Thor: The World Eaters, written by Matt Fraction with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, illustrated by Pascual Ferry, Salvador Larocca and Mark Brooks (2010-2011, collected 2011): I’ve really enjoyed the 30 or so issues I’ve read of Fraction’s run on Iron Man over the last three or four years. Unfortunately, Fraction’s skills don’t port over to the adventures of Marvel’s Norse Thunder God.
The characters continue to deal with the early part of J. Michael Straczynski’s run on the title, over a year since JMS left the title — Asgard looms about three feet above a small town in Oklahoma, still reminding me of nothing so much as that Deputy Dawg cartoon in which a character ends up orbiting the Earth at a height of six feet. Balder continues to be a lousy ruler, but he’s topped here by Thor, who decides to bring back his treacherous step-brother Loki from the dead. Loki only died one issue earlier, making this one of the quickest resurrections in Marvel history. Thor does this because he misses the ‘old’ Loki, which is to say Loki as a child, a child Thor resurrects using his incredible Asgardian Resurrection Power (TM), a hitherto unseen power introduced by JMS.
Now, in decades of Thor backstory from his first appearance as a Marvel superhero in the early 1960’s, Loki has not to my knowledge appeared as a quasi-innocent, fun-loving kid. He has appeared as a treacherous, homicidal, cowardly kid on many occasions, most recently during flashbacks to JMS’s run. Either Fraction has forced a completely unsupported version of Thor’s childhood upon us, or Thor himself has suffered grievious brain damage. Whatever.
The bulk of the storyline involves shadowy gods from a collapsing universe trying to take over the ‘Nine Worlds’ of Norse legend (Asgard and Midgard [Earth] are but two of them). In yet another amazing Asgardian Resurrection Power (TM) scene, Thor brings Odin back, and then they do some crazy Asgardian magic involving giants made out of dead bodies that would make a good bit in Hellboy (actually, I think it WAS a good bit in Hellboy, with Mignola properly attributing the idea to Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Colossus of Ylourgne”) but which makes absolutely no sense in relation to 40 years of Thor comics. Stuff happens. I don’t care. And Pascual Ferry’s art seems chronically underfinished. He could really use a good inker, as opposed to a hyperactive colourist. Iron Man appears and does nothing for no reason I can really see. Not recommended.