Review: The Mighty Thor #8

Strange things are afoot at the Circle Thor these days.  Like Tanarus: God of Thunder.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

The Mighty Thor #8

So nobody remembers Thor?

I’m beginning to think that nobody at Marvel actually looks at writer Matt Fraction’s work before it goes to press. Thor has fallen through a hole in his side created by a wound suffered in the World Tree, and now everyone believes that Tanarus is the God Of Thunder. The only one who has an inkling that something is out of sorts is Loki and maybe three witches. Meanwhile, Tanarus is really a troll, working for a troll army under the leadership of Karnilla, Queen of The Norns. Finally, Thor is now a teenager and about to be eaten by the Demogorge. Oh, and did I mention that Silver Surfer is now a short order cook?

Nothing going on here is inherently bad, in fact, the ideas are really solid. Thor is gone; the only one who remembers him is a brother who has always hated him. There are witches, god eaters, trolls; this should be the stuff of comic book legend. The problem is that Fraction can’t organize his ideas. First off, Fraction never clearly illustrated that Thor had vanished or that he was replaced with Tanarus. Going back and re-reading the post-Fear Itself issue featuring Thor, the idea is there but it’s not clear. Why wouldn’t a Marvel editor catch that? Fraction also needs to spread this stuff out; he’s concentrated way too much in an issue that jumps off a new story arc.

In The Mighty Thor #8, there’s just too much going on and Fraction can’t keep it together. Loki’s story, the three witches, the trolls, the new Tanarus, Jane Foster, Don Blake, Thor, the All Mothers, etc. Each of these people represent a story thread and, while I'm not expecting pat starts and ends with each issue, there’s no reason for everything to be crammed into issue 8. Start with establishing Thor’s missing, Loki’s realization of something being wrong and then the trolls. Then, in the following issue, deal with Thor’s location and the All Mothers and build from there.

I know I’ve been hard on Matt Fraction and this is why. There are some great ideas here, as with Fear Itself, but no comprehensive storytelling. When Fraction can focus on one thing, such as the war with Galactus, he does a great job. As soon as he has multiple things happening, his eyes get too big and the stories become a mess.  I will say this, Fraction’s new arc, as sloppy as it’s being presented, has held my interest long enough to continue picking the series up. I suppose maybe that’s what Fraction wanted all along.

The art doesn’t help either. This is a dark storyline; it needs solid art, bold lines and a powerful presence. Instead artist Pasqual Ferry’s work is light, almost the illustrations of a fantasy book for children. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking Ferry, but his work isn’t right for this story arc. It’s the same problem that the last run of Aquaman encountered. The last few issues of the final run had a fantasy element and the art followed suit but didn’t work. The same thing holds true here. The Mighty Thor is a book about Norse Gods, war, battles and magical elements mixing with the mortal world. It needs a storyline you don’t need breadcrumbs to follow and art that leaps off the page. In short, it doesn’t need what it currently has.