REVIEW: Ragnarok #7

RagnarȌk #7
Writer & Artist: Walter Simonson
Colors: Laura Martin
Published by Idea and Design Works, LLC.

Mythological stories, particularly sagas that entail Norse gods, have absolutely fascinated me since my early childhood days. As a very young comic book collector in the 1980’s, Thor comics were at the top of my Marvel collecting list, followed by Spider-Man, X-Men and the Avengers. I simply found it impossible to resist tales that involved powerful and majestic beings who were constantly at war with giants, trolls, spirits, dwarves, elves, fire demons and a host of other bizarre creatures that inhabited the magical realms of Asgard.

Thor comics back in the days of my youth, were to me at least, outright fantastic. Perhaps you could make a valid argument that I should chalk up those very sentiments to youthful enthusiasm. But how can I? I was never bored with any of Thor’s adventures from that era…not even now, when I occasionally re-read and enjoy Thor’s exploits from yesteryear. What stood out for me the most from Thor books in the 80’s was undoubtedly Walter Simonson’s exceptional run on the title.

When Walter Simonson took over the writing and artistic duties for Thor in 1983, with issue #337, he propelled Thor and all of its Asgardian characters to another level while simultaneously presenting new ones. Beta Ray Bill, Malekith the Accursed, Lorelei, the younger sister of Amora the Enchantress , Sigurd Jarlson, Algrim the Strong…they were just some of the personalities Walter Simonson introduced to the Thor mythos. He provided solid plots coupled with pulsating images with each Thor issue he worked on. His visualization of Asgard and all of its realms was magnificent. He was unafraid to share with us his sinister version of Hel and all of its dead residents. He portrayed the towering Surtur and his deadly army of fire demons as an unstoppable force that was bent on smothering all life in Asgard, or in any other realm for that matter. Every design Simonson layed out during his run on Thor was injected with an energetic breath of life, which in my opinion, might not be matched in Thor books for a very long time…if ever.

Thor books have never been the same for me ever since Simonson’s run ended with Thor issue #382. That was in 1987, in case you were wondering. But now, after all of these years, RagnarȌk has arrived.

I was more than thrilled when I learned that Walter Simonson was going to return to write and draw a brand new Norse epic. After reading the first few pages of RagnarȌk #1, I was completely sold on his latest concept and ready to commit to collecting this run for however long it lasts.

So what is RagnarȌk all about? Well, let’s start with the meaning of the word, shall we? RagnarȌk refers to the Asgardian apocalypse. It represents a time where cataclysmic battles are to occur between the gods of Asgard and its many enemies. As a result of the mighty conflict, Asgard will lie in ruins and the light of the Asgardian gods will be extinguished, including Thor’s.

In Simonson’s RagnarȌk series, the apocalypse of Asgard had already occurred and Asgard’s enemies triumphed over the Aesir, becoming the supreme rulers of whatever lands remained from the devastation they initiated. All noble Asgardians were dead, including the thunder-god, Thor. Thor’s lifeless body was shackled and imprisoned within a stone chamber at the farthest end of the known world. However, Thor’s power wasn’t completely diminished. Centuries later, a self-appointed Lord of the Dead hires a Black Elf assassin named Brynja to kill Thor once and for all. Brynja in turn hires a group of assassins to aid her with terminating Thor. During the assasination attempt, Thor’s decayed corpse becomes fully animated. Brynja and her band of assassins die at the hands of the thunder-god. Thor, also refered to as the Stone God, then begins his journey in pursuit of acquiring knowledge regarding the fate of his world and that of his wife and children. Eventually, Thor learns that he is the last of the Aesir and he vows to eradicate the enemies of Asgard, the slayers of his beloved wife and children. In issue #7, the Black Elf Regn, and his daughter Drifa, have followed Thor into the vestiges of Asgard, with hopes of finishing the job Brynja set off to do…

The RagnarȌk series has been an absolute treat to read since the very first panel of the run. As a Norse mythology enthusiast, there is none other than Walter Simonson who’s able to impart their knowledge of the subject like he can…trust me on that. The concept of a post-apocalyptic Thor story is brilliant. The artwork alone in every issue so far, has been gorgeous, especially during combat sequences. Laura Martin’s coloring fits perfectly with what Simonson is portraying.

Bottom line – I see a very bright future for the RagnarȌk series. What do you see Thor Odinson?

Until next time Crusaders!

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