peter Parker character was chiefly written out of the story to make way for Otto Octavius to become the webslinger, this time Thor Odinson is ever present whilst being 'replaced' by a girl.

It should come as no spolier to anyone reading comics at the moment that Marvel, sometimes known as The House of Ideas (justifiably in this case), had the notion to bring forth a female Thor. In the hands of Jason Aaron, who has been penning amazing Thor stories for a while now, this idea could work.

It is working.

For as yet unrevealed reasons, other than the fact that Nick Fury whispered something in Thor's ear during the dreary Axis storyline, Thor has become unworthy to lift his hammer. This is rather untimely as Malekith the Accursed has teamed up with an army of Frost Giants to invade Midgard and in particular, the floating city of the Roxxon corporation, to obtain the ancient skull of their dead king Laufey, so that he may be resurrected and lead the giants to glory again.

Luckily, an unidentified worthy female is able to lift Mjolnir, and the ancient uru magic and All-Father enchantment within enables her to be transformed into the Goddess of Thunder. With her new-found power, this Goddess finds herself embroiled in a three-way battle between Frost Giants, Malekith, and Dario Agger, aka The Minotaur, CEO of Roxxon.

And so begins a new chapter of Thor. Not Thor-girl, or Lady Thor (or as Spiderman puts it "Please tell me it's Thunder Woman, or Thorita, or Lady Hammer Pants!", in a brief cameo), but Thor. After a short battle between the two Thors, Thor (male) relinquishes his name and bestows it to Thor (female). He is not worthy after all. (Cue Wayne's World "we're not worthy!" chants).

Despite all the action, there is a mystery to be solved. Such as, just who is behind the mask of this new Thor? Aaron gives us a few clues, as Odinson himself starts a check list of possible contenders, and is a decent nod to all the heroes in the past who have tried to keep a secret identity. Only this time, she's hiding her identity from the Asgardians, not the public.

There are some fine moments in this book, such as the Prince of Asgard drowning his sorrows with mead in a tavern with the Lady Sif (who is on Odinson's checklist, naturally), who cuts at her part-time lover with the most scathing of quips. It was also nice to see Screwbeard, he of the League of Realms that Aaron introduced in an earlier Thor: God of Thunder story. Then, there's a short cameo with The Absorbing Man, paying homage in the first Goddess of Thunder story just as his very own first appearance came in a Journey Into Mystery story to face Thor all those years ago.

With sharp ideas (such as the new Thor creating a new way to use Mjolnir which has the old Thor marvelling at its usage) and sharper dialogue from the mind of the quite brilliant Aaron, and thrilling artwork by Russell Dauterman (with a guest artist by Jorge Molina in the last chapter), this is a superb start to the Goddess of Thunder's reign. Her identity is still yet to be revealed, and there's more tricksy shenanigans from Malekith and Dario Agger on the way, while Odin has ideas of his own to see to this imposter revealed, so I'm thoroughly looking forward to Volume 2. Even the purest of Thor fans should be keen to dive into this great new title.


Thor Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder (Thor: Marvel Now!)
Thor Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder (Thor: Marvel Now!)
by Jason Aaron
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thunderstruck, 3 Jun. 2015
After recently having not much good to say about Superior Iron Man Volume 1, the tables are turned when it comes to reviewing the peculiarly brilliant Thor Volume 1 by Jason Aaron.

Possibly the only good thing to spill out of the awful Axis event, this bold new direction for the Thor mythos could possibly polarise Thor fans just as Superior Spiderman did.

Unlike Superior Spidey, where the Peter Parker character was chiefly written out of the story to make way for Otto Octavius to become the webslinger, this time Thor Odinson is ever present whilst being 'replaced' by a girl.

It should come as no spolier to anyone reading comics at the moment that Marvel, sometimes known as The House of Ideas (justifiably in this case), had the notion to bring forth a female Thor. In the hands of Jason Aaron, who has been penning amazing Thor stories for a while now, this idea could work.

It is working.

For as yet unrevealed reasons, other than the fact that Nick Fury whispered something in Thor's ear during the dreary Axis storyline, Thor has become unworthy to lift his hammer. This is rather untimely as Malekith the Accursed has teamed up with an army of Frost Giants to invade Midgard and in particular, the floating city of the Roxxon corporation, to obtain the ancient skull of their dead king Laufey, so that he may be resurrected and lead the giants to glory again.

