Comic Review…Thor God of Thunder issues 1-12

First of all, I want to say that I am generally into religiously themed comics.

They generally, probably should offend me.  But they usually don’t.  Why?  BECAUSE THEY ARE JUST COMICS, PEOPLE!  

I have a history of reading Ghost Rider, Spawn, and yes Thor.  All religion themed books.  Spawn is especially demonic in theme, and yet I was almost never close to be offended.  I didn’t like all of it.  But it didn’t offend me.  (I haven’t been reading any Spawn since “Endgame.”)

But Thor is different, because of how close much of the language comes to the actual way in which I personally worship God.

There are times in the “Godbutcher / Godbomb” story where I got pretty close to offended.  Close.  But then I remembered.  IT”S ONLY COMICS!

That pre-qualifier said.  That disclaimer delivered.  On with my thoughts.  

Oh Yeah.  LOTS OF SPOILERS AHEAD

I started reading “Godbutcher” when Marvel said.  “Ok.  DC has the New 52 and the Joker chopped off his face and he’s back now.  IDW is scoring zillions of ratings points with the nerds.  We need to reboot.  Or at least look like we are.”  So they started their Marvel NOW! campaign to get our attention, killed Peter Parker.  Oh yeah.  On the sidelines, Thor got a new book.  Thor, God of Thunder.  With a title like that, we expect to get to know Thor, and how he thinks, and why.  AND we expect to learn a lot about his history and stuff like that.

I was sort of “eh….” about the cover art.  But over time, I began to appreciate it.  A kind of watercolor matte look.  The inside art is fine, with muted colors, but plain figures over all.  And there was a cool AR feature…You scan an AR panel with your phone and get to see the page come to life, hopefully….Maybe it won’t just be a commercial…or a rant from the writer or artist….(It usually was these last two.)  (Actually, I just checked.  The AR panels don’t work anymore at all…except for the ads….:(   )

“Godbutcher” begins with young viking god Thor finding a god’s head washing up on the shore, a native American god at that.  It continues with with Thor the Avenger of the present day finding a civilization that has no gods.  Shocking.  Upon investigating, he finds the planet’s gods all murdered and dismembered.  Their “godflesh” rotting slowly.  This scene should now terrify us.  Gods are supposed to be immortal!  But here we see that someone can kill them.  Something attacks the avenger…A Black Berserker.  It isn’t long before we know it is Gorr the Godbutcher who is slaying gods…And we see future Old Man Thor, the All-Father beaten into hopelessness by Gorr.

I like the way the story goes from young Viking Thor, who uses an axe instead of a hammer, Thor the Avenger, the one that we know best, and future Thor, Odin’s replacement.  This was a grand way of showing us who Thor was, is, and will be, if not confusing at times.  It also shows us that this story could have been revealed VERY slowly.  Over an entire title run.  But the writers showed us this grand story the way they did in a masterful way that makes sense if you are a persistent reader.

(I will take a brief moment to exclaim, this way of showing Thor is not unlike what we see in Conan the Barbarian stories, where he is young, mid-age adult, and eventually king.  Being a fan of the Barbarian, I see a good influence of him on the way Thor is presented to us.)

As the story of the Godbutcher goes on, we see old man Thor defeated over and over by Gorr’s minions.  Thor is the final god, saved for Gorr to kill last.  In the young Thor and Avenger Thor’s stories, we see how Thor is the one that got away from the killer.  This is why he toys with Thor as an old man.

This villain, Gorr, is a truly evil killer.  His weapon channels black energy into it’s target.  It works similarly to a Green Lantern ring in DC or the Symbiote costume for Venom…creating constructs that allow him to fly, makes swords, ropes, and whips, and more.  And when a god is attacked with the weapon, it takes something from them.  Also, the Black Berserkers are constructs of this weapon.  So we see (As Thor remarks in book  2,) Gorr has grown very powerful.

Speaking of Book 2, we get our first taste of combat between Gorr and Thor.  The young Thor utterly loses.  I like the dialogue.  Gorr says, basically “What are you the god of…poetry?”  Thor just says “Thunder,” and a bolt of lighting hits Gorr!

