THIS WEEK: The Immortal Thor #1 makes its thunderous premiere, in a SPOILER-LITE review of one of the largest #1s from Marvel in quite some time. Not here for spoilers? Head on down to the Rapid Rundown for brief reviews of Marvel Unleashed #1 and Black Panther #3!

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Immortal Thor
The Immortal Thor #1

The Immortal Thor #1

Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Martín Cóccolo
Color Artist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover: Alex Ross
G.O.D.S. Page Writer: Jonathan Hickman

The Immortal Al Ewing returns to the adjective that cemented his place among the all-time comics greats, and brings with him a whole new team and set of tools to kick off what is heralded as a new series of epic proportions.

I do want to get it out of the way and briefly compare this to the first issue of Immortal Hulk, in that, where that debut felt like a purposeful stripping down of everything the Hulk was, this feels like an embrace of the vast history of Thor from the get-go. Yes, Hulk reincorporated that history as the run continued (in ways it seems only Ewing can do), but it did so gradually, initially isolating Banner and weaving in his backstory as time went on. 


However, classic elements from Thor’s world are present here at the jump. Moments of scene-setting are necessary in the first issue of any series, but there are little bits and pieces we get here that help to define the past and give us a truly fresh status quo. Each page screams ‘new-reader friendly,’ filling readers in on only the most necessary pieces of history to keep us in-the-know. Along with this, there’s a lovely omniscient narrator (who I have my suspicions about) that keeps us on the right track, speaking as a guide to this new story.

Immortal Thor overlooks NYC
What a view

Martín Cóccolo’s pages are simply gorgeous, whether it’s a wide shot of Asgard or a peek of the Statue of Liberty. There’s this great sense of joy any time Thor comes onto the page, one that’s only deflated as he comes up against the main threat of the issue, an ancient God that sits above the Asgardians, almost like their own primordial Titans. Cóccolo, along with colorist Matthew Wilson, gives us warm, vivid paintings at the top half, showing Asgard at its peak, before they then drop these haunting widescreen vistas, with ethereal shapes for the forms of the gods.

This might be the first Marvel comic I’ve seen in a long time to use thought balloons as opposed to narrative captions for Thor’s thoughts (with a very clever ‘How long has it been?’ to kick them off). Joe Sabino does such a tremendous job with these, who also brings back the bombastic KRAKOOOM effects reminiscent of John Workman, who lettered Walt Simonson’s epic 1980s run on Thor

Ewing also sneaks in a quick beat with the threat of Orchis, recalling when he was one of the first writers to acknowledge Krakoa after House of X/Powers of X. The Marvel Universe works best when the line feels cohesive and connected, and it’s these kinds of small glimpses into other corners of the world that make these comics sing. There’s a tad bit of meta-commentary here too, as Ewing’s fan-favorite Loki and the ancient Utgard gods speak to the great ‘illusion of change’ that has always been a staple of Marvel’s line. 

It’s difficult to live up to the expectations set by a past work, especially when making a point to try and evoke many of the same stylistic quirks of said piece (Ewing himself made the choice to call this Immortal as a challenge to himself). However, this first issue of Immortal Thor is able to both recall that past, while also standing on its own as a new story, one with plenty of runway to take off.

Verdict: BUY. I didn’t get a chance to talk about Ewing’s high fantasy voice (it’s rad!) or the return of the epigraphs of Hulk, but this is a master returning to the form where he does his best work, and a must read.

Look at how happy my boy is

Rapid Rundown!

  • Black Panther #3
    • This title is the Wakanda “Private Eye” series I never knew I needed. Writer Eve L. Ewing takes us on a quiet dive into the nation of Wakanda’s darker side as T’Challa looks to find his way in this new role of hidden protector, investigating missing people with the help of a very sketchy partner Beisa. And pencilers Chris Allen and Mack Chater art is that turbo boost with the intricate design of the characters and settings, the architectural design work is a lovely mashup of African aesthetics with a sprinkling of Kirby styling. I also appreciate that this book utilizes inkers Craig Yeung and Mack Chater (pulling double duty), giving the artwork a weight that I’ve been missing in most current comics. This book deserves to be discussed more in nerdy circles because Ewing is paving new ground in the Panther mythos while keeping it in the Marvel universe. —GC3
  • Marvel Unleashed #1
    • All in all, I had a pretty great time with Marvel Unleashed #1, the latest pet-centric superhero comic from the publisher. Written by Kyle Starks (who basically always has a dog in his comics work), the book is charming with plenty of gags. It introduces a new dog character as its lead, and plays it well off some of the more established super animals from around the Marvel Universe. There’s a bit where the nascent animal team goes to find the Avengers and interacts with Jarvis that is especially funny. The art here is by Jesús Hervás with colors by Yen Nitro and letters by Joe Caramagna. The art hems closer to typical Marvel superhero aesthetic than it does to animal-driven humor comic, but that’s a small note on a book that I really enjoyed. —ZQ

Next Week: Kamala Khan finally returns in Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1


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