Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Jen Bartel, Ramón Pérez
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
The death of the Mighty Thor has come and gone, which brings us to Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla #1. This story, which is more like two mini-stories, give us a look at how Jane Foster is faring since defeating Mangog at great personal cost. We start out with Thor Odinson’s three granddaughters, the Goddesses of Thunder, time-hopping around looking for Thor to catch a glimpse of their hero in action. After a series of adventures, they finally find a frail-looking Jane Foster trying to muster the courage to return to the cancer ward. The goddesses gush over Jane and let her know what an inspiration she was.
While discussing actions of the Mighty Thor that brought them inspiration, we shift to Svartalfheim and see how Malekith has been orchestrating a full-out war between the realms. Meeting very little resistance, Malekith spies on the sickly Jane while laying out his plans for bringing the war of the realms to Earth.
When I first went into this comic, I expected to see a lot more of the Mighty Thor than I ended up seeing. I’m usually a fan, though, when the writer decides to tell a more indirect story where we focus on an unexpected cast of characters and meet our main hero at some point in the story. To me, this story structure used in Mighty Thor did not disappoint.
The first story with Thor’s three granddaughters was an entertaining look at the influence Jane Foster had. For the brief amount of time we see them, we still get to see three very distinct personalities. And their meeting with Jane was effectively touching.
After that lighthearted arc, it gets a little crazier as we follow Malekith (someone from State Farm needs to help him freshen up on what it means to be a good neighbor). The setup for events to come gives us quite the dire circumstances for our heroes to solve in later issues, but there are enough hints sprinkled throughout to give us an idea that Foster will certainly be involved.
The hardest part for me in Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla #1 was the art. It felt a lot like those Sunday afternoon comic strips from the 90s and the color tones were very soft. Just like the decision not to focus on Mighty Thor, the artwork felt unexpected, and I’m not sure it was in a good way. After awhile, I got used to it, but I’m not sure comic art should be something the reader should settle on in order to read a good story.
Verdict: Buy it.
The stories in Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla #1 are entertaining, and there’s a lot here that sets up future issues both for Thor and for the Marvel universe at large.