Donny Cates has taken Thor on a rollercoaster journey since beginning his run on this series. From becoming a Herald of Galactus to taking on an evil Donald Blake, Thor has been through a lot as of late. Now his biggest test may be in front of his as he has put down his hammer, Mjolnir, possibly permanently. This leaves Thor’s status as the God of Thunder in question while also continuing to wrestle with the responsibilities of being the current All-Father of Asgard. What will happen next? Let’s find out with Thor #17.
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Michele Bandini
Colorist: Mathew Wilson
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In the Roaring Elms of Vanaheim the Odinson family reunion is interrupted by an army of Koragants, an invasive species from Muspelheim. As they fight off the Koragants, Angela tells Thor and Odin spill to much of the Koragants blood as it will only bring more to their location.
Freyja then reappears riding a giant black cat named Trjegul. Freyja pulls out a gatling gun and kills all of the Koragants in the area with it.
Later that night, while eating Odin questions Freyja about her new title of Goddess of the Hunt. Freyja corrects Odin saying she is the God of the Hunt and made the change since her previous title as Goddess of Fertility and Marriage didn’t fit. This gets Odin hot believing he is to blame for their marriage failing and their current situation.
Thor interrupts by asking why their marriage failed in the first place and what Angela is doing with Freyja. Odin says he is done with all this as he will not stand to be judged by Freyja. Angela throws a knife between Odin’s fingers and tells her father to sit down.
Angela then reveals she is the one who summoned Odin and Thor to talk about the events with Black Winter, the death of Galactus, Donald Blake, the World Serpent, and the current situation with Mjolnir, something she and her mother have all watched go down. Angela calls out how Asgardians tend to bring death on the rest of the Realms and that Thor and Odin would do well to learn from one another because a family divided will only bring down Asgard.
Odin gets pissed hearing this which starts an argument with Thor. Hearing this Angela says that if Thor has no interest in cleaning up Asgard she will take the throne from her brother. Thor challenges Angela to try.
Deescalating things Freyja tells Angela to take Odin back home so she can speak with Thor. Odin does not like this plan as he does not trust Angela. Angela tells her father that if he wants to fight so badly she knows of a place they can go.
Angela then takes Odin to a place where he is put into an area as a gladiator to be in the next fight. As Angela watches from the stands Odin thinks he should’ve never had a daughter while facing off against his opponent.
Back on Vanaheim Freyja admits to Thor that after splitting with Odin she wasn’t sure what her place in Thor’s life was. Freyja goes on to say that she has lived life with Odin where she had to put up with all of his secrets, schemes, infidelities, children, and many dark secrets. Thor says he recently learned about actually being the son of Odin and the Phoenix, knowledge he isn’t sure what to do with. Freyja reminds Thor that she is the one who raised him and will always be his mother.
Freyja then asks Thor what is really wrong with his reign as All-Father. Thor says to hearing how people are calling his reign “The Black Reign of the Thunder King.” Freyja asks her son why he has been so cruel in his actions as it is unlike Thor to be like his father. Thor admits that he has no heir to pass the crown to and has been doing things to ensure Asgard’s safety as the last and final All-Father.
Freyja laughs this off as she says Thor can still have an heir. Thor reveals he has seen into the future, which showed he would not have a child to inherit his cursed throne because of what Thanos will do.
Freyja reminds Thor that he has already experienced many world and universe ending threats before. She ensures her son that whatever is coming they will face it together.
Thor suddenly gets a call from Captain America, who reveals that somehow Mjolnir has been stolen from Avengers Mountain. End of issue.
The Good: Thor #17 is all about character building and it is extremely successful on the front in multiple ways. It really all speaks to how Donny Cates is able to write each character in this issue and how that is complimented by Michele Bandini artwork that every moment works.
