Thor #2 brings our first glimpse of Lady Thor in action! Unfortunately it doesn’t bring much else and just kind of sits there. But it was pretty.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Quick Synopsis: Issue 2 opens with new Thor adjusting to begin Thor and then flying off to fight some Ice Trolls. Whom she fights. Flash over to Roxxon HQ. Villains villain. Ice trolls attack. Thor shows up to fight fight. Gets separated from Mjolnir. Issue ends on the verge of having to fight trolls while lacking her hammer.
If this sounds pretty sparse, then I would agree. The action scenes, while nice looking, aren’t plentiful enough to make this a brawl issue and there isn’t enough story to beef it up. Lots of standing around posing.
Spoilers may follow, but to be honest so little happens I don’t think there is really much to spoil.
If I were in love with this concept and confident in the team’s ability to carry it off to satisfaction then I would likely to be pleased with this issue. Nothing bad happens and there are a few story hooks or at least concept seeds planted in the issue that might get me more involved with the story. However, Grumpy Bird that I am, I need to be courted and won over and the vague drippings offered here do little get me excited. In fact, they almost make me more frustrated. Lady Thor’s thought bubble dialogue pains her as a likely rookie with little Asgardian experience. Her Thor dialogue shows that something about the magical properties of the hammer is supplying intel, something I don’t recall happening with Beta Ray Thor or Eric Masterson, although it has been a while since I’ve read those issues. And, a lack there really doesn’t mean anything to this story. Or does it? A decent amount of PR for Lady Thor was pointing out that others have wielded Mjolnir before. Does that mean Aaron should have to hew closer to previously established examples? Probably not. Honestly the main reason I keep thinking about those kind of issues is because whoever is behind the mask is a secret. Even though I don’t really care, keeping those cards hidden encourages me to use a more critical eye when reading the book in the pursuit of clues and whatnot. Whereas if the cards were revealed I would possibly have an easier time of just going with the fun instead of feeling like I have to dissect every panel for secret meaning. But enough of this, back to the comic.
When we get to the Ice Troll cave we get a glimpse of the Avengers (Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, She-Hulk, Captain (Falcon) America) frozen in ice, my first thought was of Star Trek the Next Generation. Seriously. In ST:TNG when they needed to show a new threat was, well, threatening Worf would get knocked out. Here we get our new Thor having to take on the guys who beat up Thor. I also had to frown at the throw-away dialogue where the trolls decide not to freeze her as the did the other Avengers. Because, you know, reasons.
We get some fighty-fighty, including dialogue of Thor asking Mjolnir to “let [her] steer” glossing a possibility that the hammer, not Thor, was in control that I didn’t even think until reading that dialogue, then some scenes at Roxxon which I am not convinced really even matter other than showing villain fights villain for stuff, and then the issue closes with Thor being separated from her hammer and asking herself the question “What am I without [Mjolnir]?”
Overall, the issue felt thin and rushed at the same time. Gorgeous art covered up that most pages were essentially filler. We learn nothing about this character other than she doesn’t quite know what is going on and that she is willing to fight. Congratulations on being 95% of the non-headline characters of the Marvel universe*. The only reason I have to care about this character is that she has Mjolnir, which if that was the title of the comic and we were following how possession of this hammer effects the lives of its wielders, great. But, the book is called Thor and after I have little reason to care about the new Thor. If she were eaten by the Trolls and a new character picked up the hammer next issue would it even matter? The most surprising thing would be how hyped this character had been. (If you don’t think such a story is possible, go read X-Force 116.)
The ending also makes me wince in worry. Is there really a good direction for this story to go? I see four likely possibilities (none of them that appealing):
1) The hammer comes back and she kicks butt. Kind of gives a negative answer to that last question, doesn’t it?
2) She kicks butt without the hammer. Possible, but we did just see traditional Thor get his arm sliced off and handed to him by this same bad guy last issue. Would that be too “beat up the guy who beat up Worf”?
3) She gets rescued. Because nothing starts out a career of a new character than a deus-ex-machina ending.
4) In sixty seconds she turns into whoever she really is. This might be my favorite possibility. It gets to bring back a long-standing weakness of Thor that I don’t know when was last used, it reveals her identity and hopefully starts giving us a reason to care about her other than she is New Thor, plus it gives her more options to get out of the situation other than punch smash.
Overall, I’d say this was on par with issue one in that it isn’t a strong issue, but it could lead into something better. Maybe. Or not. It is more making me realize I have trust issues. If this were by Greg Rucka or Brian K. Vaughn I would be more likely to trust where they are leading the reader and that I will enjoy the ride. Aaron is a talented writer, but I don’t necessarily trust him and that likely makes me more critical of the ride.
*As I was writing this line I thought over how many characters fit this sentence. It was then that I realized who i want this Thor to be and it is a character that it almost certainly will not be. It would make little sense and would certainly take some finagling to put her in a situation to even touch the hammer let alone be worth of its power. But, if it turns out to be this character then I will declare this to be an inspired piece of fiction. That character: Mary Jane Watson. In fact, until proven otherwise in my head she is MJ Thor. And, just like that, I like this issue a lot better. I am not even kidding. Go kick some butt, MJ Thor!