Writers: Walter Simonson (“Beyond the Field We Know…”) Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz (“Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay”), Kathryn Immonen (“Rule of Reflection”)
Artists: Mike Hawthorne and Sal Buscema (“Beyond the Field We Know…”), Ron Frenz and Keith Williams (“Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay”), Tom Reilly (“Rule of Reflection”)
Colorists: Tamra Bonvillain (“Beyond the Field We Know…”), Rachelle Rosenberg (“Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay”), Chris O’Halloran (“Rule of Reflection”)
Letterers: John Workman (“Beyond the Field We Know…”), VC’s Clayton Cowles (“Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay” and “Rule of Reflection”)
Cover Artists: Kim Jacinto, Java Tartaglia
Editor: Wil Moss
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Marvel’s 80th anniversary continues with Thor: The Worthy #1, an anthology one-shot of stories featuring characters from the God of Thunder’s extended family, with one notable exception: Thor Odinson himself.
The title of Thor: The Worthy isn’t technically misleading, but if your interest in picking this up was to read stories featuring Thor (Odinson), then you may be disappointed. He barely appears in any of the three stories presented here, which instead focus on various other characters who’ve been associated with the mantle of Thor: Beta Ray Bill, Thunderstrike, Jane Foster, and Lady Sif (he does show up in one as a child, but that’s it). If you’re a fan of any of those characters and their associated creators, then you’re in for a treat, but if not, this may not be the comic for you.
The first story, “Beyond the Field We Know…”, boasts the return of fan-favorite scribe Walter Simonson spinning a new tale starring the beloved horse-faced hero he created, Beta Ray Bill. Perhaps one of Marvel’s weirdest leading men, Bill was the first character outside of the Norse pantheon to wield Mjolnir, so there’s lots of story potential to be mined from him. This one in particular is set some time ago, depicting a juvenile Thor, but I’m mildly confused about the timeframe here. Thor is not yet an adult, but Bill already has Stormbreaker, which he famously gets after wielding Mjolnir … but I’m also not the most comprehensive keeper of Thor lore (Thlore?), so there could be a very obvious answer here. In any event, it’s classic Simonson, with the art by Mike Hawthorne and Sal Buscema straddling a line between modern and classic that I quite liked, and Tamra Bonvillain’s vibrant colors bring it all together.
I’m less enamored with the second story, “Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay,” starring Eric Masterson, who was imbued with the powers of Thor in the ’90s (he’s the one with the ponytail, because ’90s). Though I actually love the throwbackiness of Ron Frenz and Keith Williams’s art–which I first assumed was actually a reprint of an older story from that era–it’s indeed a new story by Frenz and Tom DeFalco, who co-created the character. I’m just not interested in either Thunderstrike the character or his kind of stories from the ’90s, but I feel like it would go down gangbusters for fans of his. As I said, I do like the retro art style, colored perfectly flat by Rachelle Rosenberg.
The last story, “Rule of Reflection,” reunites writer Kathryn Immonen with Lady Sif, the character she wrote in an acclaimed run of Journey into Mystery earlier this decade. This one is set during the Jane Foster era of Thor and sees them teaming up, which is a fun dynamic we didn’t get nearly enough of while Jane was in Thor mode. “Rule of Reflection” might be my favorite of the three, if only because I’m a bigger fan of Sif and Jane than I am of Bill or Thunderstrike. Immonen proves here why she may be one of the more underrated comic writers of her generation, while Tom Reilly’s art is appealing cartoony with colors by Chris O’Halloran that match the playful vibe of Immonen’s script.
Thor: The Worthy #1
- Nice variety of characters other than Odinson himself featured
- Quality work from each artist involved
- Honors some of the creators who made these characters popular
- Dependent on your interest in the characters featured
- Fans of Odinson will be disappointed by his lack of a presence