With Ragnarok #11, we are fast closing in on the final confrontation between Thor and the evil that has controlled the Dusk Lands since the end of the universe in issue number 1. And in this issue, it is confirmed that what the readers thought happened in the first issue wasn’t quite true. There are a lot of implications to this change.
I can’t think of many comic book creators more suited to telling the story of what happens after the Norse universe ends that Walter Simonson. His impact on Marvel’s Thor is so important, I always think that he wrote and drew that book longer than the four years he was actually on it. So many concepts that readers take for granted and artist draw upon for their own new stories come from work Simonson did during his run.
In this issue of Ragnarok, Regn, the dark elf assassin who has been traveling with Thor and his daughter through the Dusk Lands arrives at the border of the lands controlled directly by Angantyr, the Lord of the Dead, since Hel disappeared in the battle. Regn, pretends to have killed Thor and presents part of his armor to Angantyr as proof of Thor’s death.
Meanwhile Thor is trying to recover his strength, having been wounded having been wounded by Regn’s cursed sword. But the cursed wound continues to weaken Thor even as he will need all his strength for the final confrontation ahead of him.
Meanwhile Regn learns what Angantyr has in store for him and his daughter. He also learns that despite all the legends, Thor failed to appear at Ragnarok and never fought the Midgard serpent during the battle. What this means for the survivors of the nine realms will come to a head in the next issue.
What I have loved about the series so far is that Thor, even in his current half dead and mummified form, is still an inspiration for the few remaining living beings in this burned out husk of a universe. He has fought the undead, fire giants, ice giants and other threats in order to help the survivors. And he has been rewarded with people’s hope and faith in him.
Simonson has used this series to explore what message are behind the Norse myths. They are not just a bunch of stories for children, but they have something important to show us about ourselves. He also is great at subverting our expectations of these characters and giving them real depth and pathos in this half-life of a universe. I can’t wait to see how he will bring this all to its end.
Writer: Walter Simonson
Artist: Walter Simonson