Book 3 is cool because we see Avenger Thor bringing up his guilt complex.  He tells Iron Man that he feels guilty because he did not kill Gorr one thousand years earlier.  And that summarizes it, pretty much.  Thor sees many more dead gods from different worlds.  This story gets more convoluted, as the three different aged Thors are having similar thoughts, and the panels switch one to another quite a bit.  Oh.  And book 3.  Old King Thor is still getting beaten up.

Book four is where I start to get a little offended.  Just a little.  Old King Thor sits on his throne, last of all gods.  In other words, the only god left.  He talks about how he has seen everyone and everything he loved killed.  He is surrounded by those Black Berserkers.  And he seems so powerless and hopeless.  The language here is nihilistic.  “Gorr won’t just let me die…” etc.  The idea of one god being powerless, is abhorrent to me.  Then I remember.  IT’S JUST COMICS.

And we could have seen where this was going.  To somewhere that time-travel can take place.  Chronux, city of the time gods.

Essentially, from this point we see Gorr’s plan coming together.  I think I have it figured out…Then I don’t.  Gorr goes back in time to the early universe, where he sees a baby god sitting and making beings out of clay.  We assume this is a god from Gorr’s own pantheon…He kills this god.  My thought was, “He’s killing all gods by killing this one.”  But nope.  That would be too simple I suppose.  Gor brings back the giant gods heart…He is going to use it as the core of a weapon that will kill all gods at all times.

Along the way, during the time-travel part of this adventure, Avenger Thor manages to rescue Old Man Thor.  The two of them fail to stop Gorr.

Issue six was a break from the larger story…a telling of Gorr’s origin.  Basically, Gorr came to curse the gods his people were devoted to.  His world was dry as a bone, and people were suffering.  His family was all killed off, and offerings, prayers, etc to their gods resulted in nothing.  Finally, as Gorr begins blaspheming, he is exiled.  In his banishment, he sees two gods in battle.  They nearly kill one another.  The “good guy” god begs for Gorr to help him.  Instead, he steals the “bad guy’s” weapon and kills him.  This is the origin of Gorr and his weapon, which we learn later is called “The Anihilablade.”  This issue introduces us to Gorr’s son as well, leaving us scratching our heads….

When I set out to read these stories, I thought they would be a smaller story arc.  Instead, it looks like Marvel roped us into eleven issues total.  Luckily, I enjoyed the book.  Unluckily it seemed that this book had an inconsistent release schedule.  It was like issue after issue came at once, then there was a lull of like six weeks….

The second part of the story is called “Godbomb.”  With the ability to control time, Gorr has gathered gods from all corners of the universe and kept them as slaves to build a bomb that will make their “species” extinct all through the ages of time.  Gorr is making himself into a god, styled after the gods that drove him to become what he is.  But he refuses to admit this to himself.  He also does other things, including giving the slaves the seventh day off, and crucifying gods who try to rebel.  (Here is some of where I got offended.  ITS JUST COMICS.  Whew.  Got that over.)  Viking Thor is among these slave gods, and when he arrives on the planet where the bomb is being built, right away he takes action and manages to escape and meet up with the other two Thors.

This story moves a little faster than the first arc, because we are not jumping around in time.  All three Thors are on the same timeline.  Which is what it would take to bring down Gorr and his plan.  We also see that the Black Bersekers are now a mighty army, and Gorr not only has a son, but also a wife.  These two are hopeful that Gorr’s dream of a godless universe will come about.

What happens basically is that the Thor’s fail.  The bomb explodes, killing ages of gods, past present, and future.

But…Thor the Avenger takes a last desperate breath, grabs his future hammer, and goes into the exploding bomb, absorbing the blast into both Mjolnir hammers.  In doing so, he also steals Gorr’s weapon.  We find out that Gorr’s wife and child were just constructs as well.  And then Viking Thor chops off his head.

I also like the follow up one-shot.  Issue 12 shows the three Thor’s returning to their proper time, forgetting all about their future adventure.

Analysis.

Gorr the Godbutcher represents humanism and agnosticism.  Both viewpoints either deny the necessity of God or deny that we are of concern to him.  Gorr is someone who lost his faith after being burned over and over, having prayers unanswered while devotion was religiously given.  He took action in the most negative way possible.  (Otherwise he wouldn’t have been a villain, right…)

Thor is seen as an evolution of Western religion.  His barbarian self represents what gods were like in early pagan times.  His Avenger self represents the active and visible religions of the world.  (I like how issue 12 portrays Thor!)  Then the All-Father Thor represents that far off and untouchable-ness people often sense from God.

