Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Thor #9

What a fantastic issue!

That's three issues in a row for me. I didn't like the early issues of the series so much cause Straczynski was doing a little too much social commentary, which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't get most of his facts wrong (that Darfur issue? Come on!). The previous two issues featuring Thor reconciling with Odin while Thor was in the Odinsleep were tight, excellent reads. This issue, featuring the return of Olivier Coipel to penciling duties, is outstanding. This issue really sucked me in. It starts with Balder looking out over Asgard and being approached by the recently feminized Loki. By the way, the way Coipel draws this Loki is great. Loki as a two faced woman. Really, I like that.

Loki, being the trickster, keeps hounding Balder and asking him all manner of questions about what he wants in this new order with Thor as Lord of Asgard (and that it's hovering just over Kansas). This, naturally, pisses Balder off. Balder's path is set out neatly for him. Neatly and simply. He has no need to question the way of things, only that he knows what he must do. He's Thor's friend and a loyal servant of the Lord of Asgard.

After Loki finally buggers off, Balder makes his way back to Loki's quarters as he had mentioned something earlier about frost giant. So Loki sends him hunting frost giant. Sends him out to the Rocky Mountains I suppose. There, he begins the hunt while we see a frost giant conspiring with...Loki! Naturally, of course. Loki is a liar and has frost giant blood. Eventually, Balder happens on some guy and his kid whose car has broken down and are being set upon by two frost giants. Balder, of course, kills them on the spot. A third frost giant, the one conspiring with Loki, appears but has no chance to do anything before Loki kills him. That two faced bitch! This is all about Loki's manipulative schemes, baby. I love this Loki. Straczynski really does him (her) well. No need to try to cover up the fact that Loki is a schemer though, so unfortunately there are no surprises.

After Thor comes and, uh...bails them out from police custody (cause, hey, they were killing frosties on the freakin highway) Thor gently lectures Balder on how things are. Yes, they now have unprecedented freedom, but they can't just run around all crazy like. Balder is understanding, but still torn and conflicted. He's got all these choices and has no idea of what to do. Yeah, anyone can understand that feeling. The paralysis of too many choices. But this is where Loki's scheming really starts kicking into high gear when s/he levels a bombshell on Balder. Naturally, to be contnued.

This was a strong issue. I was really starting to lose faith in this series completely a few months ago but this issue was amazingly well told and well drawn. It was surprisingly funny, too. There's a minor comedic subplot involving some dude from that nearby town Asgard sits next to and an Asgardian woman named Kelda. Seems this dude is aiming high. There's some really funny stuff with that that had me smiling from ear to ear. Kelda gives this guy the grand tour of Asgard (well, I assume the grand tour, we don't spend too much time with these kids) and he shows them...basketball! Oh, man, that was fun. There's also a moment in the beginning involving Balder, Loki, Fandrall, Volstagg and Hogun that, at least for me, was laugh out loud funny stuff as Volstagg brags to Loki about Hogun's trips killing boar in the "Kingdom of Texas." That's funny!

Overall, especially considering the last two issues, I think I'm almost back on board with this series. I definitely want to see where this story with Balder goes and how it pans out. Loki is being a cruel bitch and I need to see how this affects Thor and how he runs Asgard. I'm stillm not too sweet on Straczynski's decision to get rid of the Shakesperian English script so often used in Thor until now, but I think he's getting better at trying for a formal sort of Lord of the Rings style speech pattern. Practice makes perfect!

This issue very much recommended as it's a good jumping on point. I believe Marvel is also reprinting issues seven and eight in a double sized single issue as well, so that would also be worth picking up.


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