Marvel Legacy has offered many promises, including one diehard fans rejoiced in: Back to the original numbering! It just so happens Thor #700 drops this week and there are a variety of reasons it’s an epic tale not even including the incredible “700” on the title. No, it’s in fact the many story threads that weave in here that come from years of work by Jason Aaron.
So what’s it about?
Why does this matter?
It serves as an ode to one of the greatest superheroes ever, but also sets in motion a storyline so epic we’ll be hearing about it for months. Plus, it runs 60 pages long and features a ton of artists who contribute anywhere from a page to a chunk of the story. We’re talking James Harren, Olivier Coipel, Walt Simonson, Andrew Maclean, Matthew Wilson, Daniel Acuna, James Harren, Dave Stewart, Becky Cloonan, Das Pastoras, Chris Burnham, Ive Svorcina, Jill Thompson, and Mike Del Mundo. That’s an incredible lineup!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
How Kirby-esque is that hat?
There is a lot going on in this comic, much of which might require you to read past Thor comics, particularly those written by Aaron, but by weaving so many different Thors from different times and types, Aaron has created a massive epic by every definition of the word. The main threads focus on Jane Foster Thor battling She-Hulk and Odinson (the previous Thor) battling at the World Tree. These two battles allow the story to hang on them as Aaron cuts away revealing developments at the end of time and Loki’s current actions. Aaron also weaves in a future king Thor, Throg saving the day, War Thor getting some new direction and scenes focused on a teenager Thor at 896 A.D. The fact that this book reads clearly and coherently is a testament to Aaron’s captions and the artist’s ability to pace the book well. There are portions I wondered how they factored in, but they give the book a scope that’s impressive and chances are these blips will be tapped into in future stories.
The book as a whole serves to kick off a new adventure for Thor (of all types!) but also the worthiness of the character in general. There’s a strong message near the tail end of the book where Aaron, through captions, narrates that these characters must draw their story from within themselves to not only reveal their true selves and worthiness but also its tragedy. Aaron makes it clear this is superhero stuff, but there’s also a very mythical feel to his writing.
The art in this book is impressive to say the least. It’s never jarring when the art changes either, partly because there are natural breaks between pages — the book cuts away quite a bit here and there — and the various styles suit the scenes. The two main stories focusing on Jane Foster Thor and Odinson have one artist devoted to them with Acuna drawing Jane’s battle and Dauterman drawing Odinson. Both are impressive for a variety of reasons. There’s a lot of rubble in Acuna’s story and he’s great at capturing the detail of a chaotic battle. Dauterman continues to be impressive with interesting uses of blur and incredible detail. He also drops an incredible double page layout that’s gorgeous, depicting the future of where these stories are going. Coipel gets to draw a few of the final pages that set up a big bad that’s growing stronger and he captures a supernatural side of these villains that’s haunting.
Love how badass she is.
It can’t be perfect can it?
A few of the side stories don’t seem all that necessary in the grand scheme of things. Whether they’re here to pad out the book or to give the guest artists a chance to draw a few pages is beyond me, but they don’t serve many purposes to the story. The New Midgard scenes in the future, in particular, seem to be in this book simply to remind us the character exists. The teenage Thor stories look great with Becky Cloonan’s art, but they don’t add all that much either — though you could argue it helps show how far Odinson has come. A single issue this big is bound to have pages that aren’t so necessary and these side stories exemplify that. While Jane Foster Thor’s story is fun to read, it also seems to stick strictly to fighting and not much more.
Is It Good?
Thor #700 captures everything good about the character, be it the weird, the awesome, or the nobility of the character. If you were ever in doubt of this character and their place in the pantheon of superheroes, read this. You’ll see why this character has lasted 700 issues and why Thor will last another 700 after that!