I’m not a regular reader of this comic, though I’ve been excited for the concept. So when I got the chance to review a collection early in the run, I jumped at it. And overall, there is a lot to recommend – Jason Aaron does a fantastic job mixing the pseudo-Shakespearean dialogue with Jane’s regular voice. The stories are a great mix of fun and serious, and Aaron isn’t afraid to embrace some of the sillier aspects of the Thor and comics universe without losing the thread.
This collection gathers issues #6-12 of The Mighty Thor and while it luckily does gather a specific arc, as a new reader I was disappointed that its focus was more on the villains and other outlying characters than the character herself. It felt like a bit of a wrong step for the early days of a new character’s run.
Let’s start with the first two issues this collection covers, which has Loki telling a very long and involved story of an ancient Viking he colluded with, presumably to set up what will happen over the following 4 issues of the arc. However, it’s a very long set up to what ultimately is a pretty short payoff. And while it’s connecting Loki to cadre of billionaire super villains, spending 2 full issues focused on a character from the past we never meet again and the former incarnation of Thor felt like a lot of time away from the title character.
The other problem I had with the first 2 issues (and I will admit up front that this might have been my reading conditions) was Rafa Garres’ art. It’s dark and at times muddy, and I assume intentionally sketchy — I had a hard time telling the difference between characters and found the action sometimes impossible to follow.
After taking the book to work, I realized that the light in my house must have been low and there was a LOT more detail than I could make out on my initial read. To speak in marketing terms, it’s not a great user experience to have to make sure you are in the correct light to properly read a comic. Getting a look at it in better light gave me a greater appreciation for the level of detail he was able to achieve, but the style is an odd choice. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to capture art of the period or the primitive, violent era, but it doesn’t really look like any actual art from the Viking era.
The four issues of the main story are a great concise arc that manages to take a deadly serious topic and give it a lighter twist. We get a glimpse of how she spends the majority of her time being a hero as Thor, and a more concrete look at her in action during a crisis, which is pretty awesome. Not only does she kickass physically, but she also uses her smarts to problem solve and try and resolve issues.
My big critique of this arc is that it spends a lot of time setting up the bad guy cadre, and the two talented but overly driven S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in their pursuit of Mighty Thor’s secret identity than with Jane herself. The story even spends more time with agent Roz Solomon than Thor. Granted, the relationship between Roz and Jane is wonderful and I love the moment when Jane decides to trust her with her secret identity.
One of the best parts of these issues is Russell Dauterman’s art with Matt Wilson’s coloring. Not only is the art clear and detailed, but every panel is interesting, all made absolutely stunning with Matt Wilson’s glorious colors:
I love everything about this spread.
Dauterman makes each character unique and memorable, and his sense of humor is a great match with Aaron’s writing. I love how he plays with panel layouts, pairing it to the action.
The final issue in the collection also centers around a look back in time, revealing a brand new information about Mjolnir’s creation. This felt like the strongest issue in the collection, partly because we get some nice character moments with Jane, but also because of Frazer Irving’s gorgeous art for the flashback.
All in all, you are getting a lot of bang for your $19.99, with a solid arc and a really fun read.