Thor #2 Review: Galactus return to power

The Devourer King

Part Two – Lightning and Hunger

Thor now a Herald of Galactus has a vision of a black winter that destroyed a previous universe. Thor leads Galactus to one of the five enchanted planets, Clypse. Inhabited, Thor tells Galactus that he should move on to one of the other planets. He doesn’t care. He needs all the planets if he’s going to survive the black winter. Thor refuses to allow him to consume the planet. Galactus knocks Thor out of orbit, sending him crashing into Clypse. Mjolnir continues to increase in weight, but Thor can still manage to wield it. He throws it at Galactus, blowing off several of his fingers. Enraged, Galactus tells him that Thor “exist solely by the grace he was given.” Thor retorts that he only serves Asgard. Mjolnir then rips through the left knee of Galactus.

Thor is then assaulted by the indigenous species of Clypse. Using sticks, axes and boulders they surround Thor overwhelming him. Galactus take advantage of this interference, deploying his Elemental Converter. He begins consuming the planet. Hugin and Munin are sent to Asgard so Thor may speak through them. He tells Sif to use the Bifrost to save the citizens of Clypse. Thor promises the leaders of Clypse that he will give them “refuge until such time as he can replenish their world of the energy Galactus is going to drain.” However, Galactus shows no restraint and destroys the planet. Now embedded with more power than ever, Galactus attempts to kill Thor. However, Thor is hit in the face by Stormbreaker and Galactus is hit with a barrage of missiles. Beta Ray Bill accompanied by a warship, asks Thor to step aside while he “talk” to Galactus.

This issue continues to impress. I like that the second issue quickly moved to Thor being the Herald. This issue generally revolves around how Thor will handle the likely genocide that will result from Galactus feeding. This is a common theme that often revolves around Galactus. Both Thor and Galactus seem to be too willing to kill each other, considering the stakes. They both need each other. Beta Ray Bill further complicates this dynamic. I predict that Thor will have to fight Bill but once he explains the danger they will work together.

Thor #1 Review

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Thor #1 Review: A Spectacular New Chapter for the New King of Asgard

Thor #1

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Nic Klein
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel
Released: January 1st, 2020


The Devourer King

The Black Winter (Part One)

Thor is one of Marvel’s most iconic superheroes. Even prior to the MCU, Thor was a house hold name. Personally, I was always indifferent towards him. He’s cool enough, but I never found him to be interesting the way I did other heroes. In Thor #1, written by Donny Cates and illustrated by Nic Klein, follows Thor as he takes the throne. After the War of the Realms, Thor has rebuilt his fathers golden palace with wood and stone. Thor is seemingly overwhelmed by his new status and the responsibility that comes with it. However, he does feel that it’s his throne. When Loki arrives to mock him, asking “how does it feel to sit on father’s throne?” Thor responds with “I wouldn’t know, brother. I’ve only ever sat on mine.”

Thor has no issue displaying that he not only is he the “All-Father” now, he has inherited all the power that the title entails. However, Thor has been feeling the weight of Mjolnir grow over time. He’s unsure why.

Galactus falls to Asgard in Thor #1.
Galactus falls to Asgard

Galactus falls from the sky

The devourer of Worlds, falls to the ground. He’s is exhausted, frostbitten and missing the mower part of his right arm. Reacting to the arrival of Galactus, Thor armed with Mjolnir prepares to attack. However, Galactus begs him to stop. Mumbling something about the “Great Black Winter” before passing out. Weeks later, the appearance of Galactus appears to have brought death to Asgard. The tree of life, Yggdrasil, has begun to die.

Meanwhile, Thor has gathered the Heralds of Galactus, wanting to learn of the impeding “Star Plague,” and “Black Winter.” A newly blackened Silver Surfer arrive to explain that the Black Winter has many names but “one truth.” It is the “one true end.” However, Galactus had survived two black winters. Silver Surfer believes that he must face this one as well. According to Silver Surfer, Galactus must feed. Having gained and kept secret knowledge of five “special planets,” that would increase the powers of Galactus. Silver Surfer will now offer them to Galactus.

Thor, Herald of Thunder
Thor, Herald of Thunder

Thor, Herald of Galactus

Silver Surfer offers himself as the herald of Galactus, with Thor offering his services. However, Galactus refuses. When you “gaze into the Black Winter,” . . . “you see the form of your own true death,” he says. Galactus states that when he saw the form of his death, it was Thor. Embedding Thor with the power cosmic, Galactus turns him into the “Herald of Thunder.” His plan is to join forces with Thor to defeat the Black Winter, then they will deal with his vision. I had no expectation going into reading this comic. Like Jonathan Hickman, I wasn’t familiar with Donny Cates work. I can’t speak to the quality of his previous work but I’m impressed. Cates gives Thor some complexity, although he does resemble Odin quite a bit. His storytelling is easily digestible, despite a more complex story.

