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Thor #1 [Review]

Quick Rating: Average, but there’s still potential.
Story Title: Untitled

Thor returns.

thor001Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils: Olivier Coipel
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Asst. Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Editor: Warren Simons
Editor-In-Chief: Joe Quesada
Cover Art: Olivier Coipel, variants by others.
Publisher: Marvel Comics

This issue–and by extension, the series–holds a lot of potential, and seems to have some good ideas to give us, as readers. The execution seems a bit off, though, and despite some good conceptual ideas, just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.

I’ll be one of the first to stand up and complain about “decompression” and generally dragging stories out unnecessarily across multiple issues…but this issue felt like it actually should be at least 2, if not 3 or 4 issues in length.

The issue’s story–boiled down–is fairly simple: we as readers are introduced to Thor, his alter ego, shown how he returns, and follow his alter ego into a “new neighborhood,” so to speak.

The way the title character is first encountered seems to go against his last appearance, from what I recall (given 2 1/2 years’ separation from my last reading of that story). The way he returns has the potential of some epic, legendary thing that could bring a lot to the character…but is over so quickly that one may wonder why it’s taken so long (both in real time and comic-time) for this to happen. There’s some good setup that leads me to assume we’re meeting some new supporting cast, and we’re introduced to what solicitations lead me to believe will be the new regular locale for the book, which will nicely separate it (I hope) from being “just” another super-powered entity operating in New York City.

The art is good…I have no real complaints with it. I like the look of the characters, and can follow what’s going on visually. I also really, really like Thor’s new get-up. It has a much more realistic look, more practical for a “warrior” and somehow evokes more of a feel that Thor has Norse ties (if only through popular cultural depictions of Norse stuff). To me, it also makes the “classic” costume look fairly hokey.

This issue moves quickly along, going from lack of a title character to his return to setup of a new status quo, all in one issue–something that almost seems a feat in itself, in an age when title characters sometimes don’t show up until the final page (if even at all) of their own debut issues.

This is far from a perfect issue…and taken alone, I’m not entirely enamored with it. However, there’s still a lot of potential that I can see…and so I’ll give a couple more issues for Straczynski to kick his magic into gear and really hook me before I bail on this title.

Ratings:

Story: 2/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3/5

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Whatmen?! [Review]

Whatmen?!

Written by: Scott Lobdell
Pencils by: Alejandro Figueroa
Inks by: Aldo Giordanelli
Colors & text page design by: Amber Shields
Lettering by: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne
Edited by: Chris Ryall & Scott Dunbier
Publisher: IDW

I wasn’t going to buy this book–I enjoy some parodies/spoofs, but was going to avoid the various Watchmen spoofs. I also tend to avoid IDW because I refuse to pay $4 for a standard-size comic, and care nothing for cardstock covers and high-quality sturdy gloss pages. I just want to read a good story from a comic, and I’ll get a collected volume if I’m interested in a high-quality version that’s not going to sit in a box for years.

But this is a one-shot, and felt thicker than usual, so against better judgment I bought it. If you know the story of Watchmen, you know the basic elements found in this book. We follow along roughly the same story, but at breakneck pace and with a “_________ Movie” twist to numerous elements (including a nice use of Dr. NYC “spoiling” a couple of subplots since there’s not room in a single issue to adapt a 300-page graphic novel).

Given that this IS a spoof, not too much to be said story-wise, except that it hits on some of the main “moments” fans of Watchmen would probably expect to see in any abridgment.

The art is good, and actually does in most places remind me of Gibbons’ work on the source material. The art certainly goes with the story, and I have nothing here to complain about. There are some amusing sight-gags: watch for Spider-Man, and Snoopy clones, among others–when one looks past the “simple” exterior of these gags, there’s further amusement to be had realizing what they stand in for.

All in all, this is a fairly amusing book. I don’t think it’s on the level of being a “must-read!” or anything, but if you’ve an extra $4–and don’t mind spending $4 for 28 pages of visual story and 4 text-pages (all in the general style of Watchmen)–you’ll find yourself with a decent comic if you snag this.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 7.5/10
Whole: 8/10

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