Opportunity Lost / by Erin Wade


The recent turn of Thor - which features a female version of the Thunder God - came up for sale on Comixology at $0.99/issue, so I snapped them up. I had been waiting for them to show up on Marvel Unlimited, which is sort of like Netflix for Marvel Comics, but that seems to be taking some time, and I've been looking forward to reading this, so I took the opportunity.

I wish I had waited.

There was, as I recall, a fair amount of controversy surrounding this artistic (and, let's be honest, marketing) decision. I've been a fan of the Norse Myths - both the "originals" and Marvel's version - since I was very young. To me, this was an opportunity to provide some new life and perspective into an old story, as well as offering a bit more focus on female characters.

Unfortunately, it's poorly told.

They could have told a complex story that shows the individual strength of a female character in a subtly patriarchal society. Instead, the authors made the decision to distill Odin - a truly, intensely complicated character - down into a base, sexist pig as a foil against which to have its female characters fence. They might just as well have have put a beard and eye patch on Archie Bunker and had him told Freyja to stifle and get him a beer.

I have other difficulties with the series. The artwork is mediocre at best, with a handful of nice moments (Mjollnir flying into the month of a Frost Giant and then out the back of his head among them) spoiled by a preponderance of lazy work that relies upon colored hammer flight paths rather than showing real action much of the time. It is, in fact, often difficult to determine what is actually supposed to have happened from what is drawn on the page. Additionally, the artist appears to believe that shorter male facial hair should look like AstroTurf - and Thor - the male character - is drawn in the fashion of Chris Hemsworth in a light beard, so there's a lot of AstroTurf on display.

In addition, the entire storyline relies upon Marvel's concept that Mjollnir can only be lifted by the "worthy". This seems, again, artistically lazy, given that it's been a repeated mechanism drawn upon in the movies of late. I also personally struggle with it because, as a long-time fan, I recall that the enchantment that causes this was removed by Odin in the Walt Simonson run of the comic series (Issue 340) back in 1984. I'm sure, given the intricacies of comic book continuity it was re-established somewhere along the way, but I struggle with it nonetheless.

The whole run seems an opportunity lost.