So Thor and Gorr are philosophical opposites.  And in the end, Gorr had no hope.  All of his hope was in himself and his efforts.  And religion won out, living it’s legacy after the god butchers was more or less erased from history….

Hmmm….deep.

My Rating.

I rate this story arc as a 4/5.

I took a point because the story starts to ramble a bit.  I wish it were one of two things.  Either a story spread over a 100 issue series, or a lot shorter…Maybe only six books long.  Instead, we got eleven books and a twelfth book chaser.  Think.  This is a YEAR WORTH OF READING.

But it kept me interested.  I kept buying.  The high idea of the story, Humanism vs Religion as a slasher story, was very entertaining.  The art has its own style, and I am glad to see that Marvel is still printing letters at the back of almost every book.

10 Print "Best things in DC New 52, 2013" (SpartanNerd’s top 10 list)

10 PRINT “Villains Month”  I haven’t read one of these that I haven’t enjoyed  (I can be disappointed and annoyed sometimes, but still enjoy comics)   And the cool 3D covers were also very nice, though it wasn’t “revolutionary” as originally billed.  I haven’t read all of the ones I bought yet!  Darkseid’s origin was cool, and different.  Killer Croc looks like he has a bright future…Bizarro was cool.  The Joker’s was odd…  And Doomsday was sort of disappointing.  But overall, these were pretty good.



20 PRINT “Batman:  Riddler #1” Among the best of Villains Month.  The Riddler is my favorite Bat-villain, next to the Joker.  And we haven’t seen much of him in the New 52.  But he is showing up in the whole “Zero Year” story, and this villains month title served as a good companion to that.  Also, I like the premise.  He takes out the whole prison, to climb to the top and play Solitaire!

30 PRINT “Masters of the Universe Annual:  The Origin of HORDAK…” Read SpartanNerd Sundays for some thoughts on this one.

40 PRINT “Justice League #12”  Lois Lane who?  Seriously.  It should be nice if they keep these two together for a long time.  Make people think of them as an item, as inseparable as Lois and Clark.  Then do something to rip them apart.  Maybe in five years or so, Supes can sell his marriage…(let’s not go there……)

50 Print “Batman and Robin Catwoman #22″  This was a positive story, ending with the two of them rescuing a little girl and swinging off with her to safety.  To me, an emotional ending for some reason!  Later (in other places), there is news that Catwoman may be the next Robin, called “Catbird,” however this might be some sort of alternate universe story or something.  (The next big things are called Gothtopia and Batman:Eternal)

60 PRINT “Justice League of America #2” VIBE:  “Hawkman, you’re covered in blood!” HAWKMAN: “It’s not MY blood!”  Best joke of the year!

70 PRINT “Zero Year”  Everyone got a re-start for the New 52, except for the Bat Family.  They just got a soft reboot.  Batman’s origin, at least the part about Thomas and Martha being murdered in front of him, has been told several times, almost ad nauseum.  BUT exactly how that translated into a guy dressed as a bat beating the tar out of criminals HAS NOT been explored in comics, as far as I know, ever.  So we are getting a big “Batman Begins” type of story.  We also got to see the Red Hood dropped in acid at the Ace Chemical plant…  The teaser line “And wait until you see who the Red Hood Really is, hasn’t really been resolved yet.  So I suppose we’ll see that in the coming year!  Throughout these books, we get to see little hints at Bat-stuff we are already familiar with.  The Studebaker, the “R” insignia on Bruce’s hat, the grappling gun, the batarang.  On and on.

Batman #24 was an 80-page value!

80 PRINT “Detective Comics #19”  This cheapskate was quite happy with this value!  The oversized eighty pager was not even figured into the price of the subscription, apparently!  The subscription also paid off in the fact that the Back-up stories, starting around the time of this book, all focused on Man-Bat, and so it was like we got a whole other story arc!

Another 80 pager!

