by Matt Fraction (writer), Pasqual Ferry (art), Frank D’Armata (colors), and Joe Sabino (letters)

The Review: This is one of those comics that I hate reviewing.
On the one hand, it’s a pretty good read.  It doesn’t do anything wrong, and does quite a bit right, but in order to manage this, it’s a book that plays it safe and keeps its ambitions lower than they should be.

I am, of course, referring to Tanarus.  All told, I like the character.  Fraction gives him a unique, brash, fun-loving demeanor that makes for a lively presence.  Better still, when Fraction reveals Tanarus’ true nature, he cuts a surprisingly sympathetic figure.  It’s hard to really go into without spoiling, but it looks like Fraction is building a story around a bad guy from a bad crowd learning to be something more, but still subject to the pull of those evil associates.  This lends itself to the creation of a character in a precarious position; moreover, we get a character whose been empowered and elevated but also entrapped.

Overall, though, Fraction gives us a comic that feels very….”Thor.”  There’s a heavy focus on Asgard, Asgardian politics, intrigue, and magic.  Already, I’m loving Loki’s position of being the only person to know that things aren’t quite right.  It makes an isolated character that no one trusts all the more isolated and powerless.

Fraction also brings back Kelda.  In so doing, he shows us the inevitable, wasted endpoint for the character.  It’s kind of weird seeing her suddenly in this state as we never really saw exactly how she got here, but it makes sense.  It’s nice to see Fraction bring her back in a significant way that is a logical next step for the character.

But about those failed ambitions: put simply, the reveal of who/what Tanarus is and what exactly is going on is pretty underwhelming.  With a phenomenon as big as the world having forgotten Thor, I expected something far more significant, even cosmological, to be at the root of things.  In Fear Itself, it seemed like Fraction was going in a really grand direction involving evolving mythologies and collective cultural consciousness being at the root of this switcheroo, or at least some sort of law or natural response that kicks in upon the death of a significant god and the vacuum Thor’s death created.
Instead….it appears that some bad guys just did some magic and hoodwinked everybody.

That being said, credit where credit is due: Fraction cuts right to the chase.  One month after Fear Itself, and we know what’s up with Tanarus and we know what’s going on with Thor.  There’s no forced waiting period where Thor is dead and absent until he gets resurrected in an anniversary issue or event.  There’s no dragging out of who and what Tanarus is.  We get answers right away, and that’s an admirable bit of honesty, not to mention plot progression, on Fraction’s part.  We’re going places, rather than treading water.

The art, however, is a mixed bag.  Ferry’s art is excellent, but I found that D’Armata’s colors took away from it.  D’Armata seems to bring the exact palate and style to just about every book he colours, leading to many of the artists he colours losing some of their unique style.  Compare this issue of Mighty Thor to the previews for next week’s issue of Uncanny X-Men, and you’ll likely see what I mean.  Compare this issue to Ferry’s World Eaters arc with Matt Hollingsworth on colours, and you’ll notice the world of difference.  This looks like your standard, solid Marvel comic, whereas the Hollingsworth issues look truly epic and distinct.

Conclusion: Decent, but plays it safe.

Grade: C+

-Alex Evans