by Matt Fraction (writer), Pasqual Ferry & Salvador Larroca (art), Matt Hollingsworth & Ulises Arreola (colors), and John Workman (letters)

The Story: The Blood Legion battles the World Eaters for all the marbles.

The Review: I’m really pretty torn over this comic.  As a huge fan of Thor, there were things that really worked and things that simply did not, and they’re all big things.

On the one hand, I really do tip my hat to Matt Fraction when it comes to the sheer scale of this comic.  Seeing the massive Asgardian Blood Legion golem battling a horde of World Eaters is awesome on so many levels.   Seeing it attempting to attack the world tree as reality itself threatens to come asunder…it’s really, really massive stuff.  In this respect, that tells me that Fraction gets Thor.  The size alone of what he writes is enough to attest to that.  The panicked citizens of Broxton, the hellish environment, the number of bodies involved in the fight itself, Odin and Uthana Thoth’s battle of wills, and the victory celebration at the end all suggest epic stuff.

The problem, though, is Fraction’s pacing.  Many have criticized Thor and Invincible Iron Man for the slow pacing, but I was fine with it.  What I’m not fine with, is how Fraction built everything up for so long and that neatly ties everything up in these 22 pages.  The conclusion, and the fight itself, relegated as they are to just about one issue, ends up feeling rushed and far too easy.  It’s as though Fraction suddenly woke up and realized he only had one issue to wrap everything up and went nuts as a result.  Hell, nobody even really fights Uthana himself.

Which is weird, given his issue-long face-off with Odin.  But that confrontation is so awkward, that I wasn’t even quite sure what to make of it.  They’re not really fighting, but they’re not standing apart and just talking either.  I’m not quite certain what they’re doing, to be honest, aside from yelling at one another from close proximity.  It’s rather weird and confusing; which kind of sums up the ending overall.  Whacking the world tree is meant to be a way to combat the World Eaters, but why this is never aptly explained and when the ending comes around, it’s really worth a head scratch.  Why does this allow dead characters to come back to life?  Where exactly are the World Eaters?  It’s an ending that leaves more questions than answers, and not in a good way.  At times, I felt like Fraction was as confused as I was.  It all so vague, ambiguous, and yet not overly intellectual either.  It’s just half-baked.

Which is a shame, because the art is really, really good.  It suits the scale and scope of the book, as usual, but it challenges Ferry even more than usual.  With the giant battles and the World Tree’s cosmic…whatever it’s doing, Ferry really shines.  While I can pick at Fraction’s work, I cannot pick at Ferry’s.  This is an absolutely gorgeous book that you might want to flip through again, if only to look at the pretty, pretty pictures.

Conclusion: Kind of a mess, really.

Grade: C

-Alex Evans