After enjoying last issue a surprising amount, I promised I’d give this one a look too. And here we are.
Thor #8 proves to me that the previous issue was no one-off. The second of a two-part story sees Thor and Odin discuss what is to become of Odin now that Thor is running Asgard. Mixed in with the flashback, we see the story of how Loki came to be Odin’s son, explained in a new light that builds on the original myth in an entirely valid way.
Odin’s eventual plight – locked in eternal combat with Surtur, in which they both die of their wounds and then heal to fight again the next day – is appropriately mythic in scale, and feels almost as if it could have been taken from genuine Norse myth itself. I get the feeling Straczynski is setting up Odin’s situation now just so that we can be sure he’s off the board for the rest of the run – and likewise, so that he can pluck Odin out of the machine when the time comes for him to leave the title.
Meanwhile, Don Blake goes looking for Lady Sif’s Earth-bound Essence, crossing paths with Jane Foster, who he thinks might have some connection. It’s here that Straczynski displays some of the more painful characteristics that I dislike about his writing – after all, the idea that Jane Foster would leave her family and husband just because she heard that Don Blake was back “alive” is a fairly poor suggestion whatever way you look at it. JMS might think it an appropriately grand gesture, but it’s just incredibly distasteful and doesn’t put the character in a good light at all.
Even so, when he’s concentrating on the Asgardian side of things, JMS does appear to have found a voice for Thor that entertains me. I’m as surprised as you are. It’s certainly helped by Djurdjevic’s artwork – the man seems to have suddenly emerged as one of the industry’s top artists, and deservedly so. He’s clearly got a massive range, and in particular his facial expressions have amazing nuance. Marvel would do well to keep him around as much as possible, though in an ideal world, I’d love to see him partner with Brian Wood on Northlanders series and really cut loose on the Norse side of things.
After checking these issues out, I can conclude that Thor is deservedly one of Marvel’s top-selling books, and I’d have to encourage anyone on the fence to at least give it a go. A breath of fresh air for the character and creator.