Thor Giant-Size Finale #1

Thor Giant-Size Finale #1
I happen to like Thor. There's something about mythologically inspired superheroes that appeals to me. Maybe it's the odd fusion of ancient characters with modern day settings. Maybe it's the brazen way in which the comic creators appropriate the beliefs of dead religions without fear of backlash. Or maybe it's all the unintentionally hilarious methods employed to make the character more authentic: There's the illogical mash-up of Roman, Hebrew, and Greek figures to invent Captain Marvel. The contemporaneous burlesque costume of Wonder Woman. Or the fact that Thor inappropriately uses the Shakesperian "zounds". I suppose those three make up my personal superhero trinity. So against my better judgment I've been following J. Michael Straczynski’s run since he revived the series. There were some amusing changes: Olivier Coipel's buff interpretation of the character. Loki is resurrected as a woman. Asgard is relocated to Oklahoma. But then Thor is banished and Loki convinces Balder to move Asgard to Latveria at Doctor Doom's invitation. So first the US government gives Norman Osborn control over their superhero program. And now Balder dumps his greatest warrior to hang out with two of the world's greatest sociopaths, one of whom is responsible for his murder.* Morons!

Despite the title, Giant Size Thor Finale is just marketing hyperbole. It marks the end of Straczynski’s stint as writer. Rather than concluding the story arc he began, he abruptly leaves it for the next creative team and company wide crossover to wrap up. I suspect that this wasn't his decision to end his run in this manner. But those are the pitfalls when working with a company owned character. The most disappointing part of this issue is the cynical manner in which two supporting characters are dispatched. Yet another reason not to become too emotionally invested in the Marvel Universe.

Journey into Mystery cover
To justify the "giant size" title, the comic reprints Thor's original appearance in Journey into Mystery. I've got no issue with the decision even if it seems redundant. But I must object to the recoloring of the story. There is a need to digitally rework these older published pages to make them more compatible with advances in printing technology. That requires scanning them, cleaning them up, and creating digital separations for the black and white, and color elements. But just because the pages can be recolored with newer rendering methods doesn't mean that they should. I don't mean to impose my tastes, but I believe that pencillers and inkers of the time tailored their linework to suit the four color printing processes of the era. While the pages are early Thor art, they're still representative of his use of thick lines, large black areas, and blocky figures. They're best complemented by the application of flat colors. Later digital practices simply weaken their impact. Please Marvel, when recoloring classic artwork, direct your colorists to show restraint with the use of gradients, cuts, color holds, glows, lens flares, and overlaid textures.

Journey into Mystery Doctor Donald Blake transform ___
* I have no idea if this is still canon in Marvel continuity