Fear Itself #7.2: Thor
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Adam Kubert, Mark Roslan, and Laura Martin
So last week they took the Captain America issue and did something really cool with it, using it as a vehicle to bring Bucky back as the Winter Soldier and set up his status quo going forward. This issue does essentially the same thing, but without the same emotional impact. This issue is the funeral of Thor, which took place in Fear Itself #7, only dragged out across the entire issue. While this issue could have been used to set up the future, like the Cap issue did, it instead feels more like the Iron Man issues during Fear Itself, taking brief events that have already been told and stretching them out to fill entire issues. Alright, fine, the end of the issue definitely sets up the future, but at first glance the entire thing feels like it could have been handled in Fear Itself #7.
Thor is dead. That’s the plot here. He’s dead, and people are sad. The prophecy of the Serpent was that Thor would die and Odin would be sad, and I’ll be damned if that’s not what happens here! Odin gets sad, appoints three women (his wife, Thor’s mom, and someone I have no idea about) to take over for him, boots everyone out of Asgard, and goes to be sad with his dead brother. Yes, there are attempts at getting emotion across, but I can’t buy it from Odin. The Warriors Three telling Jane Foster should also feel like a huge deal, but it’s glossed over. That’s the problem here, the entire issue feels glossed over. It feels like it’s meant to give depth to the funeral of Thor, but it maintains the same pacing that Fear Itself #7 had. It cuts from scene to scene, place to place, character to character, and if you don’t pick up on how they feel the first time you see them you most likely won’t at all.
The book does serve as a bridge between the events of Fear Itself and what Fraction has planned for his Thor series going forward, however, and in that it’s a success. He sets up the new status quo with the Asgardians on Earth and the Shining Women in charge of them. Hell, Tanarus makes his first appearance before taking over the lead role in a book formerly title Thor. If you were on the fence about the impending new status quo, this is the issue that will set it up and most likely put you on one side or the other. It’s really just, in this reviewers eyes, a matter of how long before things revert back to normal. After all, in the eight years since I started reading comics again this is the second time that Thor has been killed ‘for good’.
I remember a time when it seemed like you couldn’t go two weeks without picking up a Marvel title with the name Kubert on the cover, and I remember those times fondly. The brothers have both seen more limited outputs in recent years, being used on higher profile projects instead of monthly books, and it’s a tad bit disappointing. Well, until you see them in action. Andy did a great job with Flashpoint, and while Adam hasn’t had a job that high profile in a bit, he has done some amazing work on some big issues, including the final issue of Schism and this. He brings a big time feel to the book that can help you forget that not a lot is really happening, and his character work is second to none. Adam is the brother who seems content being back at Marvel, and I don’t have a problem with that. To me it’s just not Marvel Comics without one of them working there.
The issue features a meta-text to it that in essence sets up the new status quo. Fraction’s best work in this issue revolves around the use of the dead Thor, as opposed to those mourning for him. The grief is what it is across the board, and while the characters all react very much in line with how you would expect, none is really granted enough time to create any true impact. Odin is an exception, but he’s been so unlikable since his return that I’m almost glad that he has to be sad that his son is dead. It makes him something other than a d-bag, but it’s too little too late. The real victory is the talk of what Gods truly are, about the beliefs of man and the stories that we tell, and how it will apply to Thor going forward. It’s original, I’ll give it that, and it takes mythological to a completely different level.
It’s a hard issue to judge, really. For the most part it feels like a cash in issue because they had big plans for the Captain America issue, and may have similar notions for Iron Man, but the Thor issue almost feels unnecessary. The meta-text, introduction of the Shining Women, and debut of Tanaris pave the way into the next arc of Thor, but everything else is emotionally void emotional moments glossed over to make them appear handled. Adam Kubert’s art is the tie breaker, and honestly, the best part of an otherwise forgetable issue. The book literally talks about stories being told, and yet it fails to tell anything resembling one.
Here’s hoping Fraction does a better job with Iron Man next week.