Spawn of Thor

Marvel Visionaries: Thor: Mike Deodato: written by Warren Ellis and William Messner-Loebs; illustrated by Mike Deodato and others (1996-97; collected 2004): Thor’s insane new costume on the cover of this volume would tell some people that this collection comes from the post-Image era of the mid-1990’s, when DC and Marvel sought to emulate the success of that upstart company.

In part, this came with the redesign of certain costumes to make them look more like the flowing, chain-heavy costume of Spawn, Image’s most popular hero. Except Spawn didn’t have a bare midriff. It’s like Spawn on Casual Fridays!

However, that costume’s only appearance in this volume — which omits several issues of Deodato’s run on Thor — comes on that cover. Thor is pretty much either shirtless or in another ugly non-traditional costume for the volume. That costume bares a lot of previously unbared Asgardian skin as well and is surpassingly ugly. Apparently, Thor was seeing the Submariner’s tailor at this point in Marvel history.

The art is nice in that fetishistic, overstuffed 90’s way. Deodato’s Thor is so broad in the torso as to appear grotesque at times, while longtime Thor foe (and here lover) the Enchantress now sports a wasp waist and boobs bigger than her head. Warren Ellis writing Thor is, frankly, a pretty weird thing. His storyline, involving somebody somewhere corrupting the World Tree as a means of destroying both Asgard and Earth and ushering in a post-Ragnarok utopia, is at once interesting and weirdly off-key, with a rushed anti-climax of an ending.

Messner-Loebs cleans some of that up in the issues collected here, which led into the cancellation of Thor as part of the Onslaught event and the subsequent brief disaster called Heroes Reborn. Thor would be back in the normal Marvel universe eventually. As with a lot of Marvel collections, the selection seems a bit thin — why not collect all of Deodato’s run? Oh, well. Not recommended unless you’re a Deodato completist.

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