I’m given to understand that, following on the success of Iron Man and Spider-Man and the X-Men, there’s going to be a Thor movie at some point. This strikes me as the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, because if there’s a superhero who’s wholly unsuited for the big screen, it’s Thor.

I mean, in his classic incarnation, he’s a literal Norse god who comes from a whole Asgardian pantheon and fights crime while wearing a big winged helmet and cape and speaking in a pseudo-medieval “thou”-laden dialect. In the gloriously eclectic and pantheistic world of comic books, this kinda works; on the the big screen, with its realist sensibilities, I can’t see how it would. (And even the Ultimate Thor, who’s highly de-cheesed, doesn’t work. His whole thing is that he’s a Norwegian hippie who might be just an insane superhero or might actually be myffic, and it’s sort of played for uncertainty. You can do that with one character in a cast, so it works in the book; you can’t do it with the lead character of your movie. At least not well.)

So anyway, I see J. Michael Straczynski’s Thor, vol. 1 , and I think to myself, oh okay, they’re giving the franchise to Straczynski to reboot it and make it movie-friendly. It’s a good timing for a reboot, what with Thor being comic-book-dead and all. Bring him back different, right?

So it’s a little surprising that this isn’t what happened. Thor is still a Norse god, he still wears basically the same uniform (it maybe looks a little more medievaly and less spandexy), and there’s still that weird fusion of the mythic and the superheroic. So not very movie-friendly, but how is it as a book?

Pretty good. The plot involves Thor returning from the dead after Ragnarok, and then rebuilding Asgard. On a field next to a small town in Oklahoma. There’s some great humor that comes from the juxtaposition of the mythic and the mundane, and the larger storyline is basically fine (if kind of setup-y); and, as always, Straczynski’s writing is thoroughly competent at worst. This isn’t something that’s going to appeal to non-superhero fans, and it’s useless for movie purposes, but as Thor stories go, it’s solid.


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