A new Thor faces old enemies, and one new one (he’s hiding from Thor though), but is separated from the hammer Mjolnir. There’s a fight approaching, and Thor #3 Offers:
- Strong fantasy artwork, with good use of whitespace and gutters
- An solid cast of characters
- A discussion about power and influence: how it is gained and maintained
The artwork makes use of two key settings – the Frost Giant Castle Utgard, and the Roxxon Corporate stronghold. Fantasy elements are brought into the art with reference to The Lord of the Rings, and clever use of gutters separates Thor from Mjolnir
On the opening pages, the artwork shows the castle of the Frost Giants – Utgard – against a backdrop of the dark, unending winter-night skies of Jotunheim. Layered on top of the sky is a map of the main Jotenheim continents. The map is drawn in the style of a Middle Earth map from The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. Skrymir, guardian of the citadel, tells Malekith a dark winter’s tale. These scenes show the blue ice sculpted halls of Utgard. Malekith stands out in his black, fluffy coat.
When the scene shifts to the Roxxon Corporations base, there is a clever design choice in the separation of scenes using gutters, which is the white space between panels on the page. Thor stands on one side of a secure bunker door. Frost Giants are ready to do battle with her, but Mjolnir is stuck on the other side of the door. Dario Egger, the shapeshifting CEO of the Roxxon corporation, hides inside that bunker. Trapped inside the bunker, is the hammer Mjolnir. The page gutter is used to separate Thor from her hammer. The bunker door is depicted as the solid white space separating the panels.
Thor contends with Frost Giants, Malekith, and Dario Egger, the ruthless Roxxon CEO. Each character has an interesting set of motivations. Malekith manipulates expertly, and appears to have a long plan in place
The main source of danger in this comic comes from separating Thor from her hammer. By doing so, Thor has to deal with the questions of how she can maintain her power and influence as the Thunder god of the Marvel Universe without Mjolnir. Frost Giants and the Dark Elf mage Malekith – The villains of Thor and Thor: The Dark World respectively – add to mounting pressure on the new Thor. Despite losing the hammer, she changes tactics, and relies on confident rhetoric, and her massive strength.
The Frost Giant Skrymir tells a story of how Frost Giants treat their children. Frost Giant children are cast out into a powerful ice storm. The survivors are celebrated, and the others forgotten. This use of story telling sets atmosphere, and builds up the cruel character of the Frost Giants.
Dario Egger hides in a bunker, and makes a point of how things he finds are his property. His moral range extends to the limited capacity of “Finders Keepers”. Malekith is a manipulator here. He instigates the entire conflict in the story, and appears to be working on his own plan, playing the Frost Giants like chess pieces. He successfully goads Egger into revealing his true form – a Minotaur.
A question is asked by this comic: how is power and influence found and held? Each character has power, and through the storytelling, uses various means to restore or gain more power and influence. Thor’s decisions cement the comic’s values: gain power (and responsibility) by overcoming difficult odds
The comic seems to ask a question about how power and influence found and held. Like the Frost Giants treatment of their children, is it gained by overcoming cruelty, and surviving? Or like Dario Egger, is power found through bargaining and theft? Like Malekith, is power and influence found through manipulation? The new Thor, in this issue, gains power by fighting even when the odds of victory are completely against her.
The comic is placing value in overcoming difficult odds. This becomes clear through Thor’s struggle with gaining power and influence, and the responsibilities that come with it. The ability to use positive self-talk under pressure helps Thor fight off the challenges thrown at her. This is another strong point put forward by Thor #3.
Thor #3 is published by Marvel Comics ($3.99 USD). Jason Aaron (W.) Russel Dauterman (A.), Matthew Wilson (C.) VC’s Joe Sabino (L.) Cover artwork by Dauterman and Wilson.