Along with a new writer, comes a new art team. Nic Klein (artist), with Matthew Wilson (colorist) and Joe Sabino (letterer). As usual the art is what originally drew me in. Klein’s art style has a sketchy feel to it. Wilson complements Klein’s style well, using muted colors that don’t over power the line work. If I have any issues it that I get the impression that many comics are the beginning of some cosmic level event. Regardless, I’m excited for this series. And Black Silver Surfer and Thor, Herald of Thunder look cool.

Powers of X #6: Recap and Review

I have often pointed out that I found Powers of X to be inferior series to the House of X. A large reason for this the future timeline that I find to be uninteresting. Set a thousand years into the future, this timeline mostly depicts how “humanity” or the current inhabitants of Earth end. I think this issue makes a case for why this timeline matters or at least made the timeline more interesting. It turns out that mutants still exists, but in a zoo, the Preserve, for “near extinct species.” The Librarian encounters Wolverine and Moira that have been trapped in the Preserve. The Librarian informs them that they will be absorbed by the Phalanx, which will then merge with the god intellect, a Dominion. He will have Moira and Wolverine sent “off-world.” He believes that if Moira dies that timeline reset, resulting in the intellect of the Librarian not getting carried on.

However, if he is absorbed before Moira dies he will be absorbed into the Dominion, which exists “beyond space and time.” This would allow his knowledge to exists even if Moira does reset the timeline. He is uncertain of his decision to ascend. Would it be better to “existence as a portion of a divine intelligence or to continuing to exist as he does.” The Librarian notes that “mutants are an evolutionary response to their environment,” but humanity “stopped being beholden to the environment.” With “man” freeing itself, using the “building blocks of biology and technology,” a new “superhuman race” was born, Homo novissima. We were given the impression that the machines took over humanity, betraying them. According to the Librarian it was the opposite. Using machines to “stall for time,” humanity was finally able to transcend mutant kind.

Despite his assumption that humanity has won and he will be “immortal,” Wolverine kills him. I found this moment funny even if it was intended to be. Regardless, Moira sixth life finally ends as Wolverine kills her again. Armed with the knowledge of how humanity evolves, Moira meets Charles Xavier once again. She tells him that this time she plans to ” break him of his hope and idealism,” and “unite all mutants.” In the present, Magneto and Xavier discuss the first meeting of the Quiet Council. Moira makes it clear that they cannot resurrect Destiny, at Mystique’s request as ” they (precogs) will see the truth Moira has endeavored to keep secret; that mutant kind always loses.” This is a potentially interesting conflict that could arise. Mystique isn’t stupid so it’s only a matter of time before she realizes that they don’t intend to give her what she wants.

To that point, it seems implausible that there isn’t another precog mutant in existence or that there won’t be in the future. How would Xavier and Magneto stop those mutants, how far would they go? Anyway, that’s a question for another day I guess. Despite my criticism of the future timeline, I loved this series. I assumed the Librarian was a future mutant, but it turns out he was a future human. This and the House of X series make it clear that humanity is inferior to mutants on an evolutionary level. This issue showed us what happens when humans simply ignore evolution. House of X and Powers of X have set a new bar for storytelling in comics (or at least recent X-Men series) creating a new status quo. Unfortunately, I’m certain this quality of art and story will not be the standard. Hopefully, Hickman will continue to write new stories and I’m hoping other writers can keep up.

House of X #6: Recap and Review

Charles Xavier’s change of heart

The final issue of House of X has finally arrived. House of X #6, “I am not ashamed,” concludes the phenomenal series. Having successfully established a home for mutants on Krakoa, Charles Xavier uses Cerebro to inform humanity that they have created three miracle drugs. However, since humanity had tried too kill mutants too often, humans must pay for the drugs. This moment official marks when Xavier announces that he no longer believes in his dream for harmony. Xavier has shifted his view to more of a mutant supremacists view shared by Magneto and Apocalypse. While not hostile in terms of violence toward humans, it is a dramatic change from his initial position. Anyone familiar enough with X-Men, know that this is an important change of heart for Xavier. In a way I find it sad, even though it’s necessary.

