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Thor: The Mighty Avenger #2

Posted by Luke Brown On July - 31 - 2010

Though one could see the start of a new, less continuity-heavy Thor book as a cheap attempt at cashing in on potential new readers interested in the movie, Thor: The Mighty Avenger is so much more than that. Written by Roger Langridge, who most recently garnered attention for his Muppet Show comic at BOOM!, and drawn by the underrated Chris Samnee, Thor: The Mighty Avenger is a refreshing take on one of Marvel’s biggest guns that’s a great read for both avid and new comic readers.

Written by Roger Langridge
Drawn by Chris Samnee

In the first issue, we were introduced to a young Jane Foster, who works as a museum curator in Oklahoma. The same museum where an oddly armored vagrant tries to smash open a curio case containing some very ancient pottery. The same vagrant who later saves her from being accosted by a monstrous man who calls himself Hyde. After this rescue, Ms. Foster returns to the museum with the vagrant, who then gets his hands on the pot he was so desperately trying to get earlier, and smashes it. Inside of course, is the mystical hammer Mjolnir, which changes the man from a confused miscreant into the mighty Thor. Issue two picks up almost immediately after Thor gets his hammer back, and we find that Thor doesn’t remember how he got to Earth, nor is he as mighty as he once was in Asgard. Something happened between Thor and his father Odin, but the misplaced Norseman can’t remember what or why. A sympathetic Jane offers Thor her couch as a place to stay until he can find a way home in a delightfully charming scene about a woman’s virtue, and in just two issues, Langridge has already made Jane Foster more interesting than she has ever been.

Part of what makes this book such a great read is how it’s put Jane in the spotlight, despite Thor being the titular character. Now obviously the market for a book titled Jane Foster: Friend of Thor isn’t exactly ripe, and I might have been turned off by the misdirect if it wasn’t for Langridge’s excellent characterization. The idea of Thor as the amnesiac lost soul, trying to prove his worth to his father, isn’t terribly new, but combined with a fresh take on his and Ms. Foster’s relationship, the story is able to grow beyond the confines of a typical super-hero story of redemption. Jane’s no longer a replaceable piece of scenery for Thor to interact with. She’s what’s able to keep him grounded. With her help, Thor is going to have to find his place on Earth, and as a smart and strong woman, she’s more than capable of being a shoulder for a god to lean on. Don’t take that to mean Langridge is writing a wimpy Thor because that’s simply not true. This version of Thor just has a bit more self-doubt than the one we’re used to seeing in books like the current Avengers title.

Saying so much of the appeal of this book lies in the writing would be a great disservice to the talents of Chris Samnee. Judging by the first two issues, the smaller, more intimate moments between Jane and Thor are clearly going to take just as much precedence as the action sequences. Though he’s proven on books like Queen and Country, Devil Slayer, and Siege: Embedded that he can handle anything thrown at him, Samnee’s talents shine on nearly every page of Thor: TMA. The way in which he’s able to portray emotion in a character’s face and their body language is quite impressive, and his attention to detail makes Langridge’s script that much stronger. There’s a wonderful moment at the open of this issue where Thor is clearly struggling with the idea that he’s stuck on Earth, and with as simple a gesture as running her fingers through her hair, we’re able to see just how touched and sad Jane really is for Thor. Samnee’s work on the throwdown between Thor and Hyde is just as great, and the splash page where Thor connects his hammer with Hyde’s face says it all. For my money though, the best single panel has Thor reacting to an answering machine for the first time. Samnee captured Thor’s “Should I smash this?” curiosity perfectly, and is just a spot-on representation of the core of the character (at least as he exists in this book).

As a guy who’s always been a fan of Thor, and a huge supporter of comics that are easily accessible to readers of any type, Thor: The Mighty Avenger is a terrific success. With scripting that’s able to present the idea of a god come to Earth in a real and honest way, and art that brilliantly captures the tone of the writing, this book is easily one of the best new series of the year. At the end of this issue, Thor asks Jane to show him something beautiful in this ugly world of ours. A bit taken aback, she simply replies, “Where do I begin?” I’ll answer the question for her. You can begin right here, with this comic.

1 Response so far
  1. Tweets that mention The Quarter Bin » Blog Archive » Thor: The Mighty Avenger #2 -- Said,

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TheQuarterbin, Laura Samnee. Laura Samnee said: Lovely review of Thor: TMA. It feels amazing that Chris's work is getting this kind of reaction. [...]

    Posted on July 31st, 2010 at 4:07 PM

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