30 Sept 2011

Cover To Cover: THE MIGHTY THOR #6

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

Stewart R: Has it really been 6 issues already? This heavy-hitting arc is over? By the ever growing and unpredictable beard of Thor, that was quick!

The old adage ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’ is thrown around rather flippantly from time to time but with this series, more often than not, you really have ended up with a cover that summarizes the awesomeness that would be contained with the shiny, stapled outer layer. This final chapter of the Galactus Seed arc is no exception to that rule with Thor, Galactus and the Destroyer armour present in brilliant Olivier Coipel fashion upon the front and within. The sense of scale and impact has been amazing and it’s echoed the themes woven throughout Matt Fraction’s interesting and explosive story.

Kickstarting this series with such a detailed look at the balance of higher-powers within the Marvel Universe has been a true success; with it we’ve been able to gain an insight into the rules that govern such godly beings as well as a glimpse at the status quo that is required to prevent their might from ripping the Universe, and each other, apart. I for one had never even pictured what a conflict between Odin and Galactus might look like and I’ve come away from this six month reading experience believing that Fraction has well and truly nailed it. In this final act we bear witness to the steps that one would take to prevent the other’s victory and, while still high on spectacle, it’s actually far more exciting to see the cogs of thought whirring within the characters rather than the whirring of omnipotent fists.

Another tick in the ‘win’ column for Fraction lies in how he has managed to keep all of the characters and elements involved, from the humble human citizens of Broxton to the cosmic deities who could wipe the surface of a planet with a single thought, every ingredient keeps the scale of the story broad yet engaging. Okay, so Volstagg’s beef with the local ‘peasants’ doesn’t really get resolved at this point, but it becomes clearer to see that that particular clash of wills was more to highlight the viewpoint of humankind in the face of becoming victims of galactic collateral damage and to acknowledge that despite the elevated level of self-importance, there is still many a mystery that keeps its secret elusive from their/our comprehension.

One mystery that certain eludes me is just how Olivier Coipel manages to produce such works of beauty time after time. The man is truly a master illustrator of this generation and his vision and skill are immense. I really don’t believe I’m overdoing things with that level of praise as the page-to-page read of his work here has been an absolute joy. In actual fact I’d like to start the smallest ripple here and now to get Marvel to, if possible, release the collected version of this arc in a double-spread size so that those epic landscape pages can remain unspoiled by staple or spine fold. C’mon people, let’s try to make that a reality!

While we don’t get an ending with the Moon split asunder or the seas burned with Asgardian fire, that’s not to say that the conclusion is any less ground-shaking. Fraction goes about casting the wind of change, impacting particularly on the life of one long-time Marvel character greatly and it should definitely make for some interesting stories to come, here, and in other Marvel titles. I really like the current family dynamic in the house of the All-Father, with the younger Loki now being a point of scorn and objection for Odin yet a new influence to the ever-changing outlook of Thor as he grows as a man, as a god and as an older brother. The new characterization spun by Fraction may not be to all die-hard fans' tastes but I for one am loving every minute! Now only one question remains: how will the upcoming, second ‘difficult’ arc fare in the face of this first arc’s triumph? 9/10


Anonymous said...

This arc did'nt work for me. Odin able to stand toe-to-toe with Galactus? I don't think so. And just what exactly happened between the Destroyer, Mjolnir, and Galactus? We were neither told, nor shown what happened.

Stewart R said...

Thanks for the comment. Just out of interest why wouldn't Odin be able to stand toe-to-toe with Galactus?

As for the scene with the Destroyer armour, I'm guessing that there's some sort of mystery involved but since the Destroyer had held the life-seed within it I was figuring that it had potentially become powerful enough to dissuade even Galactus from battling with it. Since I believe that the Destroyer was possibly built to battle Celestials then I'm guessing Galactus would have cause to be wary anyway?

Either way I thought it fairly clear that Galactus rethinks his next move from what we see in the comic.

Matt Clark said...

I'm going to go along with our anonymous friend's take on the confrontation between Odin and Galactus. No, Odin shouldn't have been able to battle Galactus as an equal.

The Big G's power level has had many interpretations since he was first introduced way back in Fantastic Four #48 but my preferred presentation of the character is as one of Marvel's galactic trinity alongside Death and Eternity. Basically, the idea is that the three of them are the cornerstones of the universe and removing one would cause it to collapse. In that respect, Odin shouldn't be able to go toe to toe with a being that powerful and that fundamental to stability of the universe.

But saying that, interpretations have been fluid over the years, and - as is clear from Fear Itself - Fraction likes his Odin to be omnipotent rather than simply the head of one pantheon of Marvel gods.

Anonymous said...

Matt C nailed it on the head. Galactus is almost on the level of the cosmic abstracts, if not actually one himself(Eternity, Infinity, etc) Regarding "interpretations", I'm one who believes your characters should not be fundamentally changed to meet plot demands - ie: Odin presented as powerful enough to stand toe-to-toe with Galactus. Moreover the comedic way in which this was handled added salt to the wound. For example Odin head butting Galactus and cracking his headgear, and then the two of them floating away unconscious. What the heck is that. Maybe it would be cool to a 10 year old, but they are no longer the audience.

j.swift said...

It's just a comic.

Matt Clark said...

Such a profound statement!

Now I wonder who 'J.Swift' could be...

j.swift said...

My other side dear boy!