The first meeting of the Quiet Council of Krakoa

The council consists of Professor X, Magneto, Apocalypse, Mister Sinister, Exodus, Mystique, Sebastian Shaw (Black King), Emma Frost (White Queen), and empty seat for someone known as the Red King, Storm, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Cypher and Krakoa. The Great Captains were separate from the Quiet Council, they were responsible for defending the state of Krakoa. The Captain Commander is Cyclops, with Gorgon, Bishop and Magik rounding out the group. Their first business for the council to address is to pass judgement on Sabertooth. He is guilty of murdering several guards while on a mission. The council are tasked with creating new mutant laws. Apocalypse points out that mutants cannot truly be killed now, so how can they be murdered? Jean suggests that because of this, killing a human would be the crime of the highest order. Then council establishes that the other two laws are “make more mutants,” and “respect this sacred land (Krakoa).”

Punishment in Krakoa

Xavier tells Sabertooth that he will be the first to be judged. He believes that “no one is above mutant law.” The judgement for Sabertooth is unanimous. Guilty. Sabertooth of course is pissed. He threatens to kill them, their kids, their grand-kids and “make their lines extinct.” Sabertooth is sentence to “Stasis inside Krakoa.” Professor X suggests that “prisons aren’t tolerated on Krakoa.” This seems a bit hypocritical to me as prison is not just cages and bars. Exiling Sabertooth to the center of Krakoa with him remaining “alive but immobile” is far crueler than prison is. The issue ends with a big party, marking a turning point in the X-Men series.

As you know by now I love this series. It’s ending is hopefully, but it’s unlikely to last. Humanity isn’t going to tolerate this utopia, even if most of the mutants seem to. House of X marries the two things that make a comic book series great, magnificent art (Pepe Larraz) and great storytelling (Hickman). This assumes that the quality of writing will be on par with Hickman, which is unlikely. That said, the future of the X-line seems to be bright. House of X is worth the read and will change your understanding of the X-Men universe. Let’s hope that future writers and artists take the newly established world, and continue to create great X-Men stories.

Batman/Superman #1: Recap and Review

Batman/Superman #1

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: David Marquez

Letters: John J. Hill

Colors: Alejandro Sanchez


Batman and Superman join forces again

Batman and Superman are the two most iconic superheroes in comics. So putting them together in one comic series seems to make sense. I’m personally not familiar with the work of Joshua Williamson and David Marquez, but from what I’ve read they’re both great creators. The familiarity with Superman and Batman allows Williamson to jump right in. Batman/Superman #1, starts off with Clark Kent working on a story at the Daily Planet. Batman calls Clark in a panic. It’s quickly apparent that somethings wrong with Batman. His “voice sounds different,” as Superman notes. He seems petty, as he compares the tragic events that costed them their parents. He believes that “there is nothing that should make them allies.” Confusing Superman.

Batman and Superman in Gotham. Who are the secret six?
Superman arrives to meet Batman

Enter the Batman Who Laughs

When Superman arrives at the Justice League satellite, he witnesses the carnage that the Batman who laughs created. He poisons the air with “kryptonite-infused gas,” as Superman asks why? We return to current time on Earth-O, in Gotham City. Batman is explaining the Batman who laughs to Superman, while Commissioner Gordon waits. He explains that a thirteen year old boy named Danny Mills was kidnapped. According to the boys brother a “laughing Superman” kidnapped him. Batman and Superman leave to search for the boy. Batman asks Superman, “how would he stop an out of control Batman.” Superman crashes through the ground in Crime Alley (where Batman’s parent died) to enter a secret passage below.

Superman being choked by the Shazam who laughs.
Who will win?

Enter the Shazam Who Laughs

Batman and Superman encounter Batdrones in the Batcave of the Batman Who Laughs. They investigate the cave, learning that he has infected his batarangs with the serum that created him. As they question the motives of the other Batman, they notice a “message” on the chess board. When Superman moves a piece, they see an image of the Justice League, the Titans and Teen Titans with x’s on their eyes and lipstick on their mouths. Batman deduces that this is all part of his plan. They can’t know who’s infected, so they would suspect everyone. Suddenly, Batman is attacked by one of the Batman who laughs, Robins. He begins to talk about being “taken from his family and hit with a batarang.” This boy isn’t Danny. It’s Billy Batson. He says Shazam, transforming into the Shazam who laughs.


Conclusion

Batman/Superman #1 was spectacular. There can be a sense of inevitability to the outcome when both Batman and Superman are working together. Who can best them. If they encounter several members of the Justice League that have been infected with the laughing serum, they may not have a easy time. The Batman Who Laughs is a villain that can contend with these to. The writing from Joshua Williamson is magnificent. We get some insight into the relationship between Superman and Batman, while the mystery of what the Batman Who Laughs is up to is intriguing. The art of Marquez is perfect. His detailed art style matches well with the tone of this series. These two together have created a series that is worth reading. I highly recommend it.