The opening with Thor, Odin, Angela, and Freyja reuniting for the first time since Thor learned he was the son of the Phoenix set the stage well. Cates and Bandini worked together to create maximum amount of tension in the opening page that you understood what each character would be saying as the issue progressed. Even in knowing what each character would likely say and how they will react was obvious it did not take away from the strong character work being done for the Odinson Family. It actually enhanced it because Cates and Bandini were able to play with the current family dynamic Thor, Odin, Angela, and Freyja all have with one another.
Thor #17 especially worked to put over where Angela and Freyja are with everything going on in the Marvel Universe right now. With Angela we see how she is the frustrated daughter of Odin and sister of Thor who is done with both of their crap. Nothing beating around the bush and calling them both out on how both Odin and Thor’s reigns as All-Father are causing Asgard to burn until there is nothing left was excellent character work. Cates backs everything Angela says up with the most recent examples of how Thor has created a chaotic situation for Asgard during the course of the storylines in this series. Adding in everything we’ve seen happen throughout Odin’s previous reign and you can’t deny everything Angela was saying was true.
This also allowed Angela’s personality to shine as she was very much approaching everything she said as a warrior. She wasn’t going to back down no matter how loudly Odin or Thor spoke when they got pissed over what she said. Angela was more than fine with throwing down with either of them if it came down to it. Which made the father-daughter bonding that Angela had in mind ending up with Odin fighting in a battle arena a perfect spot to leave these two characters.
Angela’s personality was contrasted well with how we saw Freyja portrayed throughout Thor #17. Cates immediately established how her new title of God of the Hunt is more than just for show. Freyja is completely living up to the title as we saw her badass moment of riding Trjegul while wielding a gatling gun to mow down all of the Koragants. This action got over a few things. One it was her title of God of the Hunt, something that we saw her defend when Odin tried to demean her title by calling her “Goddess” knowing well what he meant by that. The other was further driving home how she is putting the old ways of doing things while she was with Odin behind her. She is going to do things here own way, that includes riding a giant cat in Trjegul and wielding a gatling gun into battle.
At the same time, we see how Freyja still does have a much softer touch in how she deals with conflict. She isn’t up for a bunch of screaming matches or fighting. Freyja will solve things with her words, especially when it comes to family. And she understood that they weren’t going to get anywhere with both Angela and Odin around escalating the tension around the campfire. If she was going to get through her son she needed to talk to Thor alone.
In setting up this situation for her and Thor to talk alone Freyja was able to dig into what has really been bothering her son all this time. This was by far the most honest Thor we have seen in a long time. We’ve seen various instances of him talking about what is going on in his head but he never fully opens up to anyone. That is until Freyja speaks to him and he does become an open book to her mother.
In the process Cates is able to use recent events like the revelation of Thor actually being the son of Odin and the Phoenix to the advantage of this story. Cates uses this new continuity to just drive home the fact that no matter what Freyja is Thor’s mother with how she talks to him as a son the entire time. You could tell this is exactly what Thor needed to hear and really got him to open up about the future vision that he saw that makes him believe his is the final King of Asgard.
Through all of this strong character work Cates is able to make the big cliffhanger ending of Thor #17 have maximum impact. We get so invested in the discussion between Thor and Freyja that you forget that there is this whole other situation with the status of the Mjolnir hammer. This allows the ending with Captain America revealing that Mjolnir has been stolen from Avengers Mountain hit hard. It is an ending that creates even more questions for what will happen next in this series moving forward.
As mentioned earlier, Michele Bandini really nailed the tone of the story that Thor #17 was going for. This was a very character-centric issue and Bandini enhanced all the storytelling through his artwork. He really got into how Thor, Odin, Angela, and Freyja each had different approaches when it came to interacting with one another.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Thor #17 does an excellent job in providing some great character work for Thor, Odin, Angela, and Freyja. Donny Cates and Michele Bandini dig into how recent developments around the Odinson Family have impacted each character. All of this builds even greater excitement for whatever plans there are for the future of the Thor series.
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