Review: Mighty Thor #703
Cover: 8/10 As far as covers go, this one does an admirable job of getting thrust of the story across in a single image. It’s image of the All-Father Odin beside Odinson (who is the traditional Thor) making a desperate stand amidst the devastated ruins of Asgardia facing a towering foe, cuts right to the point of this particular chapter of “The Death of the Mighty Thor”. Scattered about them are the bodies of various Asgardians, but the two whose faces are apparent (Heimdall the all-seeing and Freya the All-Mother) adds a sense of gravitas to the image. What stops me from scoring it higher is that this is only half of the tale, and arguably the human struggle within is the bigger story unfolding in inside.
Best Variant: 4/10 I wish I could find a second variant cover for the issue, but unfortunately there appears to be only one. It depicts the Avengers Trinity of Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man drawn by Rob Liefeld. I’m not one who thinks he’s the worst thing that happened in the 90’s, but he’s chosen to depict them EXACTLY as they were in the “Heroes Reborn” relaunch, following the “Onslaught” cross-over. Not only does it have absolutely zero connection to the story but, at this time, only Cap is the character in continuity. I would have loved to see his take on the current status quo.
What I Liked: A lot. As I described in reference to the cover, the big action of the issue is the Mangog wreaking havoc on Asgardia, and boy does he get off to an excellent start. From the moment he engages Heimdall on the Rainbow Bridge, he’s depicted as an unstoppable force of destruction. From ripping out the all-seeing eyes of Heimdall, to destroying the Bridge before it can be used to send him away, Mangog’s rage and power are shown in full effect.
Fueled by the by the anger of “a billion billion” members of a dead alien race, Mangog’s sole purpose is revenge for his people on Odin, who is depicted sitting in fear on his throne while others defend the realm. By his nature, Odin isn’t a coward which demonstrates just how big of a threat this is. His wife Freya even unleashes the supremely powerful destroyer which is just not enough. As I mentioned though, the battle being waged is only half the story.
On midgard (Earth to you and I) Jane Foster’s battle with cancer continues its downward spiral. She awakes in a hospital bed surrounded by the people she’s closest to, having collapsed again after resuming her mortal form. With Dr. Strange attending she’s confronted by her friend Roz (agent of shield), Falcon (new love interest and former Captain America), and Odinson (former lover/Thor). What unfolds is an intervention as they attempt to save her life by convincing her that without treatment her cancer WILL kill her, and picking up THE Hammer one more time will mean the end. All of which gets complicated by Mjolnir putting in an appearance in order to rouse her to Asgardia aid. Seeing Odinson curse the hammer that was such an object of longing for him, especially during the early parts of Aaron’s now six year run, drove home exactly how high the personal stakes are for Jane.
What I Didn’t Like: Variant cover aside, I have some problems with art early on in the issue. Russell Dauterman draws some truly epic panels in the issue, but I’m not the biggest fan of his facial work, particularly at the start which features Jane and Roz hovering over Manhattan. He perfectly captures the toll cancer has taken on Jane but I find Roz’s look to be off-putting. As I flipped back through it’s pages it’s not far off from his overall style, but maybe its the general calm of the scene that draws my attention to it to such an extent. Maybe it’s just a bad couple of panels, but it nags at me.
Best Moment: There’s a lot of moments that really stand out to me, but if I have to pick just one I’m going to have to go with Freya unleashing the Destroyer. Freya has been a major force of progressive change throughout Aaron’s run, so it was great seeing the All-Mother go to battle via the Destroyer, despite the fact that it’s use is known to consume the wielder. Granted, in her weakened state it was doomed to failure but it was great to see the mother bear protecting her den.
Ending: As Jane heeding the advice of her loved ones lies in her hospital bed, pondering her choice, the Odinson FINALLY returns home to Asgardia to join his father in it’s defense. For the first time since Jane took up the Hammer on the moon so many months ago, he’s back where he belongs, bolstering his father’s faltering courage as, with his axe Jarbjorn in hand they go out to meet the Mangog.
What I’m Looking Forward To: The next few issues will be the culmination of “The Death of the Mighty Thor” arc. Whether that means the actual physical death of Jane Foster, or it’s an allusion to the “death” of her time as Thor is still very much in question. Having thoroughly enjoyed her as the “Goddess of Thunder” , I find either option to be somewhat bittersweet. In the end however, Odinson is the “true” thunder god and, through glimpses of the end of days, we know he will reclaim his title. Regardless of how it all plays out, the “War of the Realms” is gearing up to break through to engulf everyone, everywhere. This is what Jason Aaron has been laying the groundwork for over the past six years, spanning no less than four titles. It’s been one hell of a ride and I can’t wait to see it through.
Overall Score: 9/10
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