Thor: The Mighty Avenger #3
Take a trip back to one of the most pivotal times in comic books, where we get glimpse of the humble beginnings of Three Superheroes that would not just define an age, but inspire a generation.
Ant Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Wasp. 5 Individual heroes, One Iconic Name, Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Avengers. The original members of a team that would become synonymous with the term Super Hero Team, a team that would offer camaraderie, fame, glory and even redemption for those who sought. From humble beginnings, it has become the highest level one could reach in the Marvel Universe, but one question remains for those who wish to ask it. What was life like for those 5 before that fated day? Well, my friends, you're about to get apart of that answer.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger is a series that focuses on the early days of Marvel's Thor, serving as a retelling of his first days on earth, after Odin banishes him to Earth so he can learn a lesson of humility. However, unlike the original stories, we quickly learn that Thor hasn't assumed his well-known mantle of Dr. Donald Blake, and that Jane Foster is the head of Security at a Museum, instead of being a Nurse. What this creates, is a dynamic in which Thor is placed in a world which he cannot make sense out of, which makes Jane Foster not only his companion, but his teacher, as he learns the ways of Midgard. A place which he struggles to find the beauty.
As for the issue itself, the scenario is not just Thor and Jane's alone, it also involves Hank Pym (Ant-Man) and Janet Van Dyne (Wasp), who are pulled into the story when Hank's mentor (Dr. Stephens) is murdered by an unknown assailant to Hank. From there, it's almost as bright as day that the four characters in focus will meet. All of the ingredients are there for a fun story, if not a totally epic one, which is what is delivered for the most part.
The writing in this book is definitely serviceable (in the best meaning of the word possible.), as Landgridge doesn't just write a decent Thor, Jane and Janet, but he also writes a very compelling Hank, who's life's path is shown through his interactions with Dr. Stephens. It is very easy to see why Hank gets emotional about as the book goes on, something that Janet brings a balance to, and makes sure that he sees the bigger picture before he lets emotions get to him. It's refreshing take on a relationship that deserves more love, and he doesn't do too badly with the Thor and Jane interactions, either, which are a little bit hamfisted,. but entertaining none the less.
There's not much to say about the art, as minimalism wins the day in this book. This isn't to say that art isn't good, because it definitely is, the characters are cleanly drawn, the backdrops are decently detailed as well, giving the book a little bit more of a retro-feel. Ivan Reis this is not, but it doesn't try to be, nor does it have to be. The style works for what is being represented.
Overall, there really isn't anything bad that could be said about this book. However, that doesn't mean this book stands above the crowd. Thor: The Mighty Avenger doesn't set out to be a Highwater Benchmark in the Super Hero Genre, and it seems like the creative team is okay with that. What we do get is a fun piece of entertainment, that any Thor fan should be proud of. It's always nice to see what unknowns can do with characters that we know and love, and the creative team definitely gave us an effort-filled take, even if it isn't lining up to win awards.
Art: *** (6 out of 10): If you're looking for potential poster bait, you're not going to find it here, but it doesn't mean that artist didn't make a good showing of themselves. Detail and Emotion still shine through even with minimalism winning the day here.
Story: **1/2 (5 out of 10): What can we say, it's another paint by the numbers Superhero misunderstanding, that forges a life long friendship. However, there enough compelling characterization that doesn't make it drab and dull.
Accessibility: ***1/2 (7 out of 10): Past Issues are referenced, but you don't need to read them to understand what is going on here. Something that can be easily given to the curious.
Final Breakdown (All three categories plus Intangibles): **3/4 Stars (5.75 out of 10)