29 Apr 2011

Cover To Cover: THE MIGHTY THOR #1

Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, Laura Martin, Justin Ponsor & Peter Steigerwald
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: When Hollywood comes a-knocking on the doors of comic studios (with Marvel these days it's now of course happening the other way around) and properties are given the live action treatment, it's inevitable that those said publishers try to maximise the exposure of their freshly transposed characters to make sure those pennies come rolling in. Sometimes this can result in a deluge of sub-par productions that quickly disappear from sight and from mind. With the Thor movie hitting screens around the globe the House of Ideas are approaching this with caution, keeping the established title running albeit with a name change, offering readers an Asgardian-tinged event with Fear Itself and then throwing one new ongoing title into the mix to sate those hungry appetites out to absorb everything related to the heroic Thunder God.

I have admittedly been out of the Thor-loop in recent months having not followed Kieron Gillen's run on the main Thor title - now Journey Into Mystery - or even been convinced to pick it up when Fraction finally took over the reigns. To that end I've not been privy to Odin's post-Siege reappearance as well as the return of everyone's favourite - or not so much - trickster in green, Loki. These being the gods who never stay gone for long means that you can normally get by with the briefest of explanations and a little bit of understanding that all will become clear in time. For Mighty Thor #1 Matt Fraction thankfully provides us with the tightest of chapter introductions which delivers all of the necessary back story and allows the reader to dive straight into the action.

It's clear from the get-go that Fraction is interested in looking at just what it means to be a god or a construct of power and faith, and what it means to be one of the 'mere mortals' who offer their continued faith to those greater powers. With the Marvel Universes' constant source of omnipresent and incomprehensible deities, it's an area of vast possibility and Fraction definitely has the writing chops to pull this off without a hitch. In this first issue he tackles the idea from three very different angles. Thor and the Asgardians go about their task of attempting to fix the damage done to the Bridge of Realms which potentially threatens not only their home but the very fabric of space and time. While they perform their 'universal caretaking duties' with suitably brave heroics Fraction intersperses their efforts with glimpses of the crisis of faith currently growing in the small town of Broxton and, at the other end of the spectrum, the cosmic constant of Galactus' hunger as the destruction of worlds at his hands continues unabated.

By spreading the story out across the galaxy in this way there's a brilliant feeling of the epic leaping out of each page aided lovingly of course by Olivier Coipel's superb pencil work. In fact, I can't just leave the plaudits with Mr Coipel there as everyone who has a hand in bringing Fraction's vision to the page must be applauded. Morales' deft inking coupled with Martin, Ponsor and Steigerwald's mouthwatering colours - or lack of colour in some instances as the use of white space is a triumph - means that this is one of the most eye-catching books Marvel has released this year.

Of additional note is a slight nod from Fraction to the new celluloid outing for Thor as the Asgardians seem to employ a mix of magic enchantment and their own brand of technology to explore the roots of the Worldheart, hinting that magic is perhaps science that is just yet to be understood. One thing that I certainly understand is that this is a great read from start to finish, my only slight grumble being levelled at Marvel for using 8 pages of this comic to provide us with 4 double splash pages of preview art from the upcoming The Art Of Thor film book when 8 pages of extra story and Coipel art would have been far more satisfying! But perhaps it's not the huge commercial company being greedy, perhaps it's just me!? 9/10

No comments: