The War of the Realms continues to be an absolute blast. This is proving to be Marvel’s best big event in a very long time. Jason Aaron is rapidly heading to the conclusion of this six issue big event. I am confident that The War of the Realms #4 will deliver another entertaining and beautiful looking issue. Let’s do this review!
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Russell Dauterman
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin in Alfheim at the palace of the Light Elves. This realm is in ruins since Malekith attacked it. We see the Queen and Sir Ivory in the palace. A dark Bifrost portal opens and out steps the Punisher. The Light Elves think that Punisher is one of Malekith’s allies since he has war in his eyes and a skull on his chest. Punisher says that if he was working with Malekith that all the Light Elves would already be dead. Punisher tells them to come with him if they want a chance to pay back Malekith.
We hop over to Asgard at the broken rainbow bridge. Daredevil says that he was able to send out all of their strike forces, but that he could not return them home before the rainbow bridge was broken. Daredevil says that all they can do now is pay to Freyja.
We shift to Svaralfheim where Freyja has killed Bitterhand, Malekith’s right hand man, and has taken Bitterhand’s Bitterblade. The Bitterblade gives Freyja Dark Elf magic which makes her even more powerful. Freyja orders She-Hulk to go through the dark Bifrost portal like the rest of their teammates. She-Hulk refuses to leave Freyja. Therefore, Freyja uses her Dark Elf energy to throw She-Hulk through the dark Bifrost portal.
Freyja then faces off against a massive Dark Elf army. Freyja screams how many Dark Elves are worth one goddess. Freyja says is it hundreds? Thousands? All of them? Freyja yells for the Dark Elves to keep coming at her so they may have an answer. (Hell. Yeah. This is exactly how the mother of Thor should roll.)
We hop to Indavellir where She-Hulk is transported by the black Bifrost and then recruits the Dwarves to follow her to Midgard to battle Malekith. We cut to Vanaheim where Blade is transported by the black Bifrost and then recruits the Vanir Gods to follow him to Midgard to battle Malekith. We zip to Niffleheim where Robbie Reyes is transported by the black Bifrost and then recruits the giant Spiders to come with him to Midgard to battle Malekith. We then hop to Jotunheim and see our team has Thor and they head to the black Bifrost portal.
We zip to Avengers Mountain in Midgard and see the team from Jotunheim appearing in Avengers Mountain. Black Panther and Thori are battling some of Malekith’s forces at Avengers Mountain. Shuri is in the control center of Avengers Mountain and activates the Celestial’s defenses and destroys Malekith’s army.
Our heroes take Thor to the infirmary. Odin then appears on the scene and demands to know where is his wife, Freyja. We cut to Freyja killing a ton of Dark Elves.
We shift to Malekith at Stonehenge with Venom shackled to one of the rocks. Malekith smiles at the fact that all of Midgard is at war at the moment. Malekith then tells Venom that he has been bonded to a mortal for too long. Malekith starts casting a spell that causes Venom to lose his shape. Malekith then calls out for Bitterhand to open the black Bifrost for him to send him some wine wenches. (Damn. I want some wine wenches! It must be good to be the king of the Dark Elves.) Bitterhand does not answer. (Cause Freyja has killed his ass.)
We hop back to Avengers Mountain where Odin is angry that our heroes left Freyja to die. Captain America responds that they were just following Freyja’s orders. Captain America says that they can hop through the black Bifrost portal and get Freyja and then destroy the black Bifrost portal on the Midgard side.
Odin says that Captain America’s plan is not possible. That Freyja is now the guardian of the black Bifrost and can control who enters the portal. However, this does not apply to the All-Father. Odin demands that someone get him his spear. Tony Stark and Screwbeard then enter and say they have created something even better for Odin.
We hop over to Svaralfheim where Freyja has finished off the last of the Dark Elves. Suddenly, Malekith appears on the scene and impales Freyja with a magical sword. (The sword looks like it may be made from Venom’s symbiotic.) More Dark Elf soldiers arrive with Malekith. Malekith orders the injured Freyja to be fed to his dogs.
Suddenly, Odin the Iron All-Father appears through the black Bifrost portal. Odin starts kicking ass on Malekith and his army. Freyja recovers and starts fighting by Odin’s side. Odin says that he will see Freyja in Hel. That Odin will kiss her like she has never been kissed before. Freyja says that Odin is turning her on. Malekith commands his army too stop the Asgardians from destroying the black Bifrost.
Odin then says that if these are to be his last words then let them not be cries of war. Odin says that he loves the flaming Hel out of Freyja. Freyja tells Odin to kiss her. The black Bifrost is then destroyed.
We zip back to Avengers Mountain. We see Punisher in the armory giving the Light Elves guns. Thor appears on the scene. Punisher says that he is sorry about Thor’s family. We see Thor reach for the Destroyer’s arm.
We cut to Jane Foster addressing all of the heroes in the main meeting room. Jane says that the black Bifrost is destroyed. Therefore, Malekith’s forces cannot retreat from Midgard or be reinforced. Jane says that she is the All-Mother of Asgard. (I just threw up a little in my mouth.) James says it it is time to take the fight to the invaders. Jane says that the Avengers will lead their army.
Thor then interrupts and enters the scene. Thor says that only one will lead this fight and his name is Thor. (Fuck. Yes.) We see Thor with the Destroyer’s arm attached as his left arm. Thor has two weapons in his hands. The narrator says that all across Midgard the thunder rumbles. A hard and angry rain begins to fall. Soon the lightning will come and shatter everything in its path. And the hammers will follow. End of issue.
The Good: Damn. The War of The Realms #4 was a kick-ass read. Jason Aaron’s words hit with the fury of a chainsaw metal guitar riff that is brought to life with Russell Dauterman’s epic artwork. The raw intensity of this story pulsates through each page. The reader’s adrenaline is pumping from cover to cover. This is a wildly entertaining read that hooks the reader in with the first page and never lets go until the end.
The War of The Realms #4 is an excellent paced and plotted issue. Aaron moves this story along at a brisk pace. There are no wasted panels in this issue. Nor are there any moments where the story meanders or gets lazy. Aaron has a tight grip over the direction of this story and keeps it barreling forward. I love how Aaron uses quick scene cuts between scenes that may only be a panel or two in order to replicate the frenzied feel of an actual war.
The plotting is impressive as Aaron juggles such a large roster with complete ease. It is no easy feat to handle so many different plot-lines involving so many characters. All of the plot-lines compliment each other. All of the scenes fit together in a pleasant and logical fashion.
Aaron ends The War of The Realms #4 with a fantastic hook ending. Aaron has been teasing the reader with Thor’s arrival in the main conflict of this big event. Aaron has wisely kept Thor on the sidelines for issues 1-4. Now, with just two issues left, Aaron has placed Thor on the chess board. The reader is been eagerly waiting for this moment. The amount of anticipation that Aaron has built in making the reader wait for this dramatic moment is going to make the final two issues that much more enjoyable and satisfying.
The ending was so badass that it makes the hair on the back of the reader’s neck stand up. The narration in the final page is brilliant. This narration is heavy metal poetry. You could imagine James Hetfield belting out these lyrics amid loud power chords. The reader is nearly jumping up and down and excited to see Thor finally taking part of the battle and ready to kick Malekith’s ass.
The manner in which Aaron is handling Thor is an example of great psychology. This is like in pro wrestling when one member of a babyface tag team is getting beaten up and the fans are dying to see a hot tag made to the fresh babyface so he can get into the ring and clean house. The reader has been watching Malekith’s forces just kicking the crap out of the good guys. The reader has seen Malekith continually beat our heroes. Aaron has done an excellent job over these first four issues in making the reader wanting to finally see Malekith get his ass kicked. The reader is so excited to finally see Thor getting the hot tag and entering the ring and proceeding to beat the hell out of Malekith.
The War of The Realms #4 is a well balanced issue. Aaron delivers a ton of bloody action. The reader never has to go too many pages without seeing some kind of brawling. However, Aaron also delivers some well done dialogue heavy scenes, too. This issue should appeal to a wide cross-section of readers.
