Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers episode 2 impresses with well-delivered Shakespearean dialog and some of the best (to date) comic-recreation animation.
After thoroughly enjoying Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers episode 1 I was informed by it's producer, Ruwan Jayatilleke, to look out for the next episode because "the guy who plays Balder is extraordinary." While Jayatilleke was not kidding about the outstanding voice acting with Balder in particular, Jayatilleke did not inform me that episode 2 took Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers, and Marvel Knights Animation, to a whole new level of entertainment.
3 Worthy Asgardian Aspects to Look for in Episode 2
1. The Animation and CG Continues to Improve
For viewers who enjoyed the extra bits of computer graphic animation in Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers episode 1, prepare yourselves for More Betterness (No Use For a Name album...I'm listening to it right now, sorry). On top of the intense animation added to painted panels by Esad Ribic, a few CG scenes were added to expand on the story's pacing.
One specific section in which Thor, Loki and Sif are battling back an enemy on snow-capped mountain tops has Thor moving with a practically full range of motion as he strikes enemies with his hammer. After a brief exchange of words, an animated segment has Thor jumping down from the mountaintop with wonderful fluidity.
Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers episode 2, unlike the first episode, adds a couple of CG segments where faces are visible. When creating a CG segment, the face of a character is very difficult to render well. In the previous episode most of the CG scenes have the characters' faces in shadow, but Blood Brothers episode 2 holds nothing back and attacks like a facehugger in the Alien movies. I think viewers will be quite impressed with how far motion comics/Marvel Knights Animation projects have come in regard to facial movements.
2. Size Does Matter
One of the big complaints motion comic skeptics and haters have expressed to me is that the price does not fit the product. As I expressed in my previous Thor & Loki review, the price is fair considering many Marvel comic books cost $3.99. Blood Brothers only costs $2.99 an episode and has already averaged a longer run time than the previous Marvel motion comics; previous ones were anywhere from 10 to 14 minutes long. Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers episode 2 has a run time of over 20 minutes! Marvel Knights Animation comics have become the same length as a television show. If you check out the pricing on TV shows (on iTunes) that have about the same run time, such as ABC's Mr. Sunshine, you will see that the pricing is equivalent.
I had a fellow comic shop patron argue that when you buy the actual comic you get to have it for good. Maybe they haven't used the magic box known as the computer yet, but once you download the episode...you have it for good. If you are thinking "What if the computer crashes or dies?" then I will counter with the obvious, such as backing up drives, and the fact that your comics could get destroyed in things such as fires anyway. Plus, most computer problems are user errors. Noobs!
Motion comics are not for everyone. If it just doesn't fit your style...that's fine. I just don't want to hear that they are too expensive when there are examples like Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers episode 2 providing a 20-plus minute viewing experience.
3. The Many Voices of Gods
As producer Ruwan Jayatilleke pointed out, the voice acting is "extraordinary." David Blair's Loki continues to anchor a great cast of voices who recite their lines in a Shakespearean style, adding to the intensity of Robert Rodi's story. (When I read a comic with a Shakespeare-like accent I sound like a chimney sweep from Mary Poppins, I do, I do.) Blair's Loki has an anger in his voice which comes off as confidence and strength, thus adding to the characterization and depth of Loki.
Much of Blood Brothers episode 2 is carried by Blair's performance, yet the performance of the voice actor playing Balder, in the later third of the episode, is as Ruwan mentioned, "hauntingly good." He speaks with a mysterious all-knowing tone due to his character's experience with visions of the future. Balder's last bit of dialog, which he screams to a retreating Loki, "Without knowing it, you know it!" makes for the defining moment of episode 2.
One problem I had with the voice acting was that I could not find Balder's voice actor's name in the credits. That actor deserves some credit!
If you got the first episode, the second episode is a must. Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers episode 2 is more impressive than episode 1, longer and worth every electronic penny!
For more on the production of Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers Ep. 2, check out Marvel's Ruwan Jayatilleke 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