by Jason Aaron (Writer), Ron Garney (Artist) Ive Svorcina (Colorist)

The Story: Malekith the Accursed comes out of his prison and cause some chaos.

The Review: Well, here we are again. Another story that is set to tie-in many elements from a movie for the new readers. While this does not necessarily means that the story including those elements will be bad, the more pessimistic readers might see this as an editorial obligation. The more optimistic ones might think that the writer can be skilled enough to incorporate those elements in his story without hurting the narrative flow and the themes. Between the two, who would be closest to the realities presented by this issue?

There’s a little bit of both here, as unlike the amazing last issue, most of the ideas revolving around the ideas of godhood in the Marvel universe are dropped in order to provide a story featuring Malekith the Accursed. It is a bit disappointing to see such a novel approach to the god of thunder being dropped in order to showcase a character that never was the greatest or most impressive foe in a line-up that include such antagonists as Loki, the Destroyer armor and the Enchantress.

Still, Jason Aaron makes for the most of it as he uses the nine realms and some of the ideas of including some of the actual Norse mythology from Walter Simonson in his tale. The scenes with the dark elves going to rescue Malekith from his prison in Niffleheim are well-paced, show plenty of action and delve into the mythology with enough depth as to bask the readers in the more fantastical angles of Thor’s corner of the Marvel universe.

Where it shows some problems would be the actual introduction of Malekith, who is lacking in bit in terms of gravitas and originality. Coming from a huge story where the antagonist was a literal god-butcher, Malekith seems like a relatively small-fry threat to the god of thunder, which isn’t really subverted by any of his actions in the issue. He does have some dialogue that sounds angry and threatening and he does show his anger throughout some actions, yet the threat level isn’t properly defined for the readers to see that Malekith do mean business. Considering he had to be helped in order to crawl out of his hole in Niffleheim, he just doesn’t seem on the same level as Gorr in terms of impact and as a potential danger to the nine realms.

Still, there isn’t just Malekith in this issue as the titular character is joined by the Warrior Three, with Sif accompanying them. Aaron do gets how they should be written, showing the camaraderie and the fighting spirit that unites them. Where he fails a bit, though, is with Volstagg, who many people seem to write as a cowardly fool or simply an over-eater, which only shows one facet of this character who had seen some complexity added during the Straczynski/Gillen/Fraction era on the title as being noble, courageous and self-sacrificing when the time comes for him to. Him desiring to go away when there is a village on fire seems to be counter-productive on the way he had evolved subtly throughout the years and it is saddening to see him being reverted to the simpler ways he used to be interpreted. The rest of the cast, though, is solidly written, so in the end there’s more good than bad in terms of characterization.

This latest comment could also be the reality of the artistic presentation of the book, brought by Ron Garney. With this title seeing great artists like Esad Ribic and Nic Klein, Ron Garney comes as a bit of a downgrade to the whole package. Sure enough, he is talented as he clearly shows in the scenes featuring the dark elves in Niffleheim, with Garney showing off the icy realm full of tortured souls and spider with a style that is great to behold, yet those are the best pages visually in the whole issue. The other pages are much more muddled and sketchy in their details, which is a shame as the book always had a strong artistic position. The expressions and many of the background are detailed enough to be discernible for the readers, yet there is a lack of cleanliness in Garney’s approach that doesn’t let some of the elements come to the forefront of the book like they should.

Part of this problem comes from the colorization itself, though, as Ive Svorcina has the same problems with pretty much the same scenes. In the dark elves pages, Svorcina plays with a vast range of blue colorization, providing some small elements, like the armors, the weapons and the spiders to bring forth a contrast that works well in the icy lands. It makes the elements mesh together in a way that hides the sketchy lines, enhancing the strengths of Garney that much more. In the pages with Thor and the Warrior Three, there is perhaps too much contrast here, making the effect void as a lot of elements clash together and not in a good way. Svorcina is usually much better than this, but perhaps he needs to accustom his style to Garney’s first.

The Conclusion
: A good issue, yet one that is very uneven in terms of quality with both the story and the art. Lacking some of the gravitas and the themes that made this tenure great, Aaron, Garney and Svorcina aren’t making the first issue of this new arc the best it could.

Grade: B-

Hugo Robberts Larivière