Aaron also does a fine job with the character work and dialogue in The War of The Realms #4. The dialogue is well done and the characters have their own unique external voices. In fact, Aaron delivers his best dialogue of this entire big event. There was no poorly timed or inappropriately placed “humorous” dialogue. Aaron refrained from having multiple characters have the same external voice of Spider-Man. The bit of comedic relief that we do get in The War of The Realms #4 is all well timed and properly delivered.
The bulk of the character work in The War of The Realms #4 is reserved for Freyja, Odin, and Punisher. Aaron’s Freyja and Odin are absolutely fantastic. I love this couple. Aaron creates some wonderful chemistry between this husband and wife duo. I dig their lustfulness that shines through even while waging war. Freyja and Odin come across as primal forces of nature. Pure passion and heart.
I have adored how Aaron writes Freyja and Odin for a long time. Aaron just gets these two characters so well. And Aaron makes both of them properly bad-ass. I loved Freyja and Odin’s death scene. Our Asgardian power couple gets an appropriate ending. This is exactly how I would imagine Odin and Freyja would want to die. It is a passionate and heroic death scene.
Of course, death is never permanent. And it certainly is not permanent for gods. So, I would expect to see Odin and Freyja back and better than ever at some point. Because, Jane Foster as the All-Mother of Asgard is a serious downgrade from Freyja.
Aaron continues to do a great job writing the Punisher. Aaron completely gets how to craft Punisher’s laconic and blunt style of dialogue. Punisher gets plenty of cool lines and never seems over his head even though he is surrounded by incredibly powerful meta humans and magical characters.
Aaron’s Thor continues to be properly bad-ass. The reader only gets Thor in a single solitary panel in this issue. However, that one single panel is packed with more testosterone pumping attitude as possible. I love that Aaron is making Thor the centerpiece of this big event. Aaron is not mincing words as he clearly lets the reader know that Thor is going to be the big heroic character who gets to shine in the spotlight at the end of this big event.
After seeing Thor portrayed as a dumb joke machine it is refreshing to see a more serious Thor with some real gravitas to his character. The Thor that we get in the MCU does have entertainment value. But, presenting a character as nothing more than comedic relief only serves to define down that character. Portraying Thor in a more regal and sober manner helps to properly elevate Thor’s character. Thor is one of Marvel’s Holy Trinity along with Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. Thor is certainly deserves to be portrayed as a more serious character.
Russell Dauterman delivers his usual phenomenal artwork in The War of The Realms #4. I have praised Dauterman’s artwork in every possible way in my reviews for the prior issues of The War of The Realms. I do not know what else to say. Dauterman’s artwork is simply gorgeous. The amount of detail packed into each panel is amazing. Dauterman’s art continues to give The War of The Realms a truly epic feel. I want Dauterman to do the art on all of Marvel’s big events from now on.
I also have to mention Dauterman’s design for Thor. I totally dig Thor’s over-the-top look with the Destroyer’s left arm. It is a bad-ass battle ready look.
The Bad: The only weakness in The War of The Realms #4 is Aaron’s handling of Jane Foster’s character. Jane Foster as the All-Mother of Asgard seems so blatantly forced and contrived. It is just so dumb to the point that it pulls the reader out of the story. Making Jane the All-Mother of Asgard is like showing up to a wedding in Jorts. It does not help any that Aaron writes Jane in a manner that makes her come across like an annoying and yappy chihuahua. Jane’s character simply lacks the stature and gravitas for the position Aaron has forced her into as All-Mother of Asgard.
Overall: The War of The Realms #4 is another kick-ass read. Aaron’s heavy metal writing combined with Dauterman’s stunning artwork makes for an action packed and wild big event issue. The War of The Realms #4 is pure fun in the form of violent action and bad-ass moments that would make a 1980’s action movie jealous. If you have skipped on The War of The Realms then you definitely need to go buy this big event when it comes out in trade format. It is well worth your money.
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