Patrick: Secret Wars isn’t something that’s happening to the Marvel Universe. Secret Wars is the result of specific planning and action from an entire team of editors, publishers, writers and artists. It exists by sheer force of will and accomplishment, about as intentional of a thing as can happen in comics. Loki: Agent of Asgard 14, bearing the “Last Days of” banner, explores the idea of the agency of the storyteller, even if that storyteller happens to be a character from within the story. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 12, originally released March 18th, 2015.
“It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.”
Rachel Dawes, Batman Begins
Spencer: If there’s one character who’s taken these words to heart even more than Batman, it’s Loki. From its very first issue, Loki: Agent of Asgard has been about Loki attempting to change his destiny by erasing the sins of his past and replacing them with noble missions. If nobody could remember his crimes, then surely that would make him a good person, right? On that same wavelength, King Loki poses a threat because his actions threaten to trap his young counterpart in the role of “villain” for all of eternity. It’s this idea of a narrative defining a character, established over 12 issues, that makes King Loki’s big twist hit so hard: actions mean nothing. Loki is Loki, and nothing can change that. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Loki: Agent of Asgard 11, originally released February 18th, 2015.
Spencer: When reading a new book, it’s easy to feel like the story is malleable. Sure, we know the ending has already been written, and, in fact, is already printed on the upcoming pages, but until we’ve actually read those pages, there’s always a feeling of freedom, like maybe, if we wish hard enough, we can push the story in the direction we want it to go. Once we’ve finished the book, though, that feeling goes away; the ending was always concrete, but now that we’ve seen it with our own eyes, the idea that maybe we can influence its outcome essentially vanishes. Al Ewing and Lee Garbett make that idea literal in Loki: Agent of Asgard 11. The series has always been about Loki’s attempt to reform, but the arrival of his evil future self — “King Loki” — essentially makes that impossible. If King Loki represents the end of Loki’s story, as plain is if it’s written on the page, then what chance could Loki possibly have to escape that fate? Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Thor 4, originally released January 28th, 2014.
Spencer: Would my life be different if I had a different name? Back in high school I thought Spencer was a nerdy sounding name and that it gave me an automatic handicap when it came to being “cool,” but now that I’ve matured I’ve come to realize that my name didn’t dictate my personality or path in life. Still, as I’ve grown to love and appreciate my name it’s come to feel like an intrinsic part of my personality; it may not have shaped my life, but it’s grown with me and absorbed my qualities, and if somebody took my name away from me, it would feel like I was losing a part of myself. That’s the exact situation Thor Odinson finds himself facing in Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s Thor 4, an issue that firmly establishes the new Thor while also showing just exactly what that means for the old one. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Thor 3, originally released November 12th, 2014.
Taylor: Despite what you may think of them, the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies are amazing for one thing in particular. No, I’m not talking about the infinite pools of blue that are Orlando Bloom’s eyes, I’m talking about the insane amount of detail present in each installment. From swords wielded by extras on down to the authentic briar used to create Gandalf’s pipe, it all is produced with detail and realism in mind. And while Thor may not be known for its realism, the series does possess a staggering amount of detail which I find positively delightful. Thor 3 is an exemplar of this and is another solid installment in this run. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Thor 2, originally released November 12th, 2014.
Taylor: One of the best (and if I’m being totally honest with myself, the very best) parts of visiting a comic book convention is seeing the costumes donned by the attendees. It’s rare that you get to see grown men and women enthusiastically dressed in costumes which reference their pastimes. In particular, I’ve always enjoyed the gender-swapped costumes which many an industrious con-goer has crafted. It speaks to a reader’s dedication when they take the time to craft a costume that is at once recognizable as being the character in question, but also bold enough to envision that character as a different gender. The reboot of Thor, with a lady acting as the titular character, seems to have taken ques from the bold women who have gender swapped heroes in the past. In similar fashion, this She-Thor doesn’t take guff from anyone and is at once assured and powerful. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Thor 1, originally released October 1st, 2014.
Taylor: The internet is a powerful beast that once mobilized can bring on a sea-change in our society. Many of the recent and memorable movements in the world have been brought about in large part due to social media and other online resources. The likes of the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring are testaments to the power of the internet and at this point it is clear that any meaningful change in the world might just begin in front of a computer screen. In much the same way, women are using the internet to voice their opposition to the inequalities they face everywhere from the workplace to the glossy pages of comic books. Of the latter, while there is still much reform to be had, there are clear signs that things are getting better. There is perhaps no better example of this than the transformation of Thor into a female character, and as issue 1 of this series shows, perhaps we need ladies in comics more than we could have ever believed. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 21, originally released April 16th, 2014.
Spencer: To tell a good story, characters need to face consequences for their actions. Just look at Heroes, where characters could quit jobs, disappear for months at a time, or even switch between “good” and “evil” at the drop of a dime without ever facing any consequences, thus giving us little reason to care about what the characters did, since none of it mattered anyway. Contrast that with, say, Breaking Bad, where every decision the characters make, no matter how small, has the chance to ruin their lives; everybody’s actions matter, causing the viewer to become invested in the story and pay close attention to what happens. Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic follow the latter example, fortunately, in Thor: God of Thunder 21, which finds both versions of the titular god dealing with the consequences of actions he took in previous issues. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 20, originally released March 19th, 2014.
Spencer: As its name would suggest, Thor: God of Thunder is a book concerned with the more theistic side of Thor’s existence. Although at first glance this current storyline seems more interested in environmentalism than examining godhood, that doesn’t mean this element is missing completely; it just means that Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic are making us work a little harder to find it. After all, this issue features two different versions of the thunder god, a cosmic force so powerful that he makes gods tremble, and an evil CEO with the ego of a god. What’s the one thing they all have in common? They all do whatever they want, no matter what the consequences may be.
Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 13, originally released October 9th, 2013.
Ethan: If you’re like most people, when someone asks you what type of music you prefer, you reply “oh, most kinds” or “I’m not picky” or “pretty much anything except [insert genre name].” That said, no matter how coy you are about your favorites, when you find a band that really grabs you, that buzzes to your bones in just the right way – a way that feels a little bit like it must be unique, like it was kinda-sorta written for you specifically – it’s a wonderful thing. So for at least one tour cycle you’re set, maybe you see them live, maybe you wait after the show to get some autographs, and you hear the music in your sleep. But when the interval ends, when the band goes off the grid to put together their next album, there’s room for trepidation. What if their new songs don’t have that special texture that the old ones do? What if they sound EXACTLY the same and there’s no new magic? Well, as far as I’m concerned, Jason Aaron is facing off with a very similar situation in Thor: God of Thunder #14. His first God-Bomb arc knocked it out of the park with great big ideas like faith and deity, and the current question is whether or not he can do it again using dwarves, elves, and goats. Continue reading →