by Matt Fraction (writer), Olivier Coipel (pencils), Mark Morales (inks), Laura Martin (colors), and Joe Sabino (letters)

The Story: The Asgardians go to war with Galactus, as the big purple guy takes on Odin in a battle of wills.  Also, Volstagg takes on the slavering hordes of Broxton.

What’s Good: If there’s one thing that comic books as a medium lends itself well to, it’s “awesomeness.”  By awesomeness, I don’t mean mere positive quality.  Rather, I’m referring to the jaw-droppingly ludicrous that can be described in no other way, things that are so massive that they beggar belief.

With issues like this, it seems that Matt Fraction is very in tune with this when it comes to his Mighty Thor comic.  I mean seriously, this month, we have Thor and the Warriors Three, dressed in space marine armor, battling the Silver Surfer, “cosmic demons,” and Galactus in freaking space.  The very fact that Fraction doesn’t do anything criminally wrong in his dialogue or storytelling pretty much means this issue is a win due to its concept alone.  The space battle is so massively epic that at some points, you’ve just gotta sit back and enjoy it.

A lot of this is also due to the efforts of Olivier Coipel.  I feel like I’m saying this every month, but this really is Coipel’s best outing thus far.  His Galactus is awesome, his actions sequences are mind-boggling in scale and speed, his characters are likable, and he even does really nifty work in altering his style a bit when depicting flashback sequences, shifting from bombastic space opera to dark fantasy mystery.

Fraction also finds space for other stuff as well, not satisfied with awesome space battling.  We get quality Volstagg comedy, full of the usual hot air and exaggerations that have made the big guy such an easy fan favorite.  There’s Kid Loki’s well-meaning scheming as well, and frankly, Kid Loki has been a winner of a character since his creation.  He also is a fantastic straight man next to Volstagg’s bluster.

I also really enjoyed Galactus and Odin’s mental struggle.  The flashbacks initiated in Odin’s mind were creepy and ominous, and the way Galactus took shape in the All-Father’s mind was pretty cool and subtle, while also giving the whole thing a tinge of horror comic goodness.

What’s Not So Good: While I enjoyed the Volstagg comedy, I think Fraction does himself a disservice by alternating back and forth between the Thor/Galactus storyline an the Volstagg/Broxton one.  It leads to some off-kilter pacing, if only because the two are such polar opposites.  It’s probably intentional, but ultimately, the gamble doesn’t pay off, as instead of contrast, you just get a jarring experience whenever the comic switches between the plot-lines.  Fraction’s paired the most mundane storyline possible with an epic, cosmic struggle.  It’s not a good idea.  It may have worked in the same issue if they’d been cordoned off from one another, but switching back and forth is simply too much.

Beyond that, while there is a lot of awesomeness, there’s always going to be a feeling of superficiality that haunts an action heavy comic like this.  Fraction comes close to breaking that with his Odin mental/flashback scenes, but it’s not enough.  In the end, there’s a lot of punching, and while it’s fun to watch, it doesn’t necessarily feel like heavy, meaningful, character-driven stuff.  I guess what I’m saying is that at the moment, the Galactus Seed storyline is plot-driven and not character-driven, which for me, means that it can only be so good, as emotional investment can only go so far.

Conclusion: It may not be an Eisner-contender, but it’s still a hell of a good time.

Grade: B

-Alex Evans


-Alex Evans