The quintessential comic book. This is exactly what I’m talking about. While the sumptuous yet sublime artwork by Ronan Cliquet, Amilton Santos and Sotocolor entertain the eyes, Tobin subtly relates a fable that’s crashed by modern sensibilities and judgments. What’s more, he fosters the heroic ideal that I look for in comic books.
Simultaneously, Tobin crafts characterization gems. He brings out humor in Thor, slyness in the Valkyrie — beautifully expressed by the artists through her canary fed cat smile — and a sense of overwhelming justice from the usually happy go-lucky Nova. Furthermore, Tobin redeems the Asgardians as a harsh but fair eternal, alien race, and the entire creative team get a tip of the fedora for the splash page. It’s not the most action-packed, but it’s the most important page in the whole story, and they give it the emotional gravitas it deserves. It’s perfect staging, naturally done.
On a personal note, I like how Tobin reins Valkyrie into the line with her Asgardian heritage. I think he was the first to do this. Before the splendid one-shot by Phil Winslade and the so-called Marvel Architects. In the old Defenders series, Roy Thomas downplayed her ties to Asgard, instead choosing to create a current take on Wonder Woman via the Marvel Universe, but Tobin makes her a demigoddess of Asgard and somebody whom Thor considers a near equal. Of course, Val would like to take him to task for that “near” part. She’s been doing so for epochs.