by Jason Aaron (Writer), Ron Garney, Emanuela Lupacchino (Artists), Ive Svorcina (Colorist)

The Story: Thor brings the pain to Malekith as the final fate of the league of realms and the dark elf criminal is revealed.

The Review: Not all titles are winners. There will always be an arc, a character or a certain addition to the story that readers will dislike or certainly not appreciate as much as the rest. Quality is not something consistent in most titles after all, nor is personal appreciation. We may love something, but there must be highs and lows in order for the better elements to be easier to perceive.

It is then, to my surprise, rather nice to see that while this arc might have begun in the most obvious of ways, with Malekith being presented just in the time for the movie, there was an actual direction to the story. While the general progression to this point had some good and bad parts, Jason Aaron does show that he can actually do something with some less-desirable elements in the book.

The first thing that Aaron manages to do is actually surprise readers, throwing twists after twists in this issue alone, providing for a great number of satisfactory scenes for those who had no idea of the actual direction the story could go for. With the story being rather straightforward before, the writer makes for a nice use of what had been set up earlier to provide for something rather inventive and expansive for the nine realms and its future in the Marvel universe.

Another aspect that is done rather well is the manner in which some of the more contrived characters manage to gets much more interesting in this issue, with the league of realms managing to get a bit funnier and more entertaining due to their arrival and their general cooperation. While their personality had never been that complex before, Aaron proves them to be a bit more important and a bit more nuanced now after this story is done. They are, of course, not attaining Shakespearian heights yet, but there is a certain potential to them now that their first story is done.

The character that benefits most from this issue though is Malekith. While his general mannerism seemed to be a simple mix between the Joker and a magic user, Aaron reveals his plan for the character, making him infinitely more interesting as the endgame of that arc is shown to the readers. Presenting a different facet of the dark elves and their culture, it also provides for a different look at the character, making him a bit more unique at the same time. He may have started as a somewhat bland villain, but Malekith might prove to be something more if he ever return to that title and in the general Marvel universe.

Still as it may, not everything is particularly great here. For one, the action sequence is not particularly exciting. There are a few moments that do provide for entertainment here and there, yet there is a certain restraint at work here to provide some more opportunities for other characters to shine rather than only Thor. The general sense of madness present in the god butcher story is nowhere to be found here. Still, being not as good as previous fights does not equate for a boring and uninteresting scene, as there are some pieces here and there that are fun despite all that.

What’s still a bit weak is the art, though, despite the addition of Emanuela Lupacchino to the book. Both Lupacchino and Garney are on artistic duty here, which is a mixed blessing as the first few and last pages are rather good-looking, with some clear lines and a general sense of composition that is well-interpreted in lush backgrounds and the action, but most of the pages between them seem a tad rushed. The characters are especially rough-looking with sketchy lines, their faces being especially so. This has the result of some expressions being a bit on the nose instead of more subtle, which does not help set in the more nuanced approach to the end of this storyline, not keeping up with the surprises Aaron throws at the readers. The atmosphere and the panelling are rather great, though, with some very nice touch in some pages done with the scenery that allows for the nine realms to shine. There have been some improvement overall for the art with the Malekith art, but some of the problems still persist even with the addition of some elements.

The colorization, though, is improved in many ways, with a focus on some elements in favour of others in order to play well with contrasts in several scenes. Thor’s cape, the crackling thunder and many other elements are taken to the extreme, playing with white backgrounds and the like to make the other colors pop up on the page, presenting a canvas that is rife with possibility instead of a plethora of chaos. It goes to show that Ive Svorcina can certainly adapt his style to several stories, with this one being a bit more colorful than the first arc on this title.

The Conclusion
: With a few surprises and some rather great development both for the characters and Thor’s corner of the Marvel universe, the conclusion to this arc proves to be stronger than its opening issue. Despite the fact that the art might be a tad rushed at times, this issue proves to be an entertaining one nonetheless.

Grade: B-

-Hugo Robberts Larivière