Comic Book Review: Thor #6

With the exception of the one issue dedicated to JMS’ bizarre obsession with punking out Tony Stark, The Revolution has been impressed with Thor. JMS appears to have a nice handle on Thor’s character. And JMS’ style of writing is an excellent match for a magic based title full of Norse gods. I am sure that Thor #6 will be another quality read. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils: Olivier Copiel
Inks: Mark Morales

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Donald Blake eating breakfast at the local diner with several other locals. The locals at the table each recount a strange tale that they have had with their new neighbors: The Asgardians. One man tells how Volstagg attended the town meeting and commented how there are no toilets on Asgard. That they simply fire everything over the wall. The mayor notes to schedule a sanitation and safety code inspection for Asgard.

Another local recounts how he was trying to fix a flat tire on his old truck but was having trouble since his jack was broken. Hogun then walked onto the scene carrying a couple of wild boars over his shoulders. Hogun stopped and lifted the old truck off the ground so that man could change the tire.

The man mentioned that the only wild boards are found at the Texas border over a hundred miles away. Hogun answered that is where he went to hunt them and that he didn’t use a gun. Instead, Hogun punched them and knocked them out. The man finished changing the tire and offered Hogun a ride back to town. Hogun declined pointing out that he found the walk refreshing and his hoping to become the first Asgardian with a tan.

The men at Donald Blake’s table urge the owner of the diner to tell them about his encounter with an Asgardian. The owner, Bill, reluctantly agrees to do so. Bill says that he was out walking at night when he came across Kelda. Bill was stunned by her beauty. Kelda introduced herself to Bill and asked for his name.

Bill hesitantly asked Kelda what it is like living up in Asgard. Kelda responded that Bill asks a rather remarkable question. That the Asgardians spend so much time looking over the wall and wondering what it is like to live down here. Kelda turned to leave and said over her shoulder that since she has indulged her curiosity that perhaps Bill will do the same and come one night to satisfy his interests.

The men at Blake’s table all joke Bill by saying that he is in love with Kelda. Bill says he knows that there is no chance of anything happening. That his dad used to say “A bird can love a fish, but where would they build a house together?” Donald Blake answers “On the edge of the river.”

Blake then has a conversation inside his mind with Thor. Thor mentions how he has freed so many that he did not intend to free. Thor states that he does not want to free Odin. That he doesn’t want to send all the Asgardians back to their old way of life. That the Asgardians should be able to live their lives as they wish to live and not how they were forced or fated to lead.

Blake counters that if Thor doesn’t hurry up and free the Asgardians still trapped in human form then one of them might die. Blake says that there are no easy choices in life. Blake then leaves the diner. The locals comment how Blake is nice, but that he talks to himself sometimes.

We see Blake walk out near Asgard and then transform into Thor. Loki watches the mystical bolt of lightning crash through the air. Loki thinks how lightning is just a flicker of light punctuated on all sides by darkness.

Thor flies up into the atmosphere. Thor tells Blake that he doesn’t know if he can do this or survive this. That if he doesn’t survive that Blake must tell Sif that Thor loved her. Thor powers up and releases massive lightning bolts across the entire world. Lightning crashes down across various cities and transforms Asgardians back to their godly forms.

Thor finishes and then mumbles that it is done. That all the Asgardians have been returned. Thor then passes out and falls back to Earth. Thor crashes into the ground making a crater and lays their unconscious. End of issue.

The Good: Thor #6 was a nice read. This has been a well plotted title as JMS has taken his time in re-introducing Asgard and the Asgardians. I appreciate that JMS has not rushed the return of the Norse Gods. This title certainly has moved at a measured paced for a new title, but this was the proper route to take in order to lay a strong foundation for this re-birth of Asgard. This is a critical moment in re-introducing Thor and his fellow Asgardians back into the 616 universe and I’m glad that JMS is taking time to do this the right way.

JMS dishes out some good dialogue. JMS does a nice job with all of the locals. I really enjoyed each of the stories from the three local men. The first two are quite humorous while the third tale told by Bill touches more on the reader’s heart. The budding romance between Bill and Kelda is intriguing and I’m curious to see if Bill manages to make his way over to Asgard.

I liked how JMS handled Thor’s dilemma over brining back Odin. The reader would have instinctively thought that Loki was the one Asgardian that Thor would have the most reservations about reviving. However, it makes perfect sense that Thor would be conflicted over bringing back his father. JMS makes a nice point that this is a fresh starts for all of Asgard. And that all individuals should be able to live their lives free to live their lives as they so choose.

As always, Loki is up to no good. JMS is doing a nice job with Loki with his return. JMS has not had Loki do anything overtly evil, but the reader gets that generally uneasy feeling that Loki is plotting something horrible.

JMS crafts some enjoyable dialogue. JMS’ overly dramatic style of dialogue may come across too ham handed for titles consisting of mere mortals. However, it is a perfect match for a cast full of gods. JMS gives this title the proper sense of grand drama and eloquence.

The best part of Thor #6 was JMS finally kicking it into overdrive and deciding to bring back all the remaining Asgardians back at once. This was a brilliant move by JMS. Even thought I have enjoyed the steady and restrained pacing on this title up to this point, it was time for JMS to go ahead and complete the task of reviving all the Asgardians. It was getting a bit predictable and formulaic having Thor revive a couple of Asgardians per issue.

JMS ends this issue with a powerful ending that nicely conveys the herculean effort that Thor had to employ to “wake up” all the remaining Asgardians. It shall be interesting to see what a fully populated Asgard looks like. It will also be neat to see how the locals deal with a sudden influx of Asgardians. But, what I am most looking forward to is the return of Odin and how Thor deals with his father.

Olivier Copiel and Mark Morales combine to deliver some wonderful looking artwork. Copiel is an excellent choice of artists for this title. Copiel gives Thor a powerful look fitting of a god, but at the same time gives him this inner gentleness that one would not normally associate with the Thunder God.

The Bad: Despite the fact that Thor #6 finally ends the mission of awakening all of the Asgardians, this is still one slow moving issue. Now, I enjoyed the various tales from the locals as well as Thor’s debate with Blake about restoring Odin. However, many readers may find Thor #6 a bit too slow and boring.

And as much as I have appreciated JMS using a restrained pace and his dedication in taking his time in order to lay a strong foundation, it is now time for JMS to seriously crank up the pacing on Thor from here on out. And, JMS also needs to start creating some interesting plotlines and conflicts. This title has been lacking in that area up to this point. JMS has to demonstrate that he has a long term purpose with this title beyond being a character study of Thor.

Overall: Thor #6 was another fine read. JMS has truly found his home on this title. If you like grand tales delivered in the proper dramatic fashion then you will certainly enjoy Thor. If you enjoy fantasy themed stories then you should definitely give Thor a try. However, readers who enjoy a bit more action and faster pacing may not enjoy this title all that much.