Monday, June 29, 2015


Seriously, HERE BE SPOILERS!  In fact, this review is pretty much the definition of HERE BE SPOILERS!  Consider yourself duly warned.

This issue was as great as I expected it to be.  I forced myself to read it slowly, so I didn't just rush to the end to find out the identity of the new Thor.  It's worth reminding yourself to do that, because Aaron and Dauterman really deliver a crackerjack story.

First, Aaron makes you wonder why Marvel keeps giving Hickman event stories, given how beautifully he handles the multitude of heroes that appear in this issue.  He not only manages to get across their distinct personalities in their brief moments of dialogue, but he also has them interact in a way that reminds you why people read event stories in the first place.  They want to see their favorite characters interact in a way that they haven't seen before.  We're often disappointed with these stories, usually because the authors fail to find a way to manage all the characters.  But, Aaron really succeeds brilliantly in doing so here.  For example, he uses the existing relationship between Carol and Jessica as a proxy for the reader; they discuss Thor's secret identity, and Aaron makes it clear that it's the answer to that question that clear drew everyone to the battle in the first place.  But, he also gives us glimpses into new relationships, such as Sif asking Thor if pig-headedness comes with Mjolnir or if it is an innate characteristic of Thors.  (Heh.  Sif would know.)  Meanwhile, Dauterman makes it all just beautiful and stunning, as some of the most powerful figures in the Marvel Universe try to put a dent in the Destroyer.

But, Aaron and Dauterman remind us that they aren't just good at action scenes.  I waited with baited breath as Odinson spoke with Thor.  It's a fraught and quiet moment, with Odinson pledging to tell Thor all his secrets, including the words that Fury spoke to him, if she just reveals her identity to him.  (I'm starting to wonder if the secret isn't that he isn't Odin's son, meaning that Thor has to discover his own worthiness, something that the current Thor did on her own.)  Aaron conveys strong emotions as Thor struggles under his imploring (and, let's just admit, damn sexy) gaze.  She's (hilariously) saved by Roz Solomon appearing, ruining Thor's list and amping up the anticipation of the eventual revelation as we find ourselves back where we started.  When it comes -- and we learn that Thor is Jane Foster -- it's the perfect end to a great issue.

But, the revelation that Thor is Jane doesn't mean that all our questions are answered and we can just close up shop.  We still don't know why Jane decided to take up the hammer or how she's managing to hide from Odin.  I'm also not sure if her cancer pre-existed her taking up the hammer or if possessing the hammer caused it (as she seems to imply when she said that it's killing her).  Also, Freya finally seems to have lost her patience with Odin, and it seems an open question where they go from here.  That answer obviously has implications for all of Asgardia, Odinson and Thor included.

Of all the series that I'm loathe to see go on hiatus for "Secret Wars," this one is probably it.  We better resume exactly where we left, Marvel, or there'll be hell to pay!

**** (four of five stars)

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