Marvel offers up a modern day revision of the classic Thor origin.
You know that a character is receiving a major company push when his or her face is plastered on to a multitude of comics flooding the market. Unless you've been hiding under a rock you are no doubt aware that come Spring 2011, the Norse God of Thunder will be the star of his own major feature film. In order to drum up even further interest Marvel Comics has seemingly given the green light to every Thor project imaginable to get Goldilocks even more attention with the hopes of piquing the interest of the casual consumer and further whetting the appetites of the rabid fan boys.
Thor - First Thunder in its most simplest form is a modern updating of his origin story that was told in the golden age classic Journey Into Mystery #83 by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber. Adding a little perspective to the update is writer Bryan J.L. Glass and artist Tan Eng Huat, who provide a pretty straight forward retelling while also infusing a bit of today's comic book storytelling and ideals. So, the big question is whetherThor - First Thunder worth the price of admission or not.
Well for starters, unless you are new to the character or have a casual interest in him than nothing in this book will be something new to you. This is essentially a story that we have read countless times before in its different iterations. The basic plot is Dr. Donald Blake, whilst in Norway, encounters some aliens who chase him. He finds an oddly placed wooden stick in a cave and upon striking the cane to the earth is magically transformed into the Norse God Thor. As expected you get all of that covered here as well as the ever persistent pain in Thor's ass, his half-brother Loki.
Glass does a somewhat serviceable job with the plotting and dialogue though there are some instances where the story seems very choppy. On the positive side Glass incorporates Korg the Kronan from the The Incredible Hulk - Planet Hulk story into the initial alien encounter with Thor as was depicted back in that series. He also allows the reader a little insight of the duality of the Thor and Don Blake personality. I am a fan of Glass' work on Mice Templar which I found to be a fun and magical book. Yet here on Thor it almost feels like his hand was forced into telling a story that he truly was mandated to tell.
The biggest problem with this book is the Tang art. Yes, Blake has a bum leg but did anyone get a glance at that twig leg Tang gave Blake? It was just honestly atrocious. His character models all suffered from disproportioned anatomies and it gave the book an uneasy feel. Granted it wasn't a total loss but the inconsistencies were too obvious to overlook and not distract from the story itself. If Huat could have tightened up the pencils it may have been fairly adequate. Perhaps though it is merely a matter of a certain style not fitting the subject matter.
When you take all of this into consideration and weigh the pros and cons you come to the realization that this is below average book whose sole existence is merited exclusively by the fact that Marvel is merely trying to ramp up more attention to their upcoming big budget film. I can't condemn them in that regard because this is a business and you need to put your product out there. However they should have used their resources to allow them to create a better product that would have been better suited to the creators involved and would have given the readers more than just a bland retelling of an origin story. As it stands I don't know if there is enough substantial material to warrant sticking around for the remaining four issues.
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