Friday, June 19, 2015

YALSA top ten GNs 2012: Thor: The Mighty Avenger

Thor: The Mighty Avenger (Volumes 1-2) 
Written by Roger Langridge. Illustrated by Chris Samnee
Published by Marvel (Volume 1, 2010; Volume 2, 2011)

So first, a confession. I didn't actually reading the two volumes that were placed on the YALSA list from this year. Instead I read Thor: The Mighty Avenger: The Complete Collection published in 2013. It has all 8 issues of Thor: The Mighty Avenger (plus the Free Comic Book Day story), but doesn't include the old Journey into Mystery issues (#83-86) that are included in the original collections. I'm pretty sure their inclusion didn't affect these books making it onto this list, but feel free to say otherwise.

Despite all the positive things I'd heard about this book, I went in with low expectations (though why I felt that way I couldn't really tell you). Maybe I'd just read too many YALSA top ten books that I didn't really care for (it looks like I've disliked, the last five I reviewed for this site). However, I was pleasantly surprised. This book is really cute and fun! It is, to my surprise, much more romantic than I would have thought a Thor comic would be. Jane Foster (that's her on the cover up above) works in a museum, and ends up helping Thor when she thinks he's a hobo (with a heart of gold). Soon he's sleeping on her couch and there's an amount of crushes and flirting and stuff that is sweet without it making me completely uninterested.

That's not to say it's not a superhero comic. While it's not set in any version of the Marvel Universe that exists anywhere else (that I know of) characters like Iron Man, Namor, and Captain Britain show up, and Thor fights robots and super villains and giant sea monsters. So it's pretty typical in that regard, but I also found it more enjoyable than a lot of the superhero comics I read.

Chris Samnee is an artist a lot of people really like (he won an Eisner award for his work on this series), but the limited stuff by him that I've read hasn't really clicked for me. In this book I can definitely see why people enjoy his work, as a lot of the art is great! But then the next panel will just be unappealing to me for some reason I can't put my finger on (the inking style? The width of the lines?). I wonder if it might be something to do with the way the line work interacts with the colours. The colours (by Matthew Wilson) are generally really good, though as with pretty much all modern books the colours are far more than just flat colours, but are used to give depth, hightlight physical features, and more. I wish I could see some of the original black and white line work and compare the two to see where my problem comes from. Regardless of my feelings, you do at least get to see Thor wearing an apron after cooking a meal.

The most frustrating thing about this series is the fact that it doesn't actually end. Apparently it was intended to be a 12 issues series, but it was cancelled after issue eight, leaving readers to wonder who the mysterious Mr. K was, why Thor got banished to Earth, and other questions. The only thing we do know (based on the sketches in the back) is that Hulk was going to show up. The series was successful enough in collected form that it got reprinted, so it's too bad Marvel didn't put out a four issue miniseries to wrap things up.

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