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Ganny McVagflaps

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Has anyone picked up a copy of this yet? I always thought that Thor was pretty hokey, and then when I saw that there was a Thor MAX book I thought that the only thing worse than Thor'd be a shot of his Thor-ass, but when I saw the creative team on it, I was sold. So who could make me spend three clams fiddy on a Thor book? GARTH ENNIS and GLENN FABRY.


The story is as follows Harald Jaekelsson and his gang of pirates are cursed on their way to the New World after a murderfest in Norway. As they sail they see many strange things, but finally the reach the new world, but it's modern day...and they're zombies....... :D


Thor versus Zombie Pirates? It's a pretty far out idea, but Ennis' superb writing and Fabry's amazing art (it'll have you drooling) make this a kick ass book. I've only read the first issue, which didn't have him, but word is that Dr. Strange'll be helping Thor fight Harald Jaekelsson and the zombie pirates, so I can't wait to see how Thor and the Sorcerer Supreme are gonna dispose of them.














Number 3 be out on Wednesday (as will "Born" #4 on my day of birth incidentally :D ) so I'm gonna pick that and number 2 up (insert poopoo joke here). I'm still shocked that I'm actually posting about how great a Thor book is - well at least regular continuity Thor, The Ultimate Thor is sweet like chocolate. Then again, need I say it again - it is Ennis and Fabry, who I wish drew more books.


Thor: Vikings should keep me happy until January and the MAX Punisher relaunch...

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He showed up in the last page of that issue; # 2..man, you gotta see it, it aint pretty, not one bit.


It's grim. NY's gettin its ass kicked; im guessin Thor has to get back in time with Dr Strange before this all started...we'll see. It's pulling few punches, and Fabry...he ought do interiors more, i think. Last i saw was what, Daredevil: Hard Target?

Good call 2T, ill try to give a small review of # 3 this wednesday (man, good books for your birhtday; didnt know Born was this week!) Incidentally...this current Punisher arc is weak, but the last one, "Confederacy of Dunces" (aka Punisher vs the Marvel Universe, round 2!) looks damn interesting...good prelude ot MAX, eh?

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Okay - I picked up #2 and #3 and alls I can say is I thought that Preacher had the highest count of head-involved fatalities, but I have a feeling that by the end of the five issues this one'll hold that title.


Ennis sure can write Dr. Strange as well. I never was a big fan of the Sorcerer Supreme (or Thor for that matter) but the way he's done is class.


Kind of a SPOILER




that frame of the avengers after getting the shit kicked out of 'em makes me wonder how Thor and his motley crew are gonna fare against Jaekelsson and the zombie pirates (gee, I just can't get sick of saying that...one more time - ZOMBIE PIRATES, God bless ya Ennis ya mad bastard).....







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Meh. I never really liked Fabry as a penciller. He's great with covers and a fantastic painter, but when it comes to interiors I kinda prefer someone who actually knows where the muscles go. I got sick of that sack-of-potatoes-for-muscles comic drawing back in the early nineties. If he's doing this, now, I wonder if they'll need to get someone else to draw the rest of Target (assuming it ever comes out)?


Oh, Ennis is still gold, though. The man's got a bit've a hardon for head wounds, though, doesn't he?

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I've been doing quite the opposite and've been picking up more comic books than usual. I guess my post-California de-tox has left me with alot more cash than I usually have... :D


Yeah, Joe Q is writing NYX which is the new X-book (obviously!). It's centered around a bunch of mutant kids that live on the street or something like that. The art looks beautiful too. I'm not too sure if it'll be a great book, per se, but I'll definitly be looking into it.

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It's getting some hype lately too; i think there was a preview of it recently in Marvl's preview guide or somehting, didnt get to see it yet.


Man, 3 Ennis books this week, all solid. Born ended badass, Thor was fun (gettin weird, gotta see where they take this one - Strange was a trip tho) and Punisher was..a fun calm before the storm, thank god Dillon's back - that Tom Mandrake guy sucked.

Zombie Vikings! And man theyre tough.

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Wizard was pimpin' "Thor: Vikings" as one of it's hot books too.


As for the end of Born, badass is right! Ennis really showed Frank's origin a new light. I was wondering what the deal was with the voices in the first few issues and the last frame of #4 wowza! I can't wait for the MAX Punisher.


Also, the movie is looking better and better. There's a rake of characters from "Welcome Back Frank" - Mr. Bumpo, Spacker Dave, Joan and best of all THE RUSSIAN! It looks like the movie's gonna be pretty heavily Ennis influenced. WoooHoooo!


If only all Marvel properties were owned by the same production companies then they'd be able t'have Frank knocking the shit outta Daredevil and Spidey (well through the Russian...). That'd be da goods!

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  • 2 years later...

Sure, he's still dead, but Newsarama's got a great article on the best run the character's seen, one of the first comics i read and still need to go back & finish...




