If you’re looking for any big reveals this month of the identity of the new female Thor, they’re not to be found in this issue. What will be found is lots of action, the continuing mystery and breathtaking art. It is the art that makes this new Thor feel like a grand piece of music rather than rendered art sitting on the shelf.
The first issue of this relaunch focused on the ruin of Odinson (male Thor, for those who were not aware he had another name). This time, our mystery lady takes the whole stage: learning powers, saving the day and constantly questioning just how much power comes from Mjölnir. The biggest point of debate isn’t about the identity of the new Thor. It isn’t revealed and there are just a few points to be made from this issue in an argument on her true identity. The bigger debate comes from thought bubbles verses speech bubbles. There is an inane notion that in order to show a character talking to themselves in comics you have to use both. What usually follows is a lettering headache of jumbled bubbles and silly realizations of what this would look at sound like in real life. The character is usually reduced to a crazy person who makes no sense. Instead, this tactic is used to show the influence of Mjölnir on it’s bearer. The juxtaposition of speech patterns and fonts will not be enough to appease some readers. However, it’s a clever way to using lettering to be a major player in the story. It also helps the hammer to be more of a character, in it’s own right, instead of just a weapon or tool. Dialogue at the tail end of the story acknowledges some of the typical tropes of “let’s make fun of the woman who cannot be as good as the man.” Of course this new Thor quickly shows she’s just as capable. It’s not carried out in an offensive manner, just unsurprising. Hopefully, it’s not a plot beat that comes up constantly, interrupting the libretto.
With the continued teaser story being played out, it is Dauterman’s art and Matt Wilson’s colors that are the true stars of this book. The style does a double duty of paying tribute the the feelings established by Esad Ribic’s Thor: God of Thunder run. However, Dauterman brings a clarity and focus on this new character while keeping the action fluid. A perfect example is a panel where she lands with Mjölnir slamming into the ground. The sound effect is cracked into the ground around the landing site. Wilson’s colors then provide a multidimensional effect. There are several panels where it would be easy for the images to get muddled. Avengers frozen in ice are clear and distinct. Their colors are recognizable even with the blue layers on top. Dauterman makes certain to never have the cape just falling in a straight-jacket fashion, but always moving. The fights scenes build to a cacophony of movement and sound effects, yet, the discordant colors work together to create a crescendo of action. If there is one key reason to pick up this book, it is to witness the brilliance of Dauterman & Wilson’s rhythmic artistic partnership, Der Ring des Nibelungen come to the comics page with the whimsy of The Magic Flute.
While readers might feel like they’re being kept in a holding pattern, being teased about Thor’s identity, the action is building her personality. This teaser is then married with the overwhelming beauty of such a well matched art team and lettering seamlessly, intrinsically worked into the story. A fun, although not necessary, read if time and money allow.
The Verdict: 8.0/10