Marvel Pick Of The Week – September 2, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

Thors 3, by Jason Aaron, Chris Sprouse, and Goran Sudzuka

One of the best parts of Marvel’s successful summer crossover is that it has freed creators up to move in scores of astounding directions. The main series is about how Doctor Doom saved a few dozen pieces of dying worlds and stuck them together on a piecemeal planet called Battleworld. Tie-in books either cover life in one of the worlds, like barbarian king Arkon cutting his way through magma warriors and swamp people in Weirdworld or Elsa Bloodstone shooting up a ton of the titular Marvel Zombies, or they follow characters like Old Man Logan or the Runaways visiting a string of neighboring kingdoms. What sets Jason Aaron’s Thors apart is that it builds a police procedural as good as Gotham Central in DC or Powers in Icon, staffs the department with a hundred versions of Thor, and sets a few of them on a homicide case that stirs up the muck of Doom’s empire. The Thors exist outside any one kingdom, and the book uses that fact with confidence and power.

The first issue introduced the main characters – heroic but naive Chris Hemsworth, bigoted Rune Thor, grouchy forensic expert Frog Of Thunder, doomed partner Beta Ray Thor, and several other charmingly apt fits for the Cop Show archetypes. They were researching the murders of variants of Jane Foster across the kingdoms of Battleworld, and after Beta Ray Thor questioned Loki about it, he was found dead. In the second issue, the Thors poured their grief into stunning displays of brutality, and Chris Hemsworth arrested Loki with the help of the unworthy Odinson. This issue looks at interrogation in the world of the Thors, another of my favorite police procedural tropes. Conversations between Thor and his clever half-brother are usually good, but across a bare table in a concrete room, every line sizzles. Hemsworth is desperate to pin the murders on Loki, but Loki keeps suggesting that the Thors have a reason that all of them quiver when someone says the name “Jane Foster” or “Donald Blake.” It hits a nerve, sending Hemsworth deep into the zombie territory of the Deadlands to fight shocking answers about the crimes.

This comic is top-notch. It owes its existence to Doom’s Secret Wars, but readers don’t need that series to love this one, and in many ways, this is the superior book. It’s telling a classic mystery story using beloved police procedural tropes, staying intelligent without dipping into self-aware satire. This is the best Thor series I have ever read, and I’ve loved the female-driven relaunch. I know there is no possible way for this series to continue after the crossover is over, but I want every annual special to revisit a Thor cop story from here on out. I’m not sure if I should direct that prayer to Doom or Odin, but I think both of them would be on board.

Honorable Mentions:

Star-Lord And Kitty Pryde 3, because whether you love or hate the Star-Lord and Kitty relationship, this page is just about perfect romance. Swoon.

Spider-Island 3, because you may be hot stuff, but you are NOT Agent Venom shooting his way through an army of scary spider-people. Swoon.

Groot 4, because no matter how many times comic books riff on the Wolverine-Under-The-Hellfire-Club panel, I love it. And putting baby Groot in is like getting chocolate in my peanut butter.

Catch up on previous Picks here!

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