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Thor #58

Posted: Sunday, January 5, 2003
By: Ray Tate



"Standoff"

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Alan Davis(p), Robin Riggs(i), Dave Kemp(c)
Publisher: Marvel

This issue of Thor kicks off the three-part story teaming up Iron Man, the Thunder God and Captain America against Dr. Doom. In terms of artwork, Alan Davis almost atones for his sin of Killraven. Almost.

While never a fan of the bearded Thor--I feel the same toward him as I do about the short-eared Batman, Mr. Davis makes him an impressive figure. I never gave much thought to Balder the Brave, but here again, Alan Davis illustrates him as a fine, gallant Norse knight. Although I don't know exactly how Sif managed to inhabit Asgard again, Mr. Davis gives consideration to her figure and her prowess as a warrior. I also do not know what the Enchantress is up to or how the heck she became betrothed to Thor, but she looks as slinky as she should look. Alan Davis' Iron Man has a shiny but organic appearance that eschews the awful manga ultra-detail to which he's recently been subjected. So, big improvement.

Whereas Killraven appears to borrow heavily from some sketches Mr. Davis had lying in his portfolio. This project issues vim and vigor as well as originality. The characters in Thor behave as one may expect. Balkan type soldiers act all-ages sleazy. Thor just exudes regality. Enchantress appears to have swallowed a canary, and intriguing shots of Iron Man's mechanical genius accent a clash between flying horses and armory from our age.

"Standoff" is a story one may wish to simply watch rather than read. This is not to say that the story is a complete or even partial failure. It's simply too flawed in which to become rapt. One of the flaws arises from a technical source. The lettering is so precise and lacking a variance in the font that reading the words bores the reader. The letters reveal no personality and lack a natural feel. Thor and the Norse Gods for instance would have read better had they spoken with a more florid or antiquated looking font.

While it makes sense that Thor would seek vengeance for his worshippers, Doom's involvement comes off as contrived. Doom had no hand in the death of Thor's worshippers. While Doom personally has warred against the Marvel heroes, Latveria has never warred against another country. The Thunder God has no reason to enter Latveria. He poses no serious threat to an innocent nation. Doom should also not express this fear even should he feel it. I also have a problem with Doom selling weapons to the corrupt Slovakian army. Maybe this is a personal belief, but Doom is more honorable than the United States.

These caveats are balanced by Iron Man's suspicions. He acts the way I would act given a similar situation--the odds of which happening are astronomical, does not fully grasp the concept of Thor's godhood and asks all the questions I asked while reading:
"And what's with Enchantress hanging around? No offense...but she and trouble are synonymous." Mr. Jurgens also implies disrespect by the Pentagon toward Iron Man now that his identity has been made public. They treat him like an errand boy, and I have to agree that this is indeed how they would have treated him. Never however had his identity remained secret. Iron Man can be very intimidating. Knowing his name gives the opposing party power. Perhaps, Mr. Jurgens should take a crack at writing Iron Man when Thor starts to bore him not that it looks like that will happen anytime soon.



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