As Odin’s crows can attest to Thor is brave, bold and not too bright. On a deeper level he dares not address to the crows the reason why Odin was the only one not awakened. Loki’s a woman and where is Sif? This is the set up and questions of volume two of Thor (issues 7-12 and Giant-Sized 600) that will have repercussions not only for the citizens of Asgard, but for the rest of the Marvel universe.
Issue seven leaves Thor broken. While healing he meets Odin’s crows, then Odin – who is in constant engagement in a battle that ended his life moments before Ragnarok. In the interlude before the next fight Odin explains (and warns) Thor of the thread that will go through all the works in this collection. Odin explains how his thirst for power caused him to replace his father (by watching him turn into snow), which in turn became a legacy he handed down to his sons both adopted and biological. Yes folks Thor has another brother besides Loki.
As always J. Michael Straczynski weaves Norse with comic myth and uses both literatures to make Thor not only relevant, but essential. The machinations of Loki are given new life as a female. In what seems to be an incestuous set of circumstances Loki achieves carnage and chaos. Just how Loki gets his form also answers several other questions. Even Donald Blake has his part to play. Separated from Thor this construct of Odin’s functions as a whole person able to make his own decisions as he searches for clues as to how to find Sif. Then there are the people of Oklahoma. A love affair begins between a mortal and the goddess Kelda that reveals just how treacherous gods can be when they’re bored.
The cameos also make for commentary on the politics of Captain America’s “death.” For a brief moment a true Avenger pays homage to a fallen hero as he calls him from the other side with the rallying cry “Avengers Assemble.” Later on when he uses the same battle-cry for help, he is met with the imposters who Osborne has replaced the true Avengers with. It leaves a bitter taste in Thor’s mouth as their appearance only brings on a morose-disorder.
At last we come to issue 600 where Straczynski returns to the theme of the legacy of fathers where Thor makes a fatal mistake that foreshadows the warnings of Odin far too late. It causes him his floating kingdom in the sky and his hammer as it is destroyed in a fraternal onslaught.
The artwork of Olivier Coipel brings to life the many battles, quiet moments of contemplations among the characters and the creepiness of Loki as a woman into a realm that straddles reality and fantasy. The vivid use of color coupled with the Straczynski’s use of words makes for a great read. And with the appearance of Victor Von Doom at the very end only whets the appetite of readers for more Thor.