Odin has always been a terrible All-Father, but now, on the eve of The War of the Realms, he aims to prove it even more by challenging Thor to a fight.
The Thor series for the past several issues, minus one, have felt more so like set-up for “The War of the Realms” than telling actually stories that matter pertaining to the character of Thor. They haven’t been bad by any means, but it’s hard not to miss the character driven stories that have permeated through Jason Aaron’s run on the character. This issue though, bucks that trend and is both set-up and a character-driven story, and a saddening one at that.
This is issue is a rare Thor story that is told from the perspective of Odin. Given that Odin is often portrayed as, to quote Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Recreation, “The worst,” one would reasonably think there would no way that a single issue could make you feel sorry for Odin. Somehow though, this issue does. He’s still awful, and actions speak louder than other thoughts he has throughout the issue. But you actually feel for Odin.
Odin isn’t the only horrible father in this issue though, with Loki’s birth father, Laufey being horrible as well. He and Odin really do have a lot in common. This issue does a great job illustrating how Thor and Loki are two sides of the same coin, both trying to step out of the shadows of their fathers before the shadow swallows them whole. Whereas you feel bad for Odin, you definitely don’t feel the same way about Laufey. In fact, you want him to die on the spot because of his actions.
Image by Marvel Comics/Art by Mike Del Mundo
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But really though, the emphasis of this issue is on Odin’s regrets as the All-Father. His regrets as a god. His regrets as a father. His failures at reconciling his thoughts with his actions. Thor beats him to a bloody pulp all while thinking that he loves his son. But instead of saying that, he continues to act like Odin. As a selfish, idiot of an oaf and a worthless god. The only reason that you’re thankful that Thor doesn’t finally kill him is because we can actually hear his thoughts for once.
A disappointing area of this issue is the art. Mike Del Mundo actually continues to do a great job on the series, including this issue, but the problem is that the art style doesn’t quite fit the tone of the issue. Del Mundo’s style is very exaggerated and cartoonish at points which kind of takes away from the more serious and darker story being told. None of the art is bad, and he absolutely nails some of the darker aspects of the issues, as well as a splash page of Thor growing up. But sometimes, the exaggerated features feel awkward compared with story being told.
The latest issue of Thor manages to tell a compelling story while also setting up “The War of the Realms,” which the series had mostly fell flat previously.