IN THE LONG RUN - THOR #337 - #354

by Andy Marchant


Back in the day… ah, back in the day… you had a writer/artist who would really get involved with a book for the long haul. They’d have a broader story you could step back and see in all its glory. From Lee and Kirby on the Fantastic Four, to Bendis and Maleev on Daredevil (and Miller before him), there is an investment of effort not only from a love for the character, but also from wanting to stories that push those characters into dramatic and redefining places. This isn’t just a run of the mill 4-6 issue trade paperback story either, this can only be describes as a Saga.


Thor was hard to “get” for me. Strangely enough, a radioactive spider bite seems pretty reasonable, but I always had trouble fitting Thor into a world of Avengers and X-Men. It wasn’t just the big cape, feathery helmet and golden locks. It wasn’t even the flowery “Have at Thee!” speech. I was an avid reader of both comics and mythology and had trouble trying to work out just where this version of Thor belonged. He was out of place.


So, one day I was raiding these cheap comic boxes at a local shop, and on a whim picked up a Thor book (it was only 50p). There was little in the way of dialogue. Almost every page was a splash page. Thor didn’t look like Thor. In short, it was made up of the elements that make me feel ripped of from a comic. But it did what no story featuring Marvel’s Thor had done before. It contained Thor the superhero and Thor the legend, as he fought and defeated the World Serpent and took his twelve steps backwards before dying. Dying! Like he’s supposed to at the Norse Judgement Day, Ragnarok. The art was Sal Buscema, a consistent favourite of mine, but more than anything, this was the issue that introduced me to Walt Simonson.


When Simonson took over the book with issue #337, he totally reshaped it. By issue #354 it was his own, and those 18 issues will be my focus. The cover showed a Thor that was not Thor smashing the title of the book to bits, making way for a much more appropriate kind of lettering. And from the start the content was just as progressive as the covers. Most noticeably, there was no more alter-ego. For over 20 years, Thor lived with the burden of being “crippled” Dr Don Blake in order, due to a spell made by his father, to teach him humility. This had the added curse of turning Thor back into Don if he was kept from his hammer for over a minute (not what you need when the jug-eared Absorbing Man is coming at you with his big bad ball). With that tired old plot contrivance out of the way, Thor finally had the potential to go places.


Walt Simonson made it clear from the start that this would be an age of the Mighty Thor that was steeped in the myths and legends that shaped him as a hero in the first place. The removal of the Stan Lee “hero with a problem” quirk was only the first step towards this. The Avengers take a back seat to the Asgardians. Wrecking Crews are replaced by ancient dragons, and demons from space. Instead of super powered brawls, there are tales of nobility, enchantment, betrayal and war. The strange land first presented in those backup stories of “Tales Of Asgard” was about to get a lot more prominent.


Nothing represents Simonson’s run on this book more than his own figurehead, the character who dominated his first issues, bettering the Thunder God at every turn, Beta Ray Bill.


Just as Thor seemed out of place with the “regular” superheroes, Beta Ray Bill, a cybernetic alien warrior, shouldn’t seem appropriate for a comic based on ancient myths. But he is! His monstrous face is based on the shape of a horse’s skull. His name has a singsong Viking feel to it. He is even proclaimed by Odin as a brother to Thor. Bill proves himself to be Thor’s superior. He wins away Thor’s hammer twice. He’s more isolated in Asgard than Thor ever was on Earth. He is noble without a second thought, and he even appears more appealing in the eyes of Thor’s on again/off again lady friend, Sif!




So, like Beta Ray Bill, Simonson’s Thor may look rather shocking at first, but in hardly any time, you find that its actually better than it was before.


It’s the introduction to Bill and his problems that ushers in Simonson’s epic, but before that story even begins we are treated to the prologue of a darkened villain, a constant threat, dominating a one page cameo every issue up until the big reveal of who he is. Each time he appears, it is hypnotic, poetic, and incredibly ominous, always in shadow and flame, always telling us where these interludes happen, and what we can expect from them:


“This place is beyond the fields we know,

This forge is the forge of destruction,

The smith is a breaker of the stars,

And this sounding anvil rings more loudly with every blow.


… DOOM!”



This is where Simonson is at his best. In the 18 issues that hold his own Journey into Mystery, is a work that content wise could sit rightly with Lord of the Rings or Beowulf on any bookshelf.


And so begins a tale that crosses galaxies and dimensions. The shadowy villain is connected to all things, and all that Thor fights against is tied to his darkened foe The destruction of Bill’s world and the demons that hound his people are due to the shadow working at his anvil. The cosmic slamming of hammer and anvil wakes demons and slumbering monsters, such as Fafnir the Dragon, who Thor cannot defeat without the help of Last Viking. The Last Viking is an old man who himself is a herald of a war to end wars. A Dark Elf called Malekith pursues a treasure called the Casket of Ancient Winters. Thor fails to keep this sealed and Malekith is able to free his master, and at last the shadow is revealed. The giant, demonic Surtur, a threat from the dawn of time, is let loose from his prison, and brings an epic war to New York City, resulting in the fall of both himself and Odin, Thor’s father.


