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Thor #6

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

J. Michael Straczynski
Olivier Coipel (p), Mark Morales (i), Laura Martin (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Thor #6 arrives in stores tomorrow, February 27.

Plot: As time runs out on his quest to revive his fellow gods and ladylove, Thor grapples with the possibility of restoring someone he doesn't want to see: Odin.

Commentary: In an Oklahoma diner, a group of rowdy men are slumped into silence as their regular waiter Bill posits this quandary: "A bird can love a fish, but where would they build a house together?" Thought and reflection consumes the table, painted so subtly by Olivier Coipel. Then, from the booth beside them comes a voice. Not a god but a man. "On the edge of the river," answers Donald Blake, a doctor, their new neighbor, and the human carrier of Thor.

The new reboot of Thor is Marvel Comics' most charming and accessible title. J. Michael Straczynski does not take the reader anywhere we cannot follow. A journey to reawaken his fellow gods of Asgard is simple, though drenched in yearning and apprehension. Thor hoped to find his lady Sif, but so far no luck. Instead, he unwittingly restored the last being he would ever want to see again: Loki. Now he wonders if his quest is worth it; can he really risk awakening other evil just to see his true love again?

This clear and straightforward story is mirrored in the art, which, combined with Mark Morales' inks and Laura Martin's colors, allows the reader to know each character and their corner of the Marvel Universe. The locals have a bucolic allure, not overstated or stereotypical. Bill is a stocky, freckled white guy with small-town warmth and a perennially worn orange hat. His midnight rendezvous with the enchanting Kelda visually contrasts the innocent humanity of Bill with the ageless omniscience of the stunning goddess.

Yet underneath this artful story is a low-key (no pun intended) inspection of one's relationship to God. Donald Blake is not Thor's alter ego or hokey human shell. The doctor is a person in his own right, one who knows his need of Thor and Thor's need of a human perspective. He converses with the thunder-god across the booth table with the sympathy and advice you would give a friend. Their relationship is a journey of growth and understanding, one that is taken hand in hand.

Man can love God, but where would they build a house together? In the pages of Thor.

Final Word: A terrific ensemble of story, art, and subject matter.



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