Thor’s D&D journey through the Nine Realms continues to be a hell of a lot of fun, even as it gets darker and darker.
This issue begins on Alfheim, the home of the Elves, which is a cheery, candycane kingdom full of fairies and gnomes and taverns made of gingerbread. Which is why it’s all the more awesome when the incongruously evil Dark Elves show up to cause trouble, and when Thor and his League Of Realms follow. Thor and Warizia the Dark Elf Witch defeat this group of Outriders, but the problems within the League are still there, they cannot stand each other, which is only natural for denizens of the different realms. Thor’s solution to this? Get fucking wasted.
The League head to the aforementioned Gingerbread Tavern, and get drunk as hell. With Thor having a drinking contest with Oggy the Giant… and winning. I love seeing Thor the bad-ass drinker, it’s a more comedic side to the character that has come to the fore since the movies, and it’s made me like the character a heck of a lot more. This epic bender serves as a bonding session for the various members of the League, with them ceasing to fight, and instead placing bets with each other about who will win the drinking contest, or who will be the first to sleep with Warizia. Having tenuous allies bond through partying is a fairly familiar trope, but it’s one that does ring true, and Aaron makes it all a heck of a lot of fun. After besting Oggy, Thor stumbles outside for a long, drunken soliloquy to his Hammer, about how the various lessons he’s learned from his father, his mother, Loki and from being the God Of Thunder are no real help to him at this time, and that he needs to think outside the box to stop Malekith. I really liked this scene, as it showed a lot of depth to Thor’s character, even though I just said I prefer him as a funny drunk, I do like that there are layers to him.
Warizia comes out to confront Thor about how they shouldn’t be wasting time drinking, but rather hunting Malekith. Thor explains his reasoning behind it, and then, oh yeah, he and Warizia get it on. I’m surprised Aaron did this, as he only just introduced a new, human love interest for Thor a few issues ago, but hey, Thor is a hound-dog and I suppose he can have a different woman in every port/realm. Actually, before the locking of lips, Thor says that their next destination frightens him, which clues in Malekith, who is hidden inside the body of a waitress, which explains how Malekith is always one step ahead of the League, he is shape-shifting and spying on them. He even watches Thor and Warizia as they… y’know.
The scary place turns out to be Jotunheim, home of the Giants, where a bunch of Dark Elves have been hiding out. Malekith arrives to kill them, but Thor and the rest are there to stop him. Given that this is the home of the Giants, it makes sense that this is where Oggy, the silent Giant of the League, finally comes into his own. Firing massive arrows at the Elves and generally being a total bad-ass. Unfortunately, this attacts the attention of Malekith, who is even more of a bad-ass, and he jumps inside Oggy’s mouth, hacks up his brain from within, and bursts out of his eye-socket. It is fucked up and awesome, Malekith is so great in this story, it just makes me even madder at how generic he was in Thor: The Dark World. Oggy finally says something, and it’s surprising to me how sad I was at his death, after only 3 issues of existence, great writing from Aaron there. Malekith brags to The League about what he’s done, and then reveals the ace up his sleeve, Thor may have had one Giant, but he has a whole army of ‘em, and they aren’t just any Giants, they are Frost Giants! The familiar, over-the-top, high fantasy narration did a fantastic job at getting across how scary the Frost Giants are, and really set things up fantastically for the next issue, as basically, the League are screwed.
I am just loving this arc, it’s got the same heavy-hitting action as the Godbutcher epic, but there is a bit more humour in there, and the new characters that Aaron has introduced are a lot of fun already. The art from Ron Garney is really strong as well, even as he’s asked to draw silly things like fairies, it still looks great.