Millennia ago, Thor's grandfather, Bor, sealed a vault deep in an uncharted wasteland of Niffleheim that could only be opened with his blood -- which Thor learned when Laussa Odinsdottir, his baby sister, was kidnapped to provide the key. After Thor rescued Laussa, though, he opened the vault himself to learn the secrets his grandfather had locked away.
Within the vault was a time storm -- a swirling mass of past, present, and future. And from the future came a teenage Laussa, warning her brother not to look into the time storm but it was too late. Thor had already witnessed his future self doing something unspeakable.
But Laussa also warned him to tend to the recent disappearance of all of the souls in Valhalla. He and Valkyrie traveled to Hel but found the realm likewise emptied of souls and its queens, Hela and Karnilla, missing. After a battle with Nidhogg, the eater of souls, Odin's spirit disappeared from Mjolnir.
Thor and Valkyrie followed the beast to Latveria, where Doctor Doom held Hela - and a swirling mass of the lost souls of the dead - prisoner, and a mindless army of Latverians awaited Thor's arrival.
In this month’s Thor, readers are finally treated to the face-off between Thor and supervillain Doctor Doom that Nic Klein’s cover promised we’d get in the previous issue. Klein’s newest cover may foreshadow next month again, but anyone expecting an evil, Mjolnir-toting Laussa in Thor #33 will be sorely disappointed.
The previous issue’s futuristic secondary subplot – following Thor’s sister Laussa as she brings her childhood kidnapper back from the dead – is nowhere to be seen, and Laussa is never referenced. Instead, writer Torun Grønbekk introduces a new B-plot set in the past that seems to tease a new origin story for a classic Thor character and focuses on the death-obsessed supervillain Thanos. While it’s a joy seeing Grønbekk expand on Marvel’s Thor mythos further, this issue and the last feel nonetheless disjointed. As is typical of Grønbekk’s writing, the newest issue raises far more questions than it answers – and doesn’t answer questions when it has the chance. For example, how did Doctor Doom kidnap Hela, the Norse goddess of death? We still don’t know. The best part of the newest issue is how it contrasts Thor with Doom as Thor continues to figure out what it means to be king. Doctor Doom, a king himself, is offered to Thor and his readers as one possible outcome.
Last month, artist Nic Klein was replaced by Juan Gedeon, perhaps best known for his work on Venom and DC’s dino-themed miniseries Jurassic League. (Klein has stuck around as the series’ cover artist.) In those comics, Gedeon showed himself as an adept cartoonist with an affinity for energetic fight scenes and visual humor. And while Gedeon’s Thor work is unquestionably that of a skilled artist, it also feels much more reserved. Fight scenes are undoubtedly energetic but not as high-octane or creatively framed as his work on those other series. Given Thor’s grittier tone, it’s understandable that Gedeon’s artwork is less playful by comparison. That said, he may have overdone it a bit when it comes to conveying how serious the series is. Characters scowl and grit their teeth to TMJ disorder-inducing extent, undermining the emotional breadth of Grønbekk’s script. Matt Wilson renders Gedeon’s artwork much less than he did Klein’s, which is an intuitive change as Gedeon’s style is less realistic. Nonetheless, Wilson’s colors still leave Gedeon’s work flat. Gedeon’s work on Thor has the potential to be every bit as memorable as Klein’s, but if that will be the case remains to be seen.
Thor #33 is a competent comic filled with unkept promises and unanswered questions. We can only hope the comic’s creators find their footing again soon.
Thor #33: Doom and Gloom
- Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
- Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
- Art - 7.5/107.5/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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