Marvel adds to its collection of Motion Comics with Robert Rodi and Esad Ribic's Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers. Released to bolster interest in the up-coming Thor movie, Blood Brothers is certainly worthy of picking-up Mjolnir.
Roughly nine months after the last Marvel Motion Comics adventure was released (Iron Man: Extremis), Marvel presents Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers. The Asgardian adventure is based on the Robert Rodi and Esad Ribic's graphic novel, which takes a look at the minds of Thor and Loki after Loki has defeated Thor and seized control of Asgard. The story is broken up over several Motion Comic episodes, and is available to purchase on iTunes, Xbox LIVE or the Playstation Network.
I purchased the 16-minute first episode of Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers (in HD) from iTunes for $2.99. The price is fair considering most Marvel comic books cost $3.99 and may take less than 16 minutes to read. Plus, if you are a fan of motion comic books, the $2.99 payments can go a long way in sending a message that there is a demand for motion comics. Monetized messages are the only ones Marvel (or most companies for that matter) will hear.
The StoryThor and Loki: Blood Brothers is a wonderful choice for a motion comic. With the Thor movie on summer's horizon, this tale of the relationship between Thor and Loki is particularly important to garnering interest in the film. In episode #1 the scenario of Thor's defeat by Loki has already been established. Loki declares himself the master of Asgard and proceeds to rule. He quickly finds out that ruling Asgard is not as glamorous as he thought it would be.
Episode #1 ends with Loki having to make good on favors and deeds promised to those who helped him gain control of Asgard. At the time, Loki had no problem accepting terms of unlikely deals, but as the episode unfolds we learn that maybe even Loki had not planned to do, or anticipated that he would even be asked to do, the things asked of him.
The episode does a nice job of using mini-flashbacks of experiences Loki had during various points in his life. The brief cut scenes are inserted into moments which help the viewer understand Loki's background and what his frame of reference is for the events unfolding around him.
The VisualsOk, if you skipped to this part of the review, I wouldn't blame you. With any motion comic it comes down to how awkward or how awesome they look as you're watching them.
Motion comics do take a bit of getting used to. It's like watching the Pixar movie Cars: during the first 5 minutes of the film you start to think to yourself, "Talking cars look ridiculous. Am I going to be able to watch a whole movie of this?" Ten minutes later...you don't even realize that cars cannot actually speak in real life. The strength of the story and overall visuals take over and allow your mind to accept the unnatural.
With that said, Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers episode #1 actually seems very realistic right away. Esad Ribic's (as seen in Uncanny X-Force #6) painted art suits the dark tone of the story. After an introduction scene featuring swirling snow and a quick video game cut-scene style of graphics, a lot of the motion is captured wonderfully in the faces of speaking characters like Loki. Loki's face has a very Star Wars Emperor feel to it, calling upon visual memories of an ancient evil. However, some of the arm movements feel a bit clumsy. It's as if the arms are paper cut-outs connected by brads moving in robotics straight-armed ways.
Something new to the Marvel Motion Comics, which Blood Brothers takes advantage of, is the use of computer-animated scenes. As opposed to simply making a static image move, there are times when computer-generated scenes play out. All of the completely CG scenes are done when the characters' faces are not seen, such as when the characters walk in darkness, because the faces require more description and rendering. The all-CG scenes are noticeably less textured and flow in a different manner, yet their use is limited and therefore not overly distracting.
Overall, the imagery and movement is handled very well.
The SoundJames Snyder (Audio Director, Voice Over Director, Casting) did an outstanding job of bringing together a group of vocally-accurate actors...or at least they sound as the characters would sound in my head. Loki's voice is particularly cutting and articulate...just the way a god who uses his persuasion to get his way should sound.
Though the voice actors do a great job, the music in Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers episode #1 is the true star. Amotz Plessner and Underground Music put together a wonderful score that contains hints of ancient times, gods and subtle intensity. Deep drums and low strings highlight a score which at times has the feel of Lord of the Rings. It's absolutely beautiful, and compliments the storytelling perfectly.
With a combination of an excellent story, great visuals (which only falter briefly), and a lovely score, Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers episode #1 is a must for motion comics fans and Thor fans in general. For those who have been curious about motion comics but have not yet explored the form of entertainment, I would definitely recommend Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers episode #1. You may find yourself going back and checking out other well done motion comics such as Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. and Iron Man: Extremis.
For more on the production of Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers check out Marvel's Production interview.
For more comic related posts and reviews by Dom, head on over to 365DaysofComics.com or his Room With a Review!
Written or Contributed by: Dom G