High Five! Comics

Thor #615: He’s Done Sci-Fi, Now Fraction Goes Mystical

Posted on: September 23, 2010

I have a bad habit of hyping  something up for myself so hard that when it finally rolls around, I can’t help but give it a resounding “meh.” After digging Straczynski’s run on Thor as much as I did (and being admittedly unenthusiastic about Gillien’s short stint), I was ecstatic when I heard that Matt Fraction was slated to take over with artist Pasqual Ferry (Ultimate Iron Man II) starting with issue #610. I mean, aside from a few sluggish issues, Invincible Iron Man has been pretty damn solid. For god knows what reason, it wasn’t until issue #615, released yesterday, that he actually began his run. So, does it get “meh” status?

Well, first, let’s back up. In Norse mythology there are nine realms including Asgard, Midgard (Earth), Hel, and six others I can never pronounce. In Thor Vol 3 #2, Thor stuck Asgard in the middle of Broxton, Oklahoma, essentially cramming one realm inside of another. Later, in Siege, Asgard is destroyed by the Sentry. So, yeah, you got the space for nine realms but only eight remaining. Basically, the book revolves around the Asgardians taking on horror vacui (Aristotle’s theory that “nature abhors a vacum”). If Asgard is gone and there is nothing in it’s place, it makes sense that some entity will try to fill it and, being a comic book, chances are pretty good it’s some big evil alien son of a bitch. And it is! Enter the Ano-Athox and Uthana Thoth, a bunch of big red guys who are basically the antithesis of everything the Asgardians stand for.

Everything Matt Fraction writes seems to have the same sort of dialogue and tone in it. While it works well for Iron Man and Power Man (and, I will admit, works well for the Warriors Three), it seems weird having the argument between Thor and Dr. Blake sound just like the bickering between Tony Stark and Maria Hill (doesn’t help that those two ended up doin’ it, either). His plot is very different from any other Thor storyline, though. While Straczynski spent his whole run dealing with the politics of Asgard, the absence of Asgard allows for Fraction to have Thor deal with things a little more identifiable to the modern reader.

Pasqual Ferry’s art is more cartoony than that of Oliver Coipel or Marko Djurdjevic which is actually a good thing. Ferry’s pencils seem more playful than the crisp art of Copiel and Djurdjevic and, well, the change is welcome. It gives more of a fanciful sci-fi twist to the characters and it works.

It’s also worth noting that this issue was lettered by John Workman, who is perhaps most famous for lettering most of Walter Simonson’s Thor run (we at High Five appreciate a good letterer).

Overall, I’d say that Fraction and Ferry’s Thor is worth at least giving a chance. Besides, how long has it been since Thor forgot about Asgard and dealt with a more Simonsonesque out-there style adventure?

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