As soon as I heard that Walter Simonson was putting out a book with IDW that featured his own take on Thor I was sold. Simonson’s run on Thor for Marvel Comics is iconic and I was excited about the project. My expectations were extremely high, but when I read Ragnarok: Last God Standing those expectations were not only met, but exceeded.
Simonson gives us a Thor that is much closer to the actual Norse mythology than the one that was made popular in comics and films by Marvel. Despite having a strong tie to the mythology of the past and remaining faithful to that source material Simonson is able to take that same Thor and put him in a new setting and make it feel like the natural progression of events.
The gods have fallen and Asgard is in ruins. Everyone that Thor knew and loved is dead and he himself has been away for a long time. He must now rediscover the world and his place within it while seeking the answer to what happened to his home and his loved ones. Along the way he will make new friends and fight enemies both old and new as he undertakes an epic quest to avenge those lost and protect those that still need protecting. All mortals are under his protection he declares to an enemy and he backs up that promise.
Simonson also gives us a very unique design for Thor and his world, which while very close to the Thor of myth, is also wildly original. Thor has been immobilized for centuries when the story picks up his story. He resembles the dried out husk of a walking corpse, which seem to be everywhere. His lower jaw seems to have rotted away. You would think this would impede his speech, but it does not. This is addressed by someone he meets along the way. It does make for a very intimidating look and in my mind it makes the voice seem creepier.
The colors of Laura Martin add personality to not only the characters, but also the environments. She gives each section of Thor’s world its own unique feel while managing to make them feel as if they belong in the same world.
Another very interesting bit of coolness was the narration text resembling Norse runes. It works really well and gives the book a little extra personality. I am glad that the effect was limited to the narration as it would have gotten a bit hard on the eyes and detracted from the story if it was used throughout. Much credit to letterer John Workman for using the effect expertly.
Giving readers who may have gotten the single issues an extra incentive to get the graphic novel plenty of bonus material is provided. There is a cover gallery, some sketches, and even the script for issue #1.
Simonson has produced an original and engaging version of Thor and if you are a fan of any version of the son of Odin I recommend grabbing a snack and a drink and sitting down in a comfy chair for an afternoon of great entertainment.
Story: 5 Stars
Art: 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
(W) Walter Simonson (A/CA) Walter Simonson