It amuses me that I have now purchased two Marvel books in a row…but hey, this is a fair and equally weighed and measured process; that’s just what happens sometimes. So, why’d Marvel get my money again this week? Well, I’ve always had a soft spot for Thor as a character. He’s better on his own than as a part of The Avengers and one of my favorite graphic novels is Loki. Granted that doesn’t star Thor, but he plays a major role.
This issue appealed to me on several fronts. First, the issue has an outstanding cover with Thor holding Mjölnir raised about to strike down on a fierce looking dragon. The two are shown perilously falling through the air, Thor on top of the dragon’s up-turned chest.
Second, the issue is written by Paul Jenkins and overall I’ve been a fan of his work for some time now. Lastly, it’s a part four of four and thus far in my time writing OFF THE RACK I haven’t had the chance to read a concluding issue of a mini-series and I thought the change would be interesting.
What I gather from reading the story is that the Heaven & Earth mini-series was most likely all stand-alone stories since this issue made no direct connection to anything that could have come before.
The story begins with two men conversing on a train as it rumbles through the Welsh countryside. The local strikes up a conversation with the American who is writing a travel guide. The local decides to tell the American a tale of times long past of events that transpired in the very area they are passing.
The tale is of a dragon and his actions to defend his lands against invading Norsemen. The trespassers, once faced with a foe far beyond their skill to fight, call upon their gods for assistance.
Everyone shows up.
Now I’m not completely familiar with all the different gods that inhabit the Marvel Thor universe, but I recognized many of them: Thor, Odin, Hermod and Agnar. Some were new to me.
The fight, though it inevitably concludes in Thor’s favor, is not done so by the means you would have expected. And as we are returned to the present and the two conversing men the story gives us yet another twist…one I can honestly say I did not see coming.
Overall Thor: Heaven & Earth issue four receives a solid B+ for having a sold story, really good art and a cool premise mixed with quality marketing from cover to conclusion.
An interesting addition was an eight page back-up story, written by Kevin Smith, in salute to Sept. 11. Definitely worth a read after concluding this issue.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s OFF THE RACK. Check back next Thursday for an all-new review!
This is your Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off.
Store Review: the location Thor: Heaven & Earth was purchased at is called Keith’s Comix, located in Schaumburg on Roselle road. Keith’s Comix just undertook a pretty big expansion and now has a lot more space to allow for a full compliment of New and Current issues, a plethora of Graphic Novels and Collected Editions. The one area I’d say the store is lacking is back issues. But I have confidence that with the expansion starting to take hold this area will grow. Definitely a recommended locale for purchasing your comics.