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November 15, 2007


z ryan

But if you stop reading, how will you ever find out what J. Michael Straczynski thinks about school vouchers?!

Mark Engblom

LOL! You're right z ryan, what was I thinking? We all wait on baited breath for JMS's world-weary insights into today's headlines.

Brian Disco Snell

Sadly, I doth agree with yon above opinion. Verily, thou hast said a mouthful! It dost sucketh!


Interesting-- I was at the comics shop today, saw thor on the rack and (thinking of your great thor post the other day) wondered what you thought of the new title. And here's your review! (It's like we share a mind (:).

I've never been impressed with JMS's writing, either on Spider-Man or the dour Babylon 5 (truly, the poor man's deep space nine), so I imagine I wouldn't care for his thor, either. Love the Fred Thompson comparison-- kind of looks like him, too, with those big jowls.

But you dare to besmirch the wonderful ron perlman?? For shame-- the man was great on both B&B and Hellboy! (: I tease, but he actually is good in both of those, which have given me more pleasure than JMS's work.

Mark Engblom

Oh, I think Perlman's great....but I couldn't help associating him in his Beast makeup with Copiel's utterly bizarre take on Thor's face.

As for the timing of my Thor mini-review: Wow! Glad I was able to answer your questions! LOL!


That Beast comparison is frightening and hilarious.

Greg Walter

Not crazy about this Thor. My Marvel Icons Thor standing on my desk also is bowing his head in shame.

Which leads to a great question, which you've probably covered: what reboots have really worked? I'm always happy when DC does the Golden Age right, such as JSA or the lovely Starman series. But that doesn't really count as a reboot? Otherwise it's just badness and wonkstasy (like ecstasy only wonky). Two word: clone Parker.

Mark Engblom

Good question, Greg. True, most reboots don't work very well, but here's a few of them I think were quite successful:

1. Len Wein and George Perez's Wonder Woman reboot, circa 1986 or so. Just a fantastic retooling of the mythos by simultaneously cutting away alot of the nonessential junk and bringing in a much stronger tie to Greek mythology.

2. Though never really positioned as a "reboot", John Byrne's long run on The Fantastic Four throughout much of the 1980's is second only to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's classic first 100 issues. Arguably Byrne's greatest and most memorable contribution to the comic book art form.

3. Frank Miller's magnificent run on Daredevil, which had previously been a fairly generic superhero title, but was transformed into a gritty, urban epic.

4. Alan Moore's revolutionary run on Swamp Thing is definitely one of the most radical yet satisfying "tune-ups" of any character.

5. More recently, Geoff Johns' near miraculous revival of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern mythos is something everyone should be paying attention to.

6. I've also heard some great things about the Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams reboot of the Batman character in the late 60's/early 70's, though I'm ashamed to say I haven't read much of the stories myself. Definitely on my "To Do" list.

So, while many of the reboots aren't as good as we hope they'll be, there are quite a few that hit home runs.


DEAD ON with the artwork complaints. It seems that everyone and their mom has been going of on Copiel's incredible work here and how awesome his art is and how wonderful it looks and all I could think of was "Did someone hit Thor really hard in the face with a frying pan?"
Just double for everything you said, sir. Now go watch Beowulf and weep for the way things should be.

Mark Engblom

"Now go watch Beowulf and weep for the way things should be."

Yeah, I definitely plan to, Carla! I've heard some great reviews.

You know, maybe Thor's face was flattened by that new helmet of his....with that big protrusion that hangs down from the brim.

As for Copiel's art, like I said, his background characters are quirky and fun....but for whatever reason, he's decided to draw Thor's face as bizarre as possible. I don't get it.


The new Thor look irritates me (weird face aside), and I think I just figured out why. "Thor in quasi-realistic armor" isn't a bad idea... but Simonson did it before, and much better and more distinctively:

Simonson Thor armor

This look is like a wishy-washy middle ground between Kirby's classic-but-odd design and Simonson's armor, and probably irks fans of either look.


Suedenim, thanks for that image. Never seen Thor in that look, and it's pretty interesting, other than the kneepads. Yikes.

Mark Engblom

Gotta say, wasn't too thrilled with the Simonson armor, either. In addition to the crazy-big knee pads, the mask-thingie is a little odd as well. I guess I like the implied audacity of a warrior heading into battle with bare arms. Imagine how intimidating it might have been for, say, a fully armored storm giant to encounter a Thor with no face or arm coverings whatsoever. Just a hammer and smirk.


IMO that's not a particularly great look at the Simonson Thor armor, but it's what came up on Google.

Another look here:

My memory was faulty on one point - I thought "bearded Thor" and "armored Thor" were an exact overlap, but he started wearing the beard significantly before the armor. I really like that look for Thor.

There was a plot reason for Thor's armor in Simonson's run, incidentally. He had to wear the magical armor because Hela had shattered his bones and he otherwise wouldn't be able to do anything.

It makes less sense here, as (I assume?) Thor is his usual super-powerful self, and wouldn't *need* armor for anything other than a fashion statement.

Mark Engblom

I have that run of issues, and...yes...there were extenuating (sp?) circumstances that lead to the armor. I recall that he kept it in some special, extra-dimensional "stash" that he could access when he needed the armor.

Quite a few years before that, writer Roy Thomas featured Thor (and later an imitator) using his Gauntlets of Strength, which actually appear in many of the old Norse myths.

There....that should fulfill your Useless Information quotient for the day!


Anyone else think Simonson's armor might have had a little too much Shogun Warrior action going on?

If Vince Colletta's endearing "we-need-it-inked-yesterday" art stylings couldn't close the Thor store, rampant morosity and a plaid union suit surely won't.

Bjorn Ivarson

Well - while I do NOT agree with any of you on the writing (I personally find MOST of the writing of THOR pretty lame PREVIOUS to JMS's moody and humourous reboot, or the writing right towards the end of the last run) I find I like the plotting of the Simonsen era and I think he got most of it right (considering what he was working with - namely Marvel continuity). I often dream of what it would have been like having Simonsen do a PURE comic retelling of the tales of Asgard. I do have to agree on the art completely.

Thor - should have long blond or preferrably, red hair (by the myth, braided, partially braided, not braided, don't care) MUST have a beard (as it was considered the sign of puberty in Norse culture and we have plenty of clean-shaven heroes), and oh - I dunno - howabout actual Viking chainmail armor and a decent helmet for once? Go ahead and fantasy it up SOME with some Viking masterwork art - he's a GOD for pete's sake, he's not broke - but DO NOT make him all furry and half-naked barbarian ala Conan with a couple of armor pieces and horns. Put in the Gauntlets and the Gird (for you D&D fans of ancient yore - Thor was the origin of the Gauntlets of Ogre Power and the Girdle of Storm Giant Strength) that make him even more powerful, and would look cool too. If they want to keep it simple, just break it down to key elements that are always there and put them on. The rest can get torn off or damaged to make him look heroic etc.

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