Ragnarok has claimed Asgard, and the realm, along with all of its people, enemies, and Thor are gone. Thor transported Beta Ray Bill from the realm sparing him their fate. Bill vows to return to Asgard one day if it still does exist. Little does he know, his own world is under attack and his people the Korbinites are facing extinction. Bill survived the war on Asgard only to battle against the world devourer Galactus, whom will stop at nothing to consume his world, along with his powerful herald Stardust acting as the merciless enforcer. -summary
Marvel had put together their plan to destroy the Avengers and they succeeded with Avengers: Disassembled
. Then they came along with the rest of their crossovers stretching into the titles of other characters, and with the exception of Thor: Disassembled
, I thought this portion was quite underwhelming. Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four didn't even feel like Disassembled stories, despite Marvel labeling them as among the crossover. Then all of the sudden they introduce Beta Ray Bill to the story, which leads to some of the aftermath to the Thor arc. Surprisingly, although not being promoted as a crossover to the event, Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill feels like it should have been, because it uses the destroy and rebuild concept a lot better than those other crossover stories; with the exception of Thor, it's a far better story than the others. I thought it was pretty generous of Marvel to take a character like Beta Ray Bill and make him seem pretty important.
For those who do not know, Beta Ray Bill is an alien with all the powers of Thor, whom Odin deemed worthy to possess a hammer of his own called Stormbreaker. He considers Asgard another home, along with recognizing Thor as an oath-brother. He was introduced during Walt Simonson's legendary run and he is a pretty cool character. This TPB collects Stormbreaker 1 - 6 and it's written by Michael Avon Oeming with artwork
by Andrea DiVito, who were both behind Thor: Disassembled.
The beginning is really good with Bill's people trying to fight off Galactus with their heavily armed military. This quickly gets ugly and Bill soon becomes locked in battle with Stardust. Eventually their battle makes up a good portion of the story, and soon other elements come into play. There's also a second plot taking place with some of the Korbite people, and the reader will get to see how they deal with this threat. Oeming's writing isn't as engaging as it was in Thor: Disassembled, because that was a completely different tale that required the depth it got. This on the other hand still manages to do several things right as Oeming delivers some good action and a bit of character development. The only problems I can think of, is that the story felt a bit weak in the middle and the ending even felt a little rushed. In any case, it did its job by carrying over the concept of Ragnarok, proving that Beta Ray Bill is still closely linked to the Asgardians more than Thor realized.
I loved the artwork here from beginning
to end. It was very consistent with some beautiful coloring. The sci-fi setting was a breath of fresh air; there are some gorgeous backgrounds of burning suns, high energy flame attacks, and supernovas. The character designs.... Galactus is awesome, very intimidating and god-like, as he bathes in the lava-filled destruction. The action panels may not be too imaginative, but the flashy artwork make them look a lot better than what they really are.
Stormbreaker would have actually benefited
from a little less action and more character analysis when I think about it. The action can feel a bit long and it somewhat tried my patience. I don't think the middle and ending were as good as the beginning. However, this doesn't mean it's anywhere near a bad book. I'm sure action fans will enjoy it more than I did. I don't think
it's truly necessary to read Thor: Disassembled, since this story doesn't really rely on it, but it would help. I will say that someone unfamiliar with Beta Ray Bill can actually start here. His aggressiveness
and strength in battle will probably win him some fans. If you come into this story first and like it, then I recommend The Mighty Thor: The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill.
-Some outstanding artwork, easy to get through
-Doesn't follow up the awesome beginning like it should have