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Review of Thor 10 (4 stars) August 5, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After four straight issues of a 4.5 rating, Thor 10 takes a quick break from “insane awesomeness.” While this issue may have been a tad bit slower than the last few, it still provided for a very entertaining read. Before I dive into the specifics of the story, I need to point out what may or may not be a significant clue. Throughout the entire first page, every panel features the same sparrow traveling along. The last time JMS did something similar to this was the bird that was seen throughout One More Day that turned out to be Mephisto. Now I’m not saying that this bird is Mephisto, especially because he wasn’t a sparrow in OMD (and I certainly hope JMS doesn’t use Mephisto any more, as far as I’m concerned, I’d be happy to never see that character again), but unless he randomly wanted Coipel to show a bird, this could be significant. It can’t be Loki either as she is later seen in Asgard in the same scene. So I really don’t know what to think. Anyone else out there have any ideas/theories?

Anyway, moving on, Balder at first is in disbelief at Loki’s statement of his true heritage, but as Loki relates the story we learn that Balder’s mother, Frigga, won the affections of Odin at a feast. When she bore him a son, this should have been a time of celebration, but because Odin had been fraught with ill-omened dreams, he decided to seek answers. On his quest, he learns (after accidentally causing the birth of vampires, of all things!) that Balder will assure the continuance of Asgard and Odin’s line as long as he always dies during Ragnarok, but if he is killed before Ragnarok, then Asgard will be lost and Odin’s line broken. Of course, Odin then decided to keep Balder’s true nature a secret to protect both Balder and Asgard.

As Loki surely hoped, this leads to a confrontation between Balder and Thor when Balder wishes to know why he was not told the truth when Ragnarok was no longer possible. Thor, failing to find a sufficient answer, asks forgiveness and assures Balder that everything was done with his best interest in mind. While Balder forgives him, this has likely driven a small wedge into their relationship, which I’m assuming was Loki’s original intent. Whatever her plan is, she also “tricks” Thor into telling everyone about Balder’s true nature by throwing a celebration to recognize his heritage. I’m guessing that Loki’s plan will likely involve usurping Thor’s throne. One, because she has presented a second heir, and two, she has been sowing seeds of doubt amongst the Asgardians of Thor’s leadership capabilities. How far away can a coup be, I wonder? Loki’s plan may be slowly building, but I am more than content to wait and see all the little facets develop.

-LOTRKing

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Review of Thor 9 (4.5 stars) June 3, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews, L O S T.
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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Despite this being a mainly supporting cast issue, this might be the best one so far. This isn’t to say that Thor’s friends are more interesting than him, quite the contrary, rather that JMS’ writing is so strong that he can produce a spectacular issue even without his title character. In fact, the opening panel shows Thor just as he is leaving (perhaps to make his appearance in Invincible Iron Man 2 😉 ) and Loki approaches Balder. Balder, like most of Asgard, still does not trust Loki and he does his best to ignore her, but like any good fantasy villain, her treachery comes not from her powers or strength, but her venomous words that poison our heroes be degrees. Of course, there are some that see right through her trickery, as Fandral rejects her words with a witty remark.

Eventually, Balder sees some wisdom (though false) in her words, and goes to engage some loose Frost Giants that Loki has notified him about. (Of course, said Frost Giants are actually working for Loki.) Next, we get a lot of humor as “Little Bill” finally decides to take Kelda up on her offer to visit Asgard. I’m not sure what cracked me up more, Bill’s attempt at his “floral delivery,” or the Asgardians’ attempts to understand basketball. Nonetheless, JMS provides us with more of the society-clashing hilarity that I have come to love from this book.

Finally, we see the ramifications of Balder’s and Loki’s Frost Giant battle, as the authorities intervene and laws of the gods clash with the laws of men. Eventually it takes Thor to clear everything up with the “mortals,” as he states his displeasure with Balder’s hastiness and reminds him that the laws of mortals must be better understood before there are major interactions with their world. Of course, Balder hears more excuse to take away his supposed freedom, and therefore is more inclined to believe Loki. At the end, we get a big reveal as Loki informs Balder that he is really the son of Odin and half-brother of Thor, and has just as much right to the throne. All I can say is that Loki is one talented schemer. JMS excels at giving this series a classical mythological feel while maintaining the elements of a modern day superhero comic, and most importantly, being downright entertaining. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: anyone who is not already reading this series needs to at least look into it, as this is quite possibly Marvel’s best ongoing. (Also, apologies if this post sounds somewhat less coherent than normal, I am very tired as I write this.)

-LOTRKing