Luckily, an unidentified worthy female is able to lift Mjolnir, and the ancient uru magic and All-Father enchantment within enables her to be transformed into the Goddess of Thunder. With her new-found power, this Goddess finds herself embroiled in a three-way battle between Frost Giants, Malekith, and Dario Agger, aka The Minotaur, CEO of Roxxon.

And so begins a new chapter of Thor. Not Thor-girl, or Lady Thor (or as Spiderman puts it "Please tell me it's Thunder Woman, or Thorita, or Lady Hammer Pants!", in a brief cameo), but Thor. After a short battle between the two Thors, Thor (male) relinquishes his name and bestows it to Thor (female). He is not worthy after all. (Cue Wayne's World "we're not worthy!" chants).

Despite all the action, there is a mystery to be solved. Such as, just who is behind the mask of this new Thor? Aaron gives us a few clues, as Odinson himself starts a check list of possible contenders, and is a decent nod to all the heroes in the past who have tried to keep a secret identity. Only this time, she's hiding her identity from the Asgardians, not the public.

There are some fine moments in this book, such as the Prince of Asgard drowning his sorrows with mead in a tavern with the Lady Sif (who is on Odinson's checklist, naturally), who cuts at her part-time lover with the most scathing of quips. It was also nice to see Screwbeard, he of the League of Realms that Aaron introduced in an earlier Thor: God of Thunder story. Then, there's a short cameo with The Absorbing Man, paying homage in the first Goddess of Thunder story just as his very own first appearance came in a Journey Into Mystery story to face Thor all those years ago.

With sharp ideas (such as the new Thor creating a new way to use Mjolnir which has the old Thor marvelling at its usage) and sharper dialogue from the mind of the quite brilliant Aaron, and thrilling artwork by Russell Dauterman (with a guest artist by Jorge Molina in the last chapter), this is a superb start to the Goddess of Thunder's reign. Her identity is still yet to be revealed, and there's more tricksy shenanigans from Malekith and Dario Agger on the way, while Odin has ideas of his own to see to this imposter revealed, so I'm thoroughly looking forward to Volume 2. Even the purest of Thor fans should be keen to dive into this great new title.


Superior Iron Man Volume 1: Infamous
Superior Iron Man Volume 1: Infamous
by Tom Tayler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Superiority Complex, 31 May 2015
Every now and then the rule book is ripped up and a radical idea spills out into the pages of our favourite stories. Let's put Spiderman's biggest enemy into his mind and costume. It worked. Let's put a female into the role of Thor. It's working. And so on, you get the picture.

Let us then radically overhaul everyone's favourite playboy billionaire industrialist superhero and turn him on his head and into an antihero to loathe. Could that work? Possibly. Is it? Not in my opinion.

The idea is simple. During the poor event Axis (don't get me started on THAT), thanks to some magical chicanery, Tony Stark's persona went 'about-face'. He's back on the bottle, and he has a more arrogant and sinister outlook on life.

So what's wrong with that, you might ask. In a different plot, it might just work, but unfortunately, writer Tom Taylor has just about undone a lot of great work that has been achieved with the Iron Man character in recent years.

Tony Stark is already flawed - just look at what has been unravelling in Jonathan Hickman's Avengers and New Avengers storylines with the Avengers Machine and Time Runs Out. It's been some of the best comic book writing I've ever read. To make him now a ruthless money-grabbing villain who exploits the public with his Extremis 3.0 virus that puts him at odds with Daredevil just doesn't make sense to me.

I suppose the timing is part of the problem as well. With what has just started with Secret Wars, why bother changing the status quo between the two events? Is Iron Man still 'inverted' as time runs out? It's not clear to me.

Matt Fraction's run on Invincible Iron Man was superior. Kieron Gillen's recent run on Iron Man was superior. Putting Stark in a Tron-esque suit of armour and making him a man of questionable morals does not make him superior.

Oh, we can add some humour by adding a gamma-ray-infested youth called the Teen Abomination into the mix, and then ret-conning a lame story about the boy's patronage, but this just adds to the comic's woes.

I'm afraid that The House of Ideas has not been able to get this one right. Perhaps I'm just bitter that Gillen's run has ended. And to add insult to injury, I'm not a big fan of Yildiray Cinar's artwork. He is a good artist in his own right, but his work is just not to my taste.

With this particular run on Iron Man presumably ending at issue 10, just in time for the Secret Wars overhaul of Iron Man with Armour Wars, there probably aren't enough issues for Taylor to redeem this series.

Chapter 1 of this story was called Nightmare Scenario. Kind of fitting really. I'll be digging out my Matt Fraction Invincible Iron Man stories to remind myself of the good times.


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