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Thor #3 Review

by Charles Martin on July 18, 2018

Thor #3 Review
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike del Mundo
Colour Assists: Marco D'Alfonso
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics

As you already know if you read the solicits or glance at the cover, this issue features a crazy Hela-wedding. And that's exactly where the issue starts, with Loki walking his daughter down the aisle while they trade murderous barbs. 

It's all a patented Ridiculous Loki Scheme, of course. I don't feel too bad spoiling that point because this issue also has a completely unrelated Ridiculous Thor Scheme and a twist ending, neither of which I would dare spoil. The ending is particularly beautiful; it strikes a glorious balance between "holy ☠☠☠☠!" and "aha, that makes perfect sense."

On top of all the schemery, this story also rewinds after the initial wedding scene to fully pay off the Hela-Fenris-Thor-Loki-Tyr-Balder-Karnilla (whew!) fight set up at the end of the last issue. Skurge chooses to sit the conflict out; he's hoping Balder will bite it so he can take possession of Balder's sweet monster truck. (It's writing sentences like that that makes me grateful to be a comics reviewer.)

Back in 1964, when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were personally responsible for producing half of the Marvel comics lineup, you could sometimes see how the creators were conserving their efforts. For instance, Fantastic Four #24 is a dreadfully underwhelming story about the FF battling a space baby. But it was created and published at the same time as Avengers #4, the all-time classic where the team defrosts Captain America just in time for an epic fight with Namor. You could kind of tell that Mr. Lee and Mr. Kirby soft-shoed the former so they could blow the doors off the latter.

I bring this up because Jason Aaron has a lot on his plate right now. And if perhaps some lacklustre plotting and characterization work on the Avengers is the price we pay for getting a comic as sublime as Thor #3, I say we're getting a good deal. 

Beyond the excellent plot developments, this issue gives almost every character at least one golden moment and many folks get to double up. Skurge has more wonderful fatalism in store after sitting out the fight, Thori has at least two brilliant "we love this dog" lines, and man oh man, is it ever a treat to have Thor back in the protagonist's seat. 

Fighting his giant wolf-nephew obliges Thor to take another dip in the deadly Hel-river Gjoll, and his only hope of surviving is thinking Happy Thoughts: fighting, mead, fighting for mead, and so forth. But the tide-turning thought that lets him win the day? The simple statement: "Jane Foster is alive." D'awwww!

We also get a few pages keeping us up-to-date on Sindr's progress in conquering Hel. I'm loving Sindr more with every appearance, and she slots seamlessly into the tapestry of the Ten Realms even though she's an extremely recent invention. Seeing a fire-queen drawn with all the skill Mike del Mundo can muster is certainly impressive.

Speaking of the visuals, they are just a bit faster and looser here than in the last two issues. We're really only talking about one step down from perfection, so it's no great sin - this issue remains relentlessly, almost unbelievably pretty to look at.

I think it's worth taking a moment to appreciate how Mr. Aaron has clearly made a conscious effort to play to Mr. del Mundo's strengths throughout this title. He's dialling back the amount of narration he's using and trusting in the artist's peerless ability to sell dramatic moments with memorable splashes. Mr. Aaron understands that if you're going to cover up art like that with word balloons, you better come correct with your A-game dialogue and narration. With minor exceptions, that's exactly what he does throughout this issue.

Thor #3 offers up a surprise marriage, a seven-way god-fight, schemes galore, brilliant humour, earnest heartstring-pulling, and just a touch of murder! (Gotta keep Thori happy.) This arc is sliding comfortably into place as another "read it, love it, treasure it, enshrine it with the all-time greats" Thor story. This particular issue falls just a tiny step short of total perfection, but the creators have given us every sign that they'll be hitting that mark - repeatedly - before the story is through.

Our Score:

9/10

A Look Inside

Comments

Charles Martin's picture
Sindr's just a store-brand Surtur knockoff and hitching her wagon to Malekith shows a fundamental lack of ambition, yet still, I love her. She's deeply committed to pure scenery-chewing "moo hoo ha ha" villainy in a way that I didn't think a character created in the 2010s could be.