Ragnarök 2 (September 2014)

Ragnarok #2

Why do I even talk? Why do I ever say nice things like Ragnarök isn’t going to be some non-Marvel Thor knock-off?

Because I then end up with egg on my face when Simonson does the big reveal this issue. No, the comic’s not about the lady elf who kicks butt or whatever, it’s actually about a zombie Thor resurrected in a strange land after the Asgardian gods have fallen.

Yawn.

And Simonson spends the entire issue setting up the reveal of it being Thor, even after he brings the hammer back into it. So the entire comic is one scene, the resolution to the previous issue’s cliffhanger. There is a talking rat, however, and I like rats. But a talking rat is not enough to make this comic–or this series–worthwhile.

Maybe Simonson think it’s his great last Thor comic but the deceptive narration kills it.

C- 

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Walt Simonson; colorist, Laura Martin; letterer, John Workman; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

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Captain America/Thor: The Mighty Fighting Avengers (May 2011)

Captain America/Thor: The Mighty Fighting Avengers

It's not a complicated story–writer Roger Langridge sends Captain America (from World War II) and Thor (from the present day) back to Camelot. They discover Loki has wormed his way into King Arthur's court and there's some trouble.

Good thing there are a couple superheroes to deal with it.

Langridge doesn't worry about establishing the relationship between Cap and Thor, he moves right into Loki, the Knights of the Round Table and the adventure. He's got a lovely Empire Strikes Back homage going too for the heroes versus a three-headed dragon. You'll just have to read it.

At its core–with Chris Samnee on the art, doing a wonderful job–it's an issue of Thor: The Mighty Avenger with Cap (the Fighting Avenger version) thrown in. Langridge does make a little time for a Thor and Jane character development subplot and, while lovely, it begs for more.

So it's a functional success.

B+ 

CREDITS

Once and Future Avengers!; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Sana Amanat and Michael Horwitz; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Loki: Agent of Asgard 1 (April 2014)

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I guess it’s been a while since I’ve read a new Marvel comic. I didn’t realize they’ve done everything possible to make the Avengers as much like the movie Avengers… down to this young hot Loki.

Writer Al Ewing makes references back to old Marvel comics and events and so on, but he’s really going for a crossover audience. He doesn’t do a bad job with it either. Loki: Agent of Asgard is fun and fast; it’s mischievous in how its amusing. Ewing knows all the right jokes to make.

But there’s only so much one can do with the story of an Asgardian secret agent who fights with the Avengers. He can fight with the Avengers and go to Asgard. There’s some witty comments about magic in here too, but there’s not a lot. It’s a fast food comic.

Lee Garbett’s art is okay. He’s not great at superheroes.

B- 

CREDITS

Trust Me; writer, Al Ewing; artist, Lee Garbett; colorist, Nolan Woodard; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editors, Jon Moisan, Lauren Sankovitch and Wil Moss; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 8 (February 2011)

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Cornfields. It ends in a cornfield. I’m not sure there’s anything more perfect. Well, obviously, not being canceled would be more perfect, but for what they have to do… Langridge and Samnee end it beautifully.

The issue does not play like a final issue (I’m assuming Marvel did not give them time)—the big bad is left unresolved (Bunson and Beeker make it) and, you know, Odin never makes an appearance—but Langridge finds a balance.

What becomes important is how people regard Thor (sort of) and Langridge gets it resolved. Also, the relationship with Jane needs permanence and Langridge brings that aspect too.

Samnee gets to draw “Mighty” Iron Man and it’s an interesting approach (suggesting there’s a place to take it for going).

It’s an excellent issue with a great last few pages. It’s awful to think there isn’t going to be any more of it.

Thor’s wonderful.

A 

CREDITS

The Man in the Iron Mask; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz, Sana Amanat and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 7 (February 2011)

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It’s hard not to be depressed. And not just because Langridge ends on the series’s first (and last) real cliffhanger. This issue is the second-to-last Thor: The Mighty Avenger.