90 PRINT  “Suicide Squad #14 and 15”  The dynamic between the Joker and Harley Quinn is just awesome!  Harley was a character that I largely didn’t care much for from past experiences of watching the Batman animated series from the 1990’s.  What they are doing with Harley Quinn now is over-the-top.  I don’t plan on reading any of her new series, I haven’t cared for the art on the adverts, but she moved up the ladder on my unwritten list of characters, I tell you that!  I read these over and over!

100 Print “Death of the Family”  What really got me hooked on these stories?  Right after the FlashPoint.  Detective Comics #1.  We see the plot resolved here.  DC made us wait a year, and then WHAM!  This awesome story didn’t disappoint!  I have almost every book from the series, and have read them all twice, as well as let SpartanSmurf #1 read them.  He hasn’t finished yet…But it is good to let him in on that grown-up type story action.  Also, I came to like Batgirl a lot more, as well as Harley Quinn.  And we get one of our final issues with Damian as Robin, and it was one of the creepiest stories of the bunch!

Could I do an honorable mention?  Trinity War\Forever Evil has been gripping!  Can’t wait to see what happens there!


Pandora #1, #2, and #3 comics review

When I signed up at the Tangled Web to get most of the Justice League Trinity War crossover stories, I hesitated on a couple of titles….One was Pandora,  I’m glad I went ahead and ordered it

!

Pandora was first introduced to us back in the first few issues of Justice League as their backup stories.  I spent my time scratching my head….Who was this, and why did I care?  Remember, I was new to DC, pretty much.  Then things got worse with Justice League, showcasing Cheezeball Shazam each month.

It’s a good thing I have been reading the JLA stories as well….There are a lot of tie-ins.

The puzzle of Pandora is why I hesitated….But she has turned out to be a really cool character.  She is an immortal, an idea that I did not know about, but apparently there are more immortals out there in the DC universe.

So Pandora feels she needs to open the box.  In this story, Pandora’s Box appears to be an alien skull, covered in gold and bearing a third eye in the middle of its head.

The box seems to possess people who touch it, and they turn evil, but it wears off after they drop the box.  People as “good” as Superman and Wonder Woman.  On the other hand, it makes Vandal Savage (another immortal) remorseful….to the point of crying.

Without giving away too many plot points, Pandora is on a quest to kill the seven deadly sins, who are spirits guiding humanity in evil throughout history.  For thousands of years, she’s not been able to slay them.  Not even hurt them.  And they call her mother, which has to be bad.

One cool thing she is doing is having a weapons maker inscribe runes and stuff on her guns.  I GUESS the idea is to enchant the weapons so they can kill the spirits.  It seems to be pointless though….another example of her failure.

So she released the sins, (who killed her tribe), became cursed and immortal, and flounders in trying to stop the sins, then trains to try and fight them or even kill them….Her whole life seems to be a failure.

Which is why I think I am rooting for her.

What do you think?  Comment people…I have some stuff to give away!

FIRST EVER GIVE AWAY!

OK.  News this big deserves my first ever GIVE AWAY!!!!
DC NEW 52 and MOTU Crossover!!!
If you subscribe to my blog, and comment on this post by Thursday, May 16, 11:59PM Eastern Time, you will be in the running for a prize!  A sealed copy of AQUAMAN #19, plus a little bit more, comics related, not decided yet!  I will ship internationally!  Be sure you leave a way for me to contact you.
Good Luck!  I HAVE THE POWER!!!!!

Follow up, Follow Up! Follow Up!! to Robin Laid an Egg!

My issue came and I finally got to read it!  This issue does feature Carrie in the Robin costume, and it also features other partying friends dressed as Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Aquaman, (Basically a Justice League costume party).  If you have been reading this story, then you probably read the “Batman and Robin Annual.”  In that book, Bruce tells Damian that he needs to work on his “Green Screen” skills.  And we see Damian trying to trick Batman into thinking he is in different locations with a Green Screen.  So this indicates that Damian either went and hired Carrie to teach him those skills, or he was already taking classes from her.  Filmography must have been an ambition of Damian’s.  Damian was 10.  This girl was driving, and seems to be at least 17 years old.  So he wasn’t “dating” her.  (I guess that should read “she wasn’t “dating” him!)

Other details about the book….I won’t spoil those, but lets just say this one went somewhere I totally didn’t expect it to go!  Batman has gone nuts!