But to describe this story in 168 words like that does it no justice, nor does it emphasise the grand, operatic tone of the saga. The layers established to reassure us that this indeed a dark time for Odin, Thor and the Asgardians are entwined and caught up with all other sub-plots. All that occurs is a foreshadowing indicator that something big and dark is coming, something that is set to change the status quo of Thor for a long time. As such, the back-up characters are promoted from the status of supporting cast, to that of co-stars.




Loki, so often the fallback villain of the piece is not any less devious. He lurks in his castle, cutting himself off from the other Gods, but is much more of a mischief maker than a villain. In the end, at the final battle against Surtur, he joins Odin and Thor and reminds us that ultimately, this is where his loyalties lie… with his family.


Odin is presented as being as powerful as he was always claimed to be. He is wise, and powerful and more than anything, cunning. He shows himself not only to be the inspiration for Thor’s noble manner, but also the inspiration for all of Loki’s scheming and plotting. But for all of his sending Thor on quests and laughing at Loki’s pranks, he is aware from the very beginning of the darkness that approaches and threatens the world.


Sif, the warrior woman is stronger, prouder than she’s ever been. But her hard shell is cracked by Beta Ray Bill of all people, and it is Sif who shows not only the other Asgardians, but also the readers, that there is more to Bill than just a monstrous face, by fighting battles for and alongside him, and openly admitting her attraction to him.


But for me the most interesting co-star is Balder (formerly “the Brave”), who is given the most dramatic thread to follow. White haired from shock and fattened from apathy and pacifism following a terrifying journey into Hel, he is no longer the pretty perfect warrior of Asgard. He ignores the challenges of young warriors intent on proving themselves, and wants only solitude. However, as a favour to Odin, he carries a message to Loki who forces him to fight his way through a thousand or so trolls and awakens his bloodlust. Balder emerges victorious, and delivers the message which Loki promptly destroys unread. Balder is driven to madness and into the desert. There he meets the Norns, who show him his importance in the tapestry of fate, returnign the heroic Balder to the book, less fat, still white haired, but with an all-new outlook on life.




And the characters don’t end there… Lorelei, sister of the Enchantress; Roger Willis, keeper of the casket of ancient winters; Eilif, the Last Viking; even Surtur himself, all have strong roles and great depth as characters.


The art is consistently epic, and though the story titles are often more than a little tongue in cheek (“Ragnarok ‘n’ Roll”!?!), this was a truly legendary start to a run that defined the character of Thor more than had ever been done before, embracing the roots of his legend as well as the character that Lee and Kirby wrote in the 60s. Simonson’s story continues beyond the “Doom War” (remember the anvil?) and Thor continued to have adventures that were, though astounding, nowhere near as dramatic in tone or scope as the “Doom War”. Perhaps I will revisit the reminder of Simonson’s run at some point. It was still very good, and it was the last innovative handling of the character until the “King Thor” stories of the 90s. I’d like to close my eyes and pretend nothing happened to Thor in those intervening years.


For me, the ideal stopping point for this first saga is issue #354. The reason for that is simply, “bookends”. Simonson took us out of the world of men as soon as he started. Within a few issues he removed “Don Blake”. Over the next 15, he showed us that Thor’s strength now lay not in interacting with mankind, but with his fellow Gods. Although issue #354 ends with Thor buried in an avalanche, it also ends with Fandrall, on a mission from Thor, visiting the humans who knew Blake, and removing the memory of him from their lives. It’s a charming tribute that this backup story of this strange land is called “Tales Of Midgard”.


That’s closure.


Y'know Skeet, my failing to you as a poster in this forum, not catering to your laziness, is a failing I hold deep to my breast. Y'see, I can't really summarize the article I've posted as so soon after posting it, I was caught up in a homo-erotic flurry of masturbating over the Hanson Bros (partially due to their semi-resemblance to Thor before he hit Puberty, partially because their fucking artists, man) and currently find myself unable to type. As you read this Lindsay is being held at flaccid-member-point, typing for me as I recover from the twelve consecutive ejaculations I just worked out. Now I'm off to the Crap Shack. I promise a synopsis soon, Love The Nick.


P.S- Every day I fail to provide said synopsis, you(along with the rest of Hondosbar.com:tm: )can assume I'm eating cock. With full respect for your member, The Nick

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Meh. I never really liked Fabry as a penciller. He's great with covers and a fantastic painter, but when it comes to interiors I kinda prefer someone who actually knows where the muscles go.


What are you talking about?




But seriously, what are you talking about?




I always thought Fabry had one of the best eyes for anatomy in comics today, especially when you put him up against the current crop of Manga derivatives and photo tracers infecting Marvel at the moment. But since I claim to be an artist myself, maybe that means my anatomy is way off.

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