Langridge opens the issue with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beeker (I suppose Samnee does have something to do with it). Things weren’t working out in the Muppet Labs so they changed their names (slightly) and are now building robots to attack Thor.

Maybe more importantly, this issue is the one where Thor and Jane… ahem… how to make it appropriate for an all ages book… start sharing the same bed. It combined with Thor as a public figure in the small town, make for some great material.

The scene where Jane sends Thor off the work is a favorite; Langridge and Samnee sell it without cynicism or sentimentality. It just works beautifully.

Very upset there’s only one issue left.

CREDITS

Robot; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz, Sana Amanat and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 6 (January 2011)

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The issue ends with Thor and Jane’s first kiss. I wasn’t sure it was going to because Langridge was hinting at it a couple times and it didn’t happen.

The last few pages, leading up to the kiss, are some great talking heads stuff. Except Samnee doesn’t just do talking heads, he does these medium shots and it really brings a lot of charm to it. Of course, Samnee just doesn’t get to do the big kiss scene, Langridge gives him a lot of other stuff….

Thor dukes it out Heimdall, who has different shapes, giving Samnee a lot of action scenes to illustrate. What’s interesting about this episode is how it comes before the present action of this issue (and the last issue). Langridge never refers to it, but it turns out Thor’s been preoccupied this issue and last.

It’s wonderful. Samnee’s expressions alone put it over the top.

CREDITS

Thursday Night; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz, Sana Amanat and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 5 (December 2010)

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Langridge ought to write the Marvel story bible on how characters should be portrayed. His Namor is at once more regal and more human than any other portrayal I’ve read. Langridge’s Namor isn’t the mass anarchist (or a jerk) and it makes for a great guest appearance.

Interestingly, in the same issue, we’re treated to the first look at Thor’s real regal brazenness, juxtaposed against Namor’s self-awareness.

This issue Thor takes Jane on a trip around the world. They miss some stuff because of the adventure with Namor, but what they do make it to—redwood trees, the Great Barrier Reef—immediately reminded me of something else.

It reminded me of Superman (the movie) and its unashamed embracing of the wonderment value. Langridge and Samnee are applying this cinematic gleefulness to a comic book. It only took thirty years.

Thor just keeps getting better. It’s fun, thoughtful and rewarding.

CREDITS

Thursday Morning; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 4 (November 2010)

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This issue, featuring the Warriors Three—they’re checking up on Thor for his father, unaware he doesn’t remember the details of his banishment—might be the best issue of Thor yet.

It’s hard to say.

It doesn’t do much with the Thor and Jane romance, which Langridge is pacing beautifully, but it’s just such a joy… one reads it beaming.

The issue is played mostly for humorous effect—Langridge’s version of Captain Britain is a hoot—but again he’s able to touch on some rather serious points. With Thor as the stranger in the strange land, this issue gives him friends. More, it lets the reader see Thor with his fellows. It’s not technically important since, you know, it’s a Thor comic and a familiar reader should be able to guess….

But Langridge makes it important.

Samnee gets to do talking heads, battle, romance, humor; he hands them all exquisitely.

CREDITS

Boys’ Night Out; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 3 (October 2010)

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It’s a Thor comic, but it’s kind of Henry Pym’s issue. Giant-Man and the Wasp guest-star this issue and Langridge goes far in giving them their nicest portrayal in many years. Flashbacks to Pym’s past bookend the issue; Langridge uses them to give the character a resonance totally unrelated to the events Thor’s experiencing in the issue’s main body. It’s interesting to see bookends without some kind of analog in the story. It’s very nice.

Even with the big (no pun intended) guest stars—I don’t think the Wasp even shrinks down here though—Langridge spends a lot of time developing Thor and Jane’s relationship. He uses her knowledge of Thor (from Edith Hamilton, no doubt) to further the narrative, giving Jane a crib sheet for Thor. One the reader presumably already has.

It makes for some nice, delicate scenes.

With Samnee’s great art, it’s another wondrous issue.

CREDITS

Here Be Giants; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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