Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review # 136: "The Mighty Thor by Walter Simonson Vol. 5"

With Walt Simonson's deep respect of Thor's mythological history, there really is only one way to conclude his time with the title: by adapting the prophecy of Thor's own destruction.

Hinted at through much of his run, the God of Thunder is destined to fall in battle to the Midgard Serpent. Thanks to a spell by Hela which grants Thor eternal life, but with brittle bones. Thor employs some Asgardian armour (check out that awesome design on the cover!) but he is in rough shape when the time to fight comes. Not helping is Loki, who tricks his half-brother into going easy on the Absorbing Man and also sets the Serpent's appearance in motion. The arrival of the mythical creature is a bit... unusual, through the guise of Fin Fang Foom. The scenes in which the Serpent is disguised are quirky. Almost funny.

But then the battle is on as Simonson - for one issue only - takes the pencils back from Sal Buscema. The fight between Thor and the Serpent is shown in full-page spreads from start to finish, almost unheard of at the time. Seeing a comic from the 80's drawn this way is eyecatching and does wonders for emphasizing the magnitude of the situation. It's one of the most epic one-on-one fights I've ever seen in print.

From there we get the grand finale as Thor finally goes head-to-head with Hela, taking out frustrations that had been growing steadily for years in real-time, and wrapping Simonson's run up in a neat little package. All this and Loki finally gets his.

What a masterpiece this run is. From the debut of Malekith to the Surtur Saga to Lorelei to the Executioner's last stand to Balder the Brave to Frog Thor to the battle with the Serpent, the number of quality stories during Simonson's time with the title is insane. As much as Lee and Kirby on "Fantastic Four," Claremont and Byrne on "X-Men," and Miller and Janson on "Daredevil," "Thor" by Walt Simonson deserves a spot as one of the greatest creative sagas in the history of Marvel Comics.

Rating: 9/10

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