Waiting For The Trade – Thor Volume 3

Writer: J.M. Straczynski

Penciller: Marko Djurdjevic

Inkers: Danny Miki, Mark Morales, Allen Martinez, Marko Djurdjevic

Colourist: Paul Mounts, Jelena Djurdjevic, Laura Martin, Christina Strain

Letterer: Chris Eliopoulis , Joe Sabino

Collects: Thor 601-603 and Thor: Giant-Size Finale

In preparation for reading this, the third and final volume of JMS’s Thor, I cracked open the first two hardcovers and re-read them as it felt like it’d been a while. Sometimes re-reading previous trades is a blessing and sometimes it’s a curse, I think in this case it’s the latter. The JMS run starting incredibly strongly, both redefining the look of the character and his place in the Marvel universe but this just doesn’t feel up to that standard.

I’m really annoyed at this for two reasons. Firstly because I really loved that first volumes, and secondly because saying that JMS finishes weak is such a bloody comics cliché! But I’ll try to be specific without spoiling.

The themes in this volume seem to be around identity, how does Don Blake relate to Thor, who is Sif, how does their location define the Asgardians etcetera. But a lot of these feel old, like they’ve been done before. Even the human character Bill follows a path that seems pretty much pre-ordained. Add to this that none of the choices the characters make have any element of suspense or surprise to them and the book just feels a bit pedestrian.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have a few high spots, Volstagg gets a fantastic hero moment and some of the scenes with Bill and Kelda have a nice emotional tone without over-playing it. And in general while it doesn’t pull up trees it tells a pretty good story.

The art is good, in fact in most cases I’d be very happy with Djurdjevic on a book. He’s unfortunate to be following the distinctive look of Coipel but puts on a good show managing to keep the look appropriate at each turn for a story that ranges from the throne room of Latveria to a Diner in Oklahoma. This may be helped by the various inkers, although I’m not sure who did what.

The hardcover contains a sketch gallery and some character profiles which I don’t know if the Giant-Size contained or not, either way there’s not too much of them so I didn’t feel ripped off by “padding”.

Reviewer: Dave Williams

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