This week Marvel is shining a spotlight on the many wielders of Mjolnir. Thor: The Worthy is a one-shot starring Beta Ray Bill, Eric Masterson, and Jane Foster in separate stories by an all-star cast of creators, including Walter Simonson‘s return to Asgard! Are the three stories therein worthy of your five bucks?
We’ve got roundtable reviews for this god-like one-shot, plus your usual Rapid Rundown of other new Marvel titles, all ahead in this week’s installment of The Marvel Rundown!
Thor: The Worthy #1
Written by Walter Simonson, Tom DeFalco & Ron Frenz, and Kathryn Immonen
Pencilled by Mike Hawthorne, Ron Frenz, and Tom Reilly
Inked by Sal Buscema, Keith Williams, and Tom Reilly
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Chris O’Halloran
Lettered by John Workman and VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover by Kim Jacinto & Java Tartaglia
Samantha Puc: As frequently as anthology issues fall down on the job, I’m always nervous jumping into one — but Thor: The Worthy #1 explores such a broad range of characters that each included story feels fresh and fun. I especially enjoyed seeing Eric Masterson in “Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay,” and seeing Sif and Jane kick troll butt in “Rule for Reflection.”
With three stories starring Beta Ray Bill, Sif, Eric, and Jane, this title examines those who are as worthy of Thor to wield Mjolnir, rather than focusing on Odinson himself. Perhaps that’s why it’s such a cool read — these are characters who don’t always get the spotlight in current comic runs, even though they have such interesting backstories and trajectories.
If you have even a passing interest in Thor and the mythos as presented in Marvel Comics canon, this anniversary anthology is definitely a BUY!
Joe Grunenwald: Anthology comics are always something of a mixed bag, a combination of stories that work well and stories that miss the mark. It’s rare that every story in an anthology succeeds on the same level. Thor: The Worthy #1 is one of those rare cases where all three stories presented hit it out of the park, each evoking their particular era of storytelling perfectly.
Walt Simonson’s return to Beta Rey Bill is a welcome one, and while I was at first disappointed that he was only writing and not illustrating this story, he’s ably joined by penciller Mike Hawthorne, legendary inker Sal Buscema, and colorist Tamra Bonvillain, who provide visuals that feel of apiece with the art on Simonson’s initial Mighty Thor run. Simonson’s longtime letterer John Workman puts the icing on the cake, his dialogue and sound effect work truly bringing the ’80s magic to this story.
The other two stories do a similarly solid job of bringing readers in and providing a glimpse of their respective moments in Thor history. Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz‘s return to Thunderstrike pulls off the impressive feat of being both a ‘lost’ tale, steeped in the events of the original series, and an accessible introduction to the character and his world. Meanwhile, Journey Into Mystery writer Kathryn Immonen and Marvel newcomer Tom Reilly present a tale of Lady Sif and the Jane Foster Thor that highlights the unique relationship between the two characters (and Reilly gets bonus points for sneaking Frog Thor, Superman, and Wonder Woman into the proceedings).
In all, Thor: The Worthy #1 is a success on every level. It’s an entertaining trio of stories that harkens back to three distinct eras in the history of the Odinson, and will make you want to check out more stories featuring those characters. This is a BUY for me.
Nick Kazden: After 80 years of Marvel stories, Odinson is ready to be celebrated. Stacked with some talented writers and artists who have shaped the character over the years (hello, Walter Simonson!), Thor: The Worthy #1 feels more like a sampler pack of three radically different Thor eras than a celebratory anniversary bash. Divided into three chapters that all focus on different characters at various points throughout 80 years of Thor continuity, each story is tightly constructed and features enjoyable emotional beats, but at the end of the day they all feel like filler. Excluding Simonson’s return to Beta Ray Bill, the voices for each character aren’t engaging enough to pull me into their worlds.
For an issue aimed at celebrating the God of Thunder, the most recognizable Thor is conspicuously absent; the issue is entertaining, but the title and Thor packed cover is a bit misleading for anyone simply looking to see Odinson kick butt,drink ale and take names. The issue should have been called something along the lines of “Stories from Asgard” to prepare readers for the heavy focus on supporting characters. Unless you’re a die-hard Asgardian fan who’s happy to see characters like Strikeforce or temporarily dive back into old continuity once again, this book is a SKIP.
Final Verdict: Sam and Joe call Thor: The Worthy #1 a BUY, while Nick suggests you SKIP this one!
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- Black Cat #7
- Every issue of Black Cat is better than the last, which is such an indescribable feat. Issue #7 is primarily a conversation between Odessa and the Black Fox, but the way it ramps up — with interjecting panels of Felicia running to his rescue — is perfectly paced with a well-earned payoff that is sure to have major consequences going forward. It’s the kind of tension I crave, and I’m thrilled to see the story play out this way. There’s a reason this series is one of The Beat‘s Best Comics of 2019; if you’re not keeping up, you are seriously missing out. — SP
- Daredevil #14
- Finally, Matt Murdock is acting more like himself! His character growth in this arc has been incredible to read, but the ending in issue #14 has me especially excited to see what’s next. — SP
- Doctor Doom #3
- I’m finding that the beauty of Christopher Cantwell doing Doctor Doom is that while the story in continuous and easy to follow, there is a new facet of Victor revealed in each issue. Yeah, sure, Victor is known for being a bit tyrannical and unrelenting in his dismissal of feelings; but this issues explores a lot of his past experiences and the new guilt that arises with it. And of course there’s tons of alternate universe business which is REALLY ramping up. Plus…there’s a possibility of needing to call Reed Richards? Oh. Oh no. (YES.) Regardless, this remains a title that I actively look forward to every month. — CM
- Excalibur #3
- Excalibur has been such a fun ride so far; I love the absurdity and how it’s leveled out with the darker, more serious elements, without sacrificing character growth. Continuously impressed with this creative team. — SP
- Out of all the Dawn of X series so far, Excalibur pulls off the classic “meanwhile, back at the ranch” cut-away probably the best. Tini Howard effectively covers and progresses multiple storylines here all while making sure each character has a clear, entertaining voice. My Apocalypse bias may be showing, but Howard especially does a great job commanding the stoic god’s voice and knows how to wield it an empathetic manner that makes it easy for people to trust the old villain. Once again, Tom Muller’s design work steals the show though, as his rendition of a Craiglist/Reddity forum for Krakoan flirts and information seekers adds another dose of reality to this ever-changing world. — NK
- Magnificent Ms. Marvel #10
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- Perhaps the best thing about Jonathan Hickman writing X-Men is that his overall vision is slowly realized through reveals that could be hokey, but somehow work within the world he’s created. The villain established in this issue is so unexpected, but crafts a unique series of problems that mutantkind will have to solve without some of their key players. Plus, the stakes are at an all-time high, because the resurrection protocol won’t help. It’s fascinating to watch this team set up the dominos, and I can’t wait to see them fall down. — SP
- The X-Men are in trouble, a group of angry, old women are attacking and no one can stop them! Jonathan Hickman and Lenil Francis Yu are back with another fantastic issue of X-Men. Not only does Hickman do a great job voicing all of the characters here, Sebastian Shaw has a standout scene that shows just how beautifully pompous he really is, but Yu’s art feels more comfortably suited to the series with each new issue. WIth the introduction of a new human threat that has a much grander plan than the bigoted destruction of mutants, it seems there’s no shortage of big ideas coming to the X-Universe. — NK
Next week, the alien-costumed Spider-Man returns for another throwback adventure!