by Matt Fraction (writer), Pasqual Ferry (art), Matt Hollingsworth (colors), and John Workman (letters)

The Story: Thor awakens the resurrected Loki and Dr. Eric Solvang finally finds someone to listen to him as Uthana Thoth continues to expand his dominion.

What’s Good: In all honesty, if you’ve liked Matt Fraction’s first two issues of Thor, you’re going to like this one for pretty much all of the same reasons as the quality remains utterly consistent.  It’s still the epic, quirky mix of fantasy and old school sci-fi that’s had me raving over the last couple of months.

Beyond that though, this issue introduces an elephant into the room: a resurrected Loki.  I’ll admit, while I was curious, I was also a bit miffed; Loki’s death was a big event at the end of Siege and was examined nicely by Kieron Gillen, and he’s already being brought back from the dead?  It seemed hasty.

Well, I was wrong to doubt Matt Fraction, as this is far from simply bringing Loki back.  The Loki Fraction introduces is essentially a new character to the series.  I won’t spoil the surprise, but what Fraction does here is utterly ingenious, essentially making an old character completely new and fresh both in personality and what he stands for.  There’s huge potential here.  Furthermore, Loki’s human alter-ego, a child street hustler in Paris, is an absolute delight to read in all his carnie goodness.

I also was surprised by how well Tony Stark functioned in this book.  It’s a character Fraction knows very well, but one that also works very well as a middle-man between the quantum cosmologist Eric Solvang and the Asgardians.  He’s basically a big name Marvel Universe figure who serves as a bridge between these two very disparate genres who both occupy that same universe.  It’s well-done by Fraction.

Art-wise, Pasqual Ferry and Matt Hollingsworth deliver another knockout, even in an issue that’s a bit more restrained, focusing more on everyday environments.  The work is still brimming with character, both comic booky and incredibly polished.  Art-wise, there’s nothing not to like here and I really loved Ferry’s goblins, who made the last page funnier than it should have been.

What’s Not So Good: I’m getting tired of seeing Asgardians weeping and moaning over a ruined Asgard and burying their dead.  It’s as though that’s all some characters (Balder) ever do.  Siege ended several months ago and it feels like we should be farther progressed than this.  I think this is due to the delay in the start of Fraction’s run, which means that not only is this all a bit belated, but it’s also redundant, since Gillen had to cover the same ground by necessity.

I did also find the manner in which Thor awakened Loki to be just a little too convenient.  At first the kid’s running away, justifiably terrified, and then suddenly starts confessing to the very guy he was running from about having strange dreams of being a nasty god?  Surely there would’ve been a more elegant way to do this, though perhaps more pages would’ve been needed.

Conclusion: Still one of the best books at Marvel.  Needs more Volstagg though, although even issues that feature Volstagg need more Volstagg.

Grade: B+

-Alex Evans