Current Reviews


Thor: Blood Oath #4

Posted: Friday, December 2, 2005
By: Keith Dallas

Writer: Michael Avon Oeming
Artist: Scott Kolins, Wil Quintana (colors)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

The Story So Far: In a tale from the Thunder God’s earliest days as an immortal super-hero protecting mortal man, The Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg) face judgment at the Althing before an assembly of giants and Norse gods for the unwitting killing of a giant who was disguised as a sea monster. Thor boldly decides to stand by his “brothers” and face judgment with them. The group are challenged to collect five heavily guarded magical items (from different mythologies) or be executed.

Where We’re At Now: Thor and the Warriors Three have collected one magical item and now attempt to retrieve Dionysus’s water-into-wine changing pig which remains in the selfish possession of the inebriated Greek demi-god Hercules.

The third issue ended with Hercules putting Thor in a choke-hold (because drunk Greeks play for keeps), and at the beginning of this fourth issue, Thor’s dire situation gets resolved in a visually stunning credit page. Michael Avon Oeming has done a masterful job of ending each issue with a compelling cliffhanger and of allowing Scott Kolins to present these cliffhangers with glorious, effective spread and splash pages. The end of this fourth issue is no exception. I’ll resist spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it. Suffice to say, we’re about to learn how well Norse gods can perform emergency battlefield surgery. (Maybe Thor has some needle and thread? I’ll state no more.) The point is not if the character will live or die. Again, this is a tale from Thor’s past, and the reader is well aware that neither Thor nor any of the Warriors Three (nor even Hercules) is in any danger of receiving “permanent damage.” But if you’re not startled by the final page predicament, and you’re not eager to read how this will be rectified at the beginning of the next issue, then you’ve just become immune to the staple joys of super-hero serial fiction. Do yourself a favor and start buying jigsaw puzzles or something.

Scott Kolins’s art style is tailor made for a Thor book. He provides an aesthetic that wonderfully conveys the fantastic and the majestic. Thor and Hercules are built like brick outhouses. The Greek gods watching the action from above are regal and imposing. Add to this, Wil Quintana’s stunning color effects: the fluorescence of Thor’s summoned lightning, the fade out of the Greek gods into the clouds, the perfectly blended green hues of the enchanted Celtic land, the explosive flash of the freed Spear of Chulain.

Final Word: Thor: Blood Oath is structured as an Epic; Thor and his brothers must restore their honor through an arduous, seemingly impossible, quest that takes them through Nordic, Greek, Celtic, Egyptian and Far Eastern lands.

The adventure alone should excite any comic book reader, but Oeming also infuses into the narrative an interesting commentary about the harmonious assumptions of both science and mythology. When this idea was introduced in the first issue, I thought it was tangential to the mini-series’ conflict. But since it has been repeated a couple of times over the next three issues, obviously it is essential to it.

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