Under Jason Aaron’s watchful eye and with a combination of fantastic artists like Russell Dauterman, The Mighty Thor has been propelled to new heights of quality, becoming my favorite ongoing series at the publisher. The House of Ideas has already revealed Aaron is not yet leaving the title, but he seems to be relentlessly teasing that Jane Foster’s time as Thor could be coming to an end. The Mighty Thor #705 marks a huge turning point for the series and we are here to examine the issue and Weapon H #1 today on The Marvel Rundown!
The Mighty Thor #705
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated by Russell Dauterman
Colored by Matthew Wilson
Lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino
Reviewed by Alexander Jones
“From her hospital room, Jane Foster heard the call. Thor is needed again.”
Marvel’s magnum opus hit a huge turning point this week with The Mighty Thor #705. This powerful issue is a major turning point in Jane Foster’s tenure as Thor. The cancer-stricken hero’s time as the God of Thunder has transformed the series into an Eisner award-winning symbol of quality and all that is great in the Marvel Universe but there was always a number baked into the series with Jane Foster’s disease becoming inexplicably more terrible as her cancer consumed her. To make matters worse, the all-powerful Mangog has come to Asgard leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Foster has become restless over the past couple months and during the last issue, Foster a made a fateful decision that matters here. Writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman’s lead-up to the battle has been pitch-perfect with the core Thor title teasing the plot for months on end. With such a massive build-up to the issue, Marvel had a huge responsibility to make sure and treat the story with utmost care, patience, and respect to which no other ongoing series or creative team in comics could even dream of delivering on. At the beginning of the series’ run Foster’s time as the character was not taken seriously by the fanbase or seen as a gimmick-based transformation of Thor to go along with characters like Miles Morales as Spider-Man. Instead, Aaron introduced the character alongside Dauterman with great focus.
The backstory leading into the narrative is entirely necessary as the story largely counts on what has come before to deliver the strongest emotional impact. thankfully, the full creative team here makes to pay off every thread in the storyline. One of the greatest mysteries and character developing pieces is the flashback scene at the beginning giving character and life to a more desolate, curiosity moment deftly handled from a writing standpoint. This issue has an amazingly potent climax built upon a rock-solid foundation and character work that handed the full run mean something up to this point. Also, even the villain here has plenty of motivations and carries a certain level of physical prowess as Mangog is a scary, powerful force of nature who has been violently wreaking havoc on Asgard for the past couple installments in a scary way. Previous chapters have done a great job in setting the tone into place and arranging each moment in the issue to have the impact it carries. The final arc as a whole has carried a great sense of urgency and this installment does not let up the momentum until the final page.
Russell Dauterman’s huge finale is beautiful and haunting. Foster’s heroic deeds as Thor are depicted as both clever and violent. The blaze of fire eclipsing all the fight scenes give the incredible work of Walter Simonson’s huge Ragnarok fight but this story feels so much more personal. Dauterman picks up the same visual tricks and twists he’s used as a staple to the run and feeds the pages so much emotion. Going forward, I hope Marvel and the rest of the industry as a whole will start to realize he is one of the best artists currently producing work at Marvel and his Thor run was a career-defining moment which is coming to an end next month. Matthew Wilson’s beautiful hues of color also make the story come alive especially during a heated moment between Foster and the Odinson which will likely remember as one of the most emotionally powerful moments of Thor over the years.
Talking about this story in the greater scope of Marvel’s publishing is fascinating considering the soaring emotional heights Thor has been able to reach over the past couple years. While Aaron has turned in some incredible scripts on several different heroes, this story is the culmination of everything the writer has been building since Jane Foster Thor debuted in 2014 and even pays off some threads from his original 2011 stories with the hero. Thor was bar-none the most powerful ongoing series Marvel has published in years, with the focus coming back to the Odinson, Aaron has an uphill battle to climb and seems to be in competition with himself.
Comics usually don’t have powerful stakes in storytelling especially in the realm of Big Two superhero titles. Over the past three years, The Mighty Thor has trumped all expectations and delivered one of the most devastatingly beautiful comics on store shelves. Russell Dauterman and Jason Aaron have an unmatched level of chemistry earning The Mighty Thor #705 my highest possible recommendation. In 2018 this is the Marvel issue on the iron throne.
Final Verdict: BUY. The Mighty Thor #705 is a heartbreaking climax to one of the greatest Thor epics ever told.
Weapon H #1
Written by Greg Pak
Illustrated by Cory Smith and Marcus To
Colored by Morry Hollowell
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Reviewed by AJ Frost
Every so often, a comic comes across my way whose premise is so insane, bombastic, and childish that I feel like dismissing it out of hand. But, as often happens, the better angels of my nature persuade me to stick around and be open-minded about what I’m about to read. And on first glance, Weapon H #1 really fits the bill as something I wouldn’t ever care about. Sure, I casually follow the escapades of the Hulk and Wolverine, but I would never say that I’m a huge connoisseur of either character. When the premise of the comic is that the protagonist is a hybrid of both characters, I thought my eyes would glaze over from the sheer inanity of the thing. I’m so glad I was incorrect.
Weapon H #1 never forgets what it is: mindless comic book fun. How can it not be, though? The amalgamation of the Hulk and Wolverine, which should never work in theory, works great here. Writer Greg Pak and artist Cory Smith have the opportune sandbox to take what is an incongruous mash-up and give it a some (though, admittedly, not too much) emotional resonance. Pak’s straightforward story about how Weapon H, aka Clayton, attempts to self-exile away from society become thwarted by circumstance is engaging, playing up the archetypes of both the Hulk and Wolverine as loners working outside of normal civilization. For his part, Clayton attempts to stay out of the spotlight, trying to live an unprovoked life. Yet, as always happens, other people’s plans tend to get in the way of solitude. There’s a nice rhythm of quieter events being followed by big scenes. And, in the case of Weapon H, coming out from the shadows means the actualization of the terrifying combo of Wolverine’s claws and Hulk’s unceasing rage. It is a pure thrill!
Smith’s art throughout the issue is top-notch when it comes to conveying big spurts of action. While there isn’t much room to be subtle here, Smith manages to compose everything carefully and cleanly. Every drop of blood to each clenched fist is rendered beautifully. There are a few wonderful and weird creature designs here too, including a delightfully violent transformation sequence that is pretty unsettling and creepy (and I ain’t talking about Weapon H himself either!). Morry Hollowell’s coloring does a great job of heightening the surreality and utterly bonkers splash pages. The color palette is in the middle sequences of the book pop between noxious reds and subzero white/blue. It’s stunning work.
So, what’s the verdict here? To reiterate my earlier point, I wasn’t expecting to walk away from this book having enjoyed it all. When it comes to Marvel, I sometimes allow outside elements pre-influence my thinking on a certain book. But here, I’m glad to say I was incorrect in my premature judgment. Weapon H #1 is a perfectly preposterous but super enjoyable comic book story. If you are feeling adventurous, you’d be remiss to not add the story to your collection. This is a BUY!.
Final Verdict: Buy. Greg Pak’s fun story and Cory Smith’s blustering pencils combine to smash your preconceptions.
Next week the hits keep coming with Daredevil #600!
The Beat Staff is an elite group of trained ninjas.