J. Michael Stracynski has brought Marvel's resident god of thunder to new heights. This trade paperback "Thor: Secret Invasion" is a spin-off 3 issue mini-series from another mini-series; Marvel's "Secret Invasion". The collection presents an interesting premise that expresses an idea that the alien shape-shifting skrull empire had invaded Earth by impersonating a good number of superhuman heroes--for quite sometime that spans a decade. All their planning and sinister schemes depended on the assumption that Thor Odinson was dead or gone forever, now they have to make changes to their plans with Thor‘s return.
Asgard is under attack. The first volley fired in the Skrull's war against the Norse gods came in the form of Beta Ray Bill. Beaten and broken, the ally of Asgard had his own hammer of power stripped from him and was flung through space at the asgardians with a simple message: "Leave Earth or be Destroyed". While the invading force prepared an assault, Dr. Donald Blake--mortal host to asgard's greatest warrior was fulfilling a vow in neighboring Borxton, Oklahoma, delivering a baby. With Thor's hammer Mjolnir in hand, Beta Ray Bill was left behind to defend the golden city of Asgard along with army of Asgard. A super-powered "Super-Skrull" who holds the remnants of Bill's hammer began to wreak havoc. In Thor's absence, the Skrull's have the advantage in this war---can Thor return in time?
The storyline by writer Matt Fraction and Doug Braithwaite is quite simple but overall very effective. Of course, a small knowledge of Thor's more recent exploits may be advantageous to understand some of the depths of its plot but not totally necessary. The story is a war upon the Norse gods at the doorstep.--simple, bloody, brutal. What makes the storyline interesting is the fact that it has a feel of majesty; honor, duty and glory.
The Norse gods are portrayed with a lot more humanity. They have doubts and can be manipulated into paranoia. Loki plays a small part in chapter one, but the focus here are the gods of Asgard and the residents of Broxton. Fandral, Volstagg, Hogun and Balder with the armies of Asgard are prepared to die in defense of their home. Thor himself is his usual honorable self as he is still a god split between his brethren and mortals. What is more interesting is the fact the mortals are shown with a lot more strength as they find the strength to aid the asgardians. They volunteer to try and quell the flames that is ravaging the shining city. Impressive depiction of courage and the relationship between immortals and human beings however simple it may be.
The illustrations of battle and war are quite impressive as drawn by Braithwaite. It is not your usual pen and brush approach, the colors by Brian Reber are vibrant but emulates a moody and brooding feel that accentuates the layouts. I do think the layouts were nearly excellent, with the use of close-ups and facial expressions--pain and intensity is shown quite well. Thor looks majestic as ever and the battle scenes have that very ‘epic' feel. The super-skrull looks like a woman (but you can't be certain) and I just can't place why it looks familiar--it almost looks like a troll-woman as drawn by Walter Simonson.
Chapter one is the minor set up and chapters two and three have all the exciting and majestic fights. Some parts of the battle is not for children as they are somewhat brutal. The comic has its share of wondrous sequences; highlights include the hammer "Stormbreaker" rocketing to destroy Broxton, when Thor whispers "Fall" and the granddaddy exclamation point of all: Thor lifts Asgard itself! (of course the city is so large and would be broken apart unless aided by Beta Ray Bill) The comic fulfills all the greatness and majesty of the mighty Thor.
Overall, this mini-series is a good addition to "Secret Invasion" and a worthy addition to the Thor "mythos". Since Thor is expected to be Marvel's next big silver screen franchise, I am very happy that the mighty Thor is being restored to ALL his former glory. After all, Marvel's top creator, Stan Lee did intend him to be one, if not, the most powerful hero in the Marvel Universe. (which has been changed by writers through the years)
Highly Recommended to Thor fans and a great read for everybody else! [4+ Stars]
For HONOR, for GLORY--for ASGARD!!
This review is posted first in Lunch.com
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