‘The Accursed’ continues to be an excellent storyline, full of great action that should serve as a handy introduction to any new readers coming into the comics on the back of Thor: The Dark World. This issue steps things up a gear with the introduction of Thor’s new team, ‘The League Of Realms’, and they are pretty darn awesome.
After a very entertaining and humorous opening scene that showcases the differences between Elves and Dwarves, Aaron gives us our first real demonstration of how bad-ass Malekith is as a villain. He’s fighting the best Dark Elf swordsman around, Sir Wormsong, on a tree-trunk placed over a pit of rabid dogs (who would eat their own mothers). Whilst Wormsong wins the sword-fight, Malekith outsmarts him, and chops the tree-trunk. Wormsong falls to a grisly death, but because Malekith is not only a great fighter but also a sorcerer, he can just float above it. Man, he’s a bad-ass.
But even more of a bad-ass under Jason Aaron’s pen is Thor, and he gets plenty of good moments and bits of dialogue in this issue. Just as Thor, The Warriors Three and Sif are storming off to chase down Malekith, he is stopped by one of the All-Mothers and told that it would be politically unwise for a force of Asgardians to go after Dark Elves, that the other realms would see it as an ‘illegal incursion’. I’m not sure how I feel about Aaron applying real worldish military and political elements to the Nine Realms. On the one hand, it is very clever and modern, and on the other, it does kind of suck the fun out of it a bit, like Midi-Chlorians or seeing the Green Lantern Corps’ canteen. But in the end, I think I like it, because it provides a good reason for this new team, and this new team does anything but suck the fun out, it’s all fun, all the time.
To avoid any political problems, Malekith has to be taken down by a team made up of members from all of the realms, and so Thor is joined by a Light Elf, a Dwarf, a Mountain Giant, a Troll and also the Dark Elf warrior from last issue who had her arm ripped off by Malekith. All of these characters are fairly broadly drawn at the moment, but they are very entertaining and you can see that there is room to grow there. But basically, this arc is like a Thor Dungeons & Dragons party, or a Thor RPG video-game. He’s got a party of all different races, all with different abilities and personalities and a specific mission. I’m not a D&D guy, but even I recognise the coolness of the set-up here, and it’s made all the better by Jason Aaron’s skill as a Dungeon Master.
The dialogue between all of these characters is excellent, and the fight scene at the end of the issue, where the League Of Realms catch up with Malekith was fantastic stuff. The issue ends with Malekith having slaughtered the Dark Elf Queen and Thor swearing vengeance in amongst their severed heads, another in an awesome line of heavy metal images this book has delivered.
Ron Garney once again kicks butt on the art, giving each of the new characters a lot of personality just through the pencils, and delivering crisp action. Colourist Ive Svorcina also deserves a lot of credit here, as the techniques provide a great sense of continuity between Garney and Esad Ribic, two artists who aren’t really all that similar. This arc is just great, even if you don’t like Thor, it’s drawing from so many great Fantasy Fiction wells, you have to love it.