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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tales From the Library! - Thor: Ages of Thunder HC

And now, it’s time to show a wee bit of fondness towards Thor. I’ve said it before, but I might as well say it again. I’m not a big fan of Thor. He does have his cool points, but I really haven’t gravitated towards his books. I like it more when he’s in a team setting. So in saying that, why am I talking about a hardcover featuring Thor? A couple of years ago, I picked up this HC at the library because I simply hadn’t read it. I remember liking it when I first read it. Since I did it with Iron Man, I might as well do it with Thor.

Thor: Ages of Thunder contains a series of one-shots that looks at Asgard at various points in its past. The one-shots were Thor: Ages of Thunder, Thor: Reign of Blood, and Thor: Man of War. It also contains a one-shot special called the Thor God-Size Special. It takes place in Marvel’s current continuity. All of them were written by Matt Fraction. I think I’m catching a trend with this Fraction guy. The HC houses a crapload of artists that include artists like Patrick Zircher, Khari Evans, Doug Braithwaite, and Mike Allred. 

The series of one-shots look at Asgard in its distant past. It basically gives a mythological look at the Asgardians. While it looks at characters like Loki, The Enchantress, and Odin, it mainly looks at Thor. Since this is before his time on Earth, this is not a nice Thor. In fact, all of these Norse gods are pretty much complete d-bags. It makes most of the stories a little tough to read since they’re all pretty much unlikable. I’ve never read any Norse mythology, so I don’t know if Fraction adapted those myths or not. 
So this is where Santa got the idea for his sled!

We get a lot of fighting. Thor tears through most of the inhabitants of the nine worlds. He especially tears through the Frost Giants. As I said before, this isn’t the nice Thor. After an incident on Earth (Loki helped seed it), Thor basically goes on a rampage in the Nine Realms. Towards the end, we even see him go up against another powerful force: his own father. Yeah, Thor’s a bit of a butthead here, but that’s a part of his origin. Odin sent him to Earth to learn humility and humbleness which are two things we see in the God Size Special.
You know, it would have been interesting to see Anthony Hopkins throw down with Chris Hemsworth.

In the God Size Special, Thor, Balder, and a female Loki (I didn't get it either) have conflicting memories on a dead Asgardian named Skurge the Executioner. All I know about the guy is that he tends to hang around the Enchantress and he has a big axe. For some reason, he and other Asgardians were sporting machine guns. Anyway, they head on a journey in order to find out about who Skurge really was. They go through most of the Nine Realms in order to find out who messed with their memories. They find out about the cause: Enchantress is trying to bring Skurge back to life. Since her spell is destroying reality, Thor reluctantly puts a stop to it.
An Asgardian that uses machine guns? That's up there with "What does God need with a starship!"
  
While I’m not a big fan of Thor’s world, I have to say that I enjoyed the HC. The stories were well told and the dialogue is well-written. Everything in the caption boxes felt like you needed someone like David Wendham (Dillios from 300) to read it. While the characters in the first three one-shots are pretty unlikable, they’re interesting to read. The God-Size Special was also pretty good. It’s also well-written and had a nice, sad story. I think I enjoyed the special more since it takes place in the current continuity. Plus, Thor is more likable in that story.

The artwork in the three one-shots is pretty good for the most part.  While there are a lot of artists, the transition is fine. Since we’re seeing different time periods, the transitions work here. We get a lot of big, epic panels of Thor laying waste to his foes. Those scenes definitely needed some epic heavy metal to follow them. The smaller, quiet moments are well done too. The artwork in the God-Size Special is pretty good, but the art in its last part didn’t look really appealing. I don’t know if colors or the inking because it was definitely the worst art of the whole book.
Why was Loki a woman for a while anyway?

Overall, I thought this was a fine read. While Norse mythology isn’t my interest, the stories and the art made it a good one to read. Also, I'd throw on some heavy metal during the fight scenes. Well, it’s time to move on to something about that dude with the mighty shield. Until then, Peace, God bless, and don’t be a butthead.

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