I guess it’s best to leave the mystery of Matt Fraction alone at this point. I don’t suppose I’ll ever understand how a man who had written a volume of Thor I disliked so immensely and then wrote Fear Itself of which I have endless problems, could whip out something as outstanding as The Mighty Thor #5. Ideas abound, conspiracy theories are at an all time high, but none of it matters, we’ll never know the truth. Best to focus on the awesomeness of The Mighty Thor #5 and how Fraction’s epic battle between Galactus and Odin is panning out.
Opening on Mars (how can you not love that) with the Silver Surfer unleashing the Power Cosmic right into Thor’s face, issue #5 blasts its way into being and never really lets up. Standing up from his Power Cosmic slap down, Thor wields his hammer and crashes it into the chest of Surfer. Just before getting slammed, Surfer notices the wound Thor received when attempting to retrieve the World Heart from Yggdrasil, the World Tree. As Thor and Surfer fight, Odin and Galactus are trying to best each other through a psychic war waged in the mind of each. Odin decides he’s had enough and head-butts Galactus.
I will repeat that.
Odin, the All Father, head-butts Galactus The World Eater. How awesome is that? Who the hell head-butts Galactus? Oh, right, Odin, that’s who. Galactus falls to Earth while Volstagg, in some of the best comic relief I’ve seen, tries to get the grunt troops of Asgard to rise against what he thinks is the cause of this attack, the people of Braxton who are tired of their town getting caught in the crossfire. Right in the center of the action, the story becomes heavier but without feeling clumsy. Suddenly Surfer, realizing the futility of the war, tries to get Galactus to leave with little success. Loki steals the World Heart, awaking the Destroyer, and dives into the magical light emanating from the split World Tree to try and repair it. In the final page, the Preacher from Broxton, armed only with his faith, moves to confront Galactus in the name of his beliefs. It’s a powerful ending for a book that began on such an action scale.
Fraction’s writing is so good here that I still can’t believe he’s responsible for the other messes he’s involved with. Here Thor acts and reacts like Thor, Odin is the All Father, not some dick coward, and the mix between action, humor and gravitas is flawless. I found myself actually concerned for the Preacher and, for the first time in a long time, interested in what Loki was up to. Fraction not only makes the issue entertaining, he keeps the arc flowing and pushes you into being excited for the next one. This is Thor, this is how I became a fan of the character, this is comic books.
The art from Olivier Coipel and Khol Pham is top notch, except for the Surfer. I still don’t like the way he’s drawn here; it just never comes together the right way. Outside of that, everything is nearly perfect. I love the movement, the way the action leaps off the page. When Thor and Surfer are duking it out, you feel it; you can actually conceptualize the power being wielded. I was impressed with the actual page layouts; it’s some very solid use of the space given to tell the story. The Mighty Thor #5 is a keeper, and a further step into the mystery of Matt Fraction’s consistency.
CRAVEONLINE RATING 8.5/10