Stewart R: Journey Into Mystery #622 really seems to have wowed some of the PCG team (Matt C even declaring it to be ‘book of the year so far'), Kenneth Branagh’s vision of the Thunder God is now playing in European cinemas - and in the US next week - and on this very Wednesday in late April there’s yet another Asgardian-based treat as Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel (hooray) bring us The Mighty Thor #1. My experience with Thor only really extends back to Straczynski and Coipel’s fairly recent run, but that was enough to show me that this was a character of great interest, especially when JMS tied him and the rest of the Asgardians to Broxton, Oklahoma. Matt Fraction has been steering the great longboat that was Thor (now retitled Journey Into Mystery) for a few months and it seems that he’s preparing to have us turn our heads around and look up the trunk of the mighty Yggdrasil (the World Tree) and into the reaches where the other 8 realms are to be found in this additional series.
This first instalment promises a mouth-watering confrontation between Thor and the greatest of Galactus’ Heralds as the Silver Surfer discovers that the World Tree has grown something that his master would be very interested in. Now I’ll admit that I am quite a picky reader when it comes to artwork on a title and there are only a handful of pencillers and artists out there that would no-questions-asked guarantee that this makes an immediate appearance on my already crammed pull-list but for me Olivier Coipel is THE Thor artist of the moment capturing the very best Mjollnir-based thumpery in both the Thor series and Siege mini and there is no way I’m passing up this opportunity.
That’ll be the only debut issue I’ll be picking up this week - makes a change following a crazy few weeks from Image - but Marvel does have a couple of number twos out today which follow on from very promising introductions. FF#2 looks to be quite an emotional issue from the speechless previews released so far as an (unwelcome for some) visitor arrives at the Baxter Building following an invitation from bright spark Valeria. These post-Human Torch days are looking interesting for Marvel’s First Family and Jonathan Hickman constantly proves himself to be a writer who can surprise and reward a readership, so I’m hoping for things to be cranked up a notch following the scene-setting first issue. Rick Remender already had the action dialled up around the 9-10 mark when we witnessed Flash Thompson’s latest symbiote-enhanced mission last month and I reckon that intensity is likely to be maintained in Venom #2 when the shape-changing special agent gets sent to the Savage Land. This interesting thing so far is that we’re tearing through the limited number of missions that Flash can spend attached to the symbiote in double-quick time - we’ve had 3-4 of the 20 mission total when considering previews and Point One episodes - and I’m interested to see how quickly we reach that threshold.
The other interesting thing to see is if there is going to be any coincidental similarities that pop up with Marvel’s espionage-and-alien suit series and Image’s own effort which has been striding along now for well over a year. Haunt #15 hits the shops today with Robert Kirkman and Greg Capullo having left things at a tantalising juncture last time out as the mysterious and menacing Apparition made yet another play to tear Kurt Kilgore and the Haunt powers from this plane of existence. I’m still, almost a year on, excited by Greg Capullo having an ongoing title to work on and his action scenes involving morphing characters have been particularly impressive since he got the job as main penciller. With the Kilgore Brothers’ backs to the wall at the moment it’s giving him the opportunity to really deliver some tense chase sequences and I’m looking forward to experiencing that sense of velocity once again this week.
Now for a sense of foreboding I will of course be turning my attention to Scott Snyder’s American Vampire #14 where poor Henry is going to find himself on the mission to Hell as he and a crack team of vampire hunters head to the dark interior of a godforsaken Pacific Island. If the chances of survival were low to begin with then the vicious Skinner Sweet tagging along for the ride is likely to make the body count a great deal higher. The last issue was a thoroughly enjoyable, if a touch sombre read, but it’s those subtle changes in tone and feel, both from writer and artist Rafael Albuquerque that make this series such a compelling read month on month and something that you should consider having a look at should you have spare cash at your disposal and a thirst for something new.