By Roger Langridge (writer), Chris Samnee (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist)

The Story: It’s Boys’ Night Out for the God of Thunder as The Warriors Three drop by to take Thor out for an evening of mass mead consumption.

The Good: Every month, this comic just keeps getting better and continues to be one of the few comics I eagerly anticipate reading! This month’s issue sets a new benchmark in quality for “The Mighty Avenger”, firing on all cylinders to tell a story that was pure entertainment from start to finish. Free from the constraints of continuity that burden its sister titles, this comic is free to flirt and play with Thor’s history as it sees fit without ever being dragged down by it. The Warriors Three are, of course, long-term mainstays in Thor’s world, but here in this comic their appearance feels fresh, yet strangely familiar, like meeting three good friends again for the first time. Here, Langridge writes Thor’s buddies like three older brothers who adore and idolize their younger brother and wouldn’t think twice to throw down with Captain Britain for the sake of their young friend. It’s that well-crafted sense of camaraderie that Langridge executes here that made me view Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg as more than obedient sidekicks, and I like when a comic can get me to look at old characters in new ways.

I mentioned this issue was entertaining, right? More to the point, it was absolutely hilarious, but I suppose that was inevitable in a story about a bunch of guys going out to drink for the night. You know guys like this. You’re probably friends them and have had a few of these nights over the course of your infamous friendships with them. Yeah, they might be gods, but Langridge writes them as a motley crew of loyal friends first, and that’s a quality that we can all get behind and endorse. They’re a rowdy bunch though, and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at Samnee’s glorious splash page of the Warriors Three spurring Thor on to beat the crap out of Captain Britain. Samnee’s work continues to captivate me, and I love how easily he can transition from an intense brawl between Thor and Captain Britain to a tender moment between Thor and Jane. His work bursts with energy and emotion in a style that is deceptively simple but always worth a view.

The Not So Good: Being a huge fan of Captain Britain’s portrayal in Paul Cornell’s excellent MI:13 series, I was disappointed to again see him reduced to this bland, ineffective, comedic fop for others to use as a punching bag. This in turn speaks to a larger issue that’s slowly been bugging me over the course of this series, and that’s when the hell this story is supposed to take place! There are some visual cues, like Thor’s current costume, or Henry Pym’s costume from the last issue, that lead me to believe this is supposed to be a story set in contemporary times, but then I consider things like the appearance of Hyde and characterization of Captain Britain, or even Namor’s noticeably retro appearance on the cover to next month’s issue, and I wonder if this is supposed to take place further back in time. I wouldn’t care either way if Langridge set his tale in the past of near present, but this strange hybrid of time and place is a bit off-putting at times and I’m starting to wish he could commit to something, anything, that will put this story in some kind of context.

Conclusion: As this book slowly draws closer to the rest of the Marvel Universe and the cornerstones of Thor’s cast of characters, it’s becoming quite clear that Thor: The Mighty Avenger is quality entertainment and a rare gem of a comic that is not to be missed. You want to know why I read comics? It’s for stories like this that delight and entertain me in equal measure.

Grade: A-

-Tony Rakittke