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The Mighty Thor #700 [Review]

mighty_thor_0700_lenticularThe Blood of the Norns

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Walter Simonson, Matthew WIlson, Russell Dauterman, Daniel Acuna, James Harren, Dave Stewart, Becky Cloonan, Das Pastoras, Chris Burnham, Ive Svorcina, Andrew MacLean, Jill Thompson, Mike Del Mundo, Olivier Coipel
Letterer & Production: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artists: Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson
Lenticular Cover: Stephanie Hans (based on the original cover of The Death of Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin)
Associate Editor: Sarah Brunstad
Editor: Wil Moss
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: December 2017
Cover Price: $5.99

Along with Cable #150, I think this was the issue I was truly most curious about, content-wise…and sadly, number-wise. It’s a #700…I think Marvel‘s first. Much like Thor #500 was their first #500 issue back in the ’90s. Then there’s the lenticular cover, playing off of the classic The Death of Captain Marvel…one of my definite Starlin favorites with the whole Captain Marvel/Adam Warlock/Thanos/Infinity Gauntlet/cosmic stuff…a certain classic within my own life and time as a comics reader.

I certainly did not care for the higher price of this issue…but at least it’s a singular issue/narrative (albeit with a number of art teams on its many segments) and not a regular-sized main story with a ton of pointless-ish "extras" and add-ins and such just to inflate the thing artificially. And getting the lenticular cover edition makes it feel a bit more like a special issue and certainly physically/tangibly feel like it’s more worth its price. The quality of the lenticular effect is not good, though, with neither image particularly clear, though it seems the "classic" image is easier to see for backgrounds and title, while "Lady Thor" is fairly easy to see in the center.

Art-wise there’s a bunch of folks on this issue, names both familiar and not to me, perhaps most familiar being Walter Simonson, or Walt Simonson…a classic, notable, significant creator in the history of Marvel‘s Thor title. Given that there’s a lot of stuff happening all over the place–different settings, different times, different characters and types of characters–this issue actually benefits from a number of different art styles. While I don’t much care for some stuff, I can’t deny that overall, characters that I’d recognize look good in this issue, and even ones I don’t. Where the art takes a less-classic or less-realistic turn, it still works with the context of the story segment.

The story itself is lengthy enough and all over the place enough that I’m not gonna try to summarize it in detail here. Plus, not being "up" on the last few years of the characters’ stories outside of internet hearsay, I don’t know that I’d get specifics correct as is. Essentially, there’s a big attack happening that causes the knowledge of everyone’s fate to be removed…now that no one knows what WILL happen, the possibilities are endless. In the course of this, we check in on a bunch of different Thors and Thor artifacts. I still can’t get over this sense I get in reading this that "Thor" has become a "title" more than an actual NAME, and that’s probably where I most balk at the last few years of what I’ve heard of things. THOR might somehow become unworthy to carry Mjolnir, but that shouldn’t change that his NAME still IS Thor. Someone else might get the wield the hammer, but I don’t get how THEY suddenly become THOR. Especially while the genuine god is still around. I don’t know if it’s the same name historically, but at least for this issue, I loved the name given to Throg: Simon Walterson, a play on Walter Simonson.

As said, I’m not "up" on the last few years of stuff, so I’m sure there’s plenty throughout this issue to be appreciated that I don’t, and that I didn’t even notice, for that matter. That said, and all other complaints aside…I didn’t really WANT to like this issue.

But I did like it.

I tend to hate when something feels just like an opening chapter of a bigger story, arbitrarily chopped up into issue-sized chunks. This issue probably gets away with that, then, because it’s lengthier. And being a few days after I bought it, the price wasn’t so fresh in my mind and I was just reading the story FOR the story. The extra pages, the story touching on a number of different characters…this just felt like that much bigger a chunk of story overall. It’s by no means complete, but I didn’t feel lost the way I thought I would, and didn’t feel shortchanged when I got to the end of the issue. While this issue kicks off a presumably six-part The Death of The Mighty Thor, that and the lenticular cover are the only real references I picked up to a pending death, outside of the notion of Jane Foster’s cancer, period, being a built-in timer o sorts.

