Thursday, July 08, 2010

Thor The Mighty Avenger #1 – A Review

Thor The Mighty Avenger #1

Publisher Marvel

Writer Roger Langridge

Art Chris Samnee

Colors Matthew Wilson

Format 22 Pages of Story and Art

Price Point $2.99

I love when a book is exactly what I expected and even exceeds my expectations. Thor The Mighty Avenger #1 was a beautiful book.

This book hits all the right bases. Number one it does not have what I would call generic super hero artwork. Chris Samnee has a great touch to his style that I would call somewhere between Darwyn Cooke and Mike Mignola. It is a light lined work when needed, spots blacks well, it has great page designs and the book flows with the greatest of ease. Chris conveys the story so well that with his expressions and body language that the dialogue and captions are almost superfluous. The action scenes are great; the quiet moments work well all in all a fantastic job by the artist. I have enjoyed Chris work on The Mighty and Area 10, but this certainly ranks up there as some of his best work.

I would be remiss if I did not talk about the colorist because a botched coloring job can kill a book and considering this is a super hero title, colorist Matthew Wilson did a bang up job. He keeps a muted tone, but does not go too dark as to make this book into a noir style. All the bright super hero colors are here at times but toned down. His work enhances Chris’ work and allows it shine. Again I’m not a colorist and know little about the process, but muting the tones and still getting it right I would think would be hard. Allowing the artwork to show through is probably harder then covering artist’s mistakes. This collaboration worked to perfection.

The story itself by Roger Langridge was also a winner. For lack of a better characterization this is an indie version of Thor. It reads so well and conveys so much that it truly was a breath of fresh air for a super hero book. The story starts simply with Jane Foster awakening to a storm and looking out her window seeing a Rainbow Bridge. The next morning at her job at the museum she finds out she is being offered the job as a department head as the prior person just recently disappeared and he was an expert on Nordic history.

A man dressed as Thor shows up at the museum using a walking stick to pound on a display case. Jane runs out and helps to quiet what is assumed to be a bum. The guards escort him out of the museum. Later Jane encounters Thor again and helps him to the museum after he has fought Mr. Hyde at Volstaff’s bar. Thor breaks open an urn and is now in full Nordic god mode.
There is a lot more then this brief synopsis and there are tons of many too perfect coincidences that I’m sure will be explained as the series progress. In fact those little story elements appear to be planting seeds for what I hope is a long run for this series.

What this issue did perfectly was evoke the classic Thor from his early beginnings and yet maintain a modern tone. We are already invested in at least Jane Foster and Thor and have a passing interest in Jane’s ex-boy friend and Mr. Hyde. Another bonus, it was a new Marvel #1 for only $3 and since it is a new Thor and a new continuity we did not need 15 pages of eight point font type explaining the history of the character.

Overall Grade A – Thor The Mighty Avenger – A modern age intelligent classic the evokes all of the charm of the silver age.


  1. I knew it was a long shot for me getting to review this book before you, still you captured most of my thoughts on the book. Although, I would've given it an A+. I was trying to think of other art that seemed similar to Samnee's style and all I could think of was David Mazzucchelli on Batman: Year One.

    Jane is such a real character already and the scene where she looks at the unused portion of her bed spoke volumes. I also liked how Thor was willing to get beat to death just to save someone from Hyde's creepy advances. The dialogue between Jane and her Ex was great too.

    You call this an indie book, but ironically it's really a "kiddie" book. Just look at the house ads in the back. They're all from the restarted Marvel Adventures line. The "Marvel Super Heroes" book may become a post topic of mine in the future as it's a really great book too (Although it's a different Universe -- different Thor). It was wise to downplay the "Adventures" aspect. Really, this is how I like to see books. It's accessible to everyone, but it still deals with more mature themes with a code-approved sensibility -- just like the good old days.

  2. Matthew - I know it could be call a "kiddie" book also because on the surface you could say it was simplistic, but this book actually has layers to it that are amazing. It is a book that, at least for issue #1, defies categorization.