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Asgard Falls

April 7, 2010

     Even though the focus of Siege has shifted away from them, the Asgardians are front and center in the current arc of Thor, continuing with Thor #608.  The Hood’s reinforcements are a lot tougher than Balder, Tyr, and Heimdall expected, and Heimdall realizes that the Hood bears the Norn Stones.  Heimdall tells Balder of Loki’s deception, and they go off to find him, leaving Tyr on the front lines.  Tyr comes up with an excuse to leave the battlefield, still afraid of the soothsayer’s prediction.  Meanwhile, Volstagg faces off against Ragnarok.  Afraid of accidentally killing more innocents, Volstagg runs off into the open fields to lure Ragnarok away.  Kelda tries to comfort Bill Jr.’s parents, but they just want her to leave.  When H.A.M.M.E.R. agents show up, she does just that.  In the infirmary, Tyr sees Ares’ dead body.  Cursing himself for being a coward, he runs back into the fray.  Thor fights the Sentry one-on-one, and Volstagg turns around and rejoins the fight with Ragnarok.  Ordering a feigned retreat, Tyr finds the Hood and attempts to retrieve the Norn Stones.  However, the Hood zaps him, badly injuring him and possibly killing him.  Volstagg continues to stand fast against Ragnarok’s blows, even as he is pummelled.  And just then, the Sentry smashes through Asgard, and the whole city collapses.

     Kieron Gillen has done a great job with Thor from day one, and he’s doing well again, despite the fact that the titular character barely even figures in to what’s going on.  Rather, Thor’s involvement in Siege is being covered in the main book, and this story is more about his supporting cast and the book’s ongoing plotlines.  Gillen manages to weave them masterfully into the greater Siege framework, and I especially love what he’s doing with Volstagg.  Volstagg has been my favorite Thor supporting character for a long time, and Gillen almost handles him better than he handles Thor himself.  The accidental massacre at Soldier Field is a great bit of character development for him, and Gillen is using it quite well.  Billy Tan’s work in this arc is much better than in the previous one, largely due, as I said before, to Christina Strain’s colors.  They really fit his work a lot better.  His Volstagg in particular looks great and animated.  Rich Elson’s work is also good, even if, at times, the characters are a tad too statuesque for being in the middle of so heated a battle.  It would have been nice also for some continuity with Ares’ body, which is suddenly not ripped in half.  Post-mortem healing factor?  The destruction of Asgard is a great story beat for things to move forward on after Siege, and I’ve grown to like Tyr after having seen him only in about four issues of comic books.  Although I’m looking forward to Matt Fraction taking over this title, it would have been nice for Gillen to get a longer stay.  Then, he could have worked out his little kinks with his dialogue and really made his mark on this book.

Plot: 9.0      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 8.8      Overall: 9.0

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