I also definitely enjoyed the fact that "Odinson" was in the book…he may be "unworthy" but is still present and part of the story, so it’s seeming (from this issue at least) like he’s not been absolutely shunted out of his own book.

I really don’t know if this is something ongoing readers would enjoy or not. I believe Aaron is the same writer that’s been on the various titles the last few years, chronicling the ongoing Jane Foster Thor stories, and much of the art team(s) I suspect are from those titles…so this is probably pretty consistent with the overall story that’s been unfolding. And I can’t speak for other fans who have felt put-off by the changes and such.

But me? I enjoyed this issue far more than I expected or intended to. I don’t know if this really falls into the Legacy headline or not, or if the inclusion of Odinson and other versions is simply TO fit into Legacy. But I’ll actually consider picking up the next issue if it’s not out on a huge week and there’s no confusion over which cover is the standard cover (this issue’s lenticular cover is marked as a variant, but due to marketing and hype, I consider the lenticular covers the main covers regardless of markings from the publisher).

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Avengers #25 [Review]

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Walter Simonson
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Jason Keith
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Daniel Acuna
Assistant Editor: John Denning
Associate Editor: Lauren Sankovitch
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Published by: Marvel Comics

Well, this one really didn’t contribute anything of much worth toward the crossover! We see Cap shouldering the heavy burden of being a world leader, taking the blame for all the crap that’s going on and gone on–from the Secret Invasion to Fear Itself to stuff between. In the midst of Cap’s brooding, Thor shows up and tries to cheer him, followed shortly by Noh-Varr with a lead on an AIM hideout. Springing into action, several of the Avengers bust up the AIM hideout, adding a “win” to Cap’s ego, while Noh-Varr gains a new directive to his mission on Earth.

The story itself’s not bad, though honestly–it’s not one I really care about. I know there’s all this continuity from the past decade playing about, and I love that it’s there, at least in a subtle way for longer-time readers. But I bought this issue for being part of AvX, and feel REALLY cheated. There’s a two-page silent spread of the Avengers and X-Men mixing it up, and then the rest of the issue is basically a “flashback” to “Then” (shortly before AvX kicked into gear). But honestly…this issue has no other direct tie to the crossover, the vast majority of it takes place before the crossover, so it’s like they sacrificed a couple pages so they could say “but it contains part of the battle, of COURSE it’s an official tie-in!”

So if you’re a long-time reader, or already reading Avengers….I’m sure this issue continues ongoing plotpoints and otherwise has stuff that you’ll appreciate.

Visually, no huge complaint….I’m even shocked that one page DARES to have a whopping NINE panels. Nine, and there’s dialogue in six of them…MULTIPLE dialogue boxes in each of those! As opposed to, y’know…silent double-page spreads and full splash-pages that seem more filler than anything else. I skipped the credits on initial read-through, and though I have no complaint with the art, it doesn’t exactly blow me away (except again, that this isn’t half a dozen splash pages and a couple double-page spreads). I really liked when Thor showed up…the character looks good, and seemed to have a genuine joy about him, flying in to catch up with his old friend. Count me surprised to learn the art of the issue is by Walter Simonson–a name I’m more familiar with as a name than with his actual art.

In general, this is a solid issue of Avengers (to a guy who hasn’t touched the Avengers books since the #1s due to the $3.99 price tags). It’s got Cap, Iron Man, and Thor (and others), they’re facing classic-ish villains (well, as much as a bunch of science-worshipping terrorists are ‘villains’), and Simonson art, to boot (a ‘classic’ artist I associate with Thor).

But if you’re looking for AvX stuff? Nuh-uh…you’ll want to pass on this issue. Nothing here for that except the seemingly slapped-in spread of a scene we’ve already seen at least twice (in AvX #1 and last week’s New Avengers #24).

All in all, solid, but I’m dinging the story and the issue as a whole for wasting my time and money for a “red skies” tie-in to something I was–before this–having a bit of fun with jumping in whole-hog (and now am suddenly a LOT more concerned about the wisdom of doing so, “fun” or not).

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 6/10

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