Torunn Grønbekk has stepped up to continue the Thor storyline that Donny Cates started. Specifically, we’ve seen Thor continue his journey in trying to do his best as All-Father of Asgard. That has not been made easy with Odin’s spirit, which was residing within Mjolnir, disappearing because of what Doctor Doom has been doing in forcing Hel to “help” him. Along with that, we’ve been seeing storylines from the future with Laussa and the distant past with Bor vs Thanos. How will all these stories tie into one another? Let’s find out with Thor #34.
Writer: Torunn Grønbekk
Artists: Juan Gedeon and Sergio Davila
Inkers: Juan Gedeon and Sean Parsons
Colorist: Matt Wilson
After entering the Time Storm to go into the far past Thor and Future Laussa team up to save a baby from being killed by Thanos and Doctor Doom. Thor is able to drive Thanos and Doctor Doom through the Time Storm.
Before they go back to the present Thor and Laussa meet Bor.
In Valhalla, Valkyrie (Jane Foster) meets Bor and Odin where Bor reveals he was happy to get insight into the future his son and grandchildren would have.
Back in the present, the child that Thor and Future Laussa saved quickly ages into a teenager. Thor takes the child to meet her father, who turns out to be Loki, which means she is Hela. End of issue.
Thor #34 is a comic book that goes off the rails and never finds itself back to get in control of the story going on. And given how narrative-heavy the story is that is not a great thing. It all gets to the point where we are left wondering if this series will get the proper wrap-up before it gets relaunched.
When it comes to the writing for Thor #34 it is definitely a mixed bag. When Torunn Grønbekk simply focuses on the different character interactions you see how well she gets Thor’s corner of the Marvel Universe. With Thor, you get a sense of how much the weight he has been carrying has become too much.
That makes the balance he fails to have because of the sense of urgency to defeat Thanos and Doctor Doom creates a unique dynamic with Future Laussa. This isn’t a happy team-up with siblings. And the way Future Laussa bounces off Thor does further highlight the overwhelming pressure Thor is feeling.
Similarly, the interaction Bor has with Odin and Jane Foster in Valhalla also carries the weight you expect with these three characters. Grønbekk does a good job at making Bor’s monologue have meaning. The way Odin reacted showed that this was a long-overdue moment between father and son.
Where the story falls apart is how overly reliant Grønbekk is on the narration plot device. Utilizing a narrator for a story is something that needs to be carefully treated. It has to be written in a way that you get that this is supposed to be a character within the universe that is telling a story. If not the writing for the narration can just come across as the writer speaking to the reader.
That is unfortunately what happens as Grønbekk writes the narration in a way that does not feel like a character in this story is speaking. Rather it is Grønbekk who is hand-holding the reader while talking in a way that attempts to keep the mystery alive.
By writing the narration in this way Grønbekk breaks the reality of the world for the story. You are immediately reminded that you are reading a comic book. There is no sense of immersion where you get lost in the story while reading it.
Not helping things is how Thanos and Doctor Doom are just poorly written. Grønbekk attempts to make Thanos and Doctor Doom’s respective villainy cancel each other out. There was no point where it seemed that Thor was fighting two of the biggest villains in the Marvel Universe. It instead felt like Thor was fighting fake versions of Thanos and Doctor Doom.
This leads to the whole story with the child Thor and Future Lausse saved being Hela falling completely flat. There was really no other option as Grønbekk telegraphed the reveal. And because it was so telegraphed it made the ending come across as Grønbekk waiting to include Loki in the story and was going to force that to happen. This is extremely disappointing with how Thanos and Doctor Doom were treated in this issue.
Grønbekk also makes the sub-plot with baby Lausse being taken care of by Valkyrie Runa and Corvus Glaive as unimportant as possible. The brief scene we get with them was done in a way that was just so readers don’t forget about this subplot. There is nothing deeper being done as Runa is just made to stand around the entire time.
The artwork by Juan Gedeon and Sergio Davila was just fine. They split the scenes well enough so the switch in art styles fit what they each did for the story. However, since Thor has been known for epic-scale artwork the art in Thor #34 just felt average. Especially with how the battle of Thor vs Thanos and Doctor Doom lacked proper fight choreography. It was kept extremely simple that lacked the epic fight feel you expect this type of fight to have.
Thor #34 falls completely flat because of the narrative choices made. Even in the few positive moments that are all canceled out by writing that gets in its own way. It leads to what takes place in Thor #34 failing to have the epic tone you would expect from a story involving Thor, Thanos, and Doctor Doom.
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10