The soul-crushing downward spiral into madness and despair continues this month in Agent of Asgard #11, both for the reader and for our dashing anti-hero(ine). As if being constantly consumed with guilt and distrusted by most wasn’t stressful enough, Loki’s Big Dark Secret is now public knowledge in Asgard, and if there was ever hope for reconciliation, it’s likely long since gone. Over the course of #11, Loki finds emself completely friendless, then virtually homeless, then mostly naked, gagged, and tied to a chair. It’s a wild ride.
I’ve been reading Marvel’s Thor comics since long before the movie came out. I think I was immediately captured by Thor’s and Loki’s stories since I viewed them as an opportunity to learn more about Norse mythology. After reading the comics for a few years and then finally seeing the first live-action film, I started picking up books on actual Norse mythology and even read the Edda at one point.
It was then that I realized that my original assumption—that I could learn about Norse mythology through Marvel’s Thor—was not the best assumption to make. There are still many things about the comics that are in line with actual mythology, and before studying the Edda I did know that there would be some differences between the two narratives. After all, I didn’t think it was quite a big deal that Marvel made Thor blond instead of redheaded.
However, it didn’t occur to me before reading the Edda just how vastly different they would both be. Marvel even went so far as to change Asgardian culture to reflect beauty standards today, with very little regard to actual Norse ideals, especially when it comes to gender roles.
Before we get into this, I should point out that reading about Norse mythology and the Edda by no means makes me an expert on the subject. So please feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong.
“Worthy” is the final part to the Son of Asgard comic and by far my least favorite. It’s not even that this story is bad—it’s just boring, and if you’re familiar with Thor, you’ve seen it before. Though I know this comic was published before either the live-action or animated feature, it is still our obligatory and predictable “Thor proves himself worthy” narrative. We know that Thor is going to prove himself worthy in the end—there’s no question about it—so the only thing we can possibly be interested in is how he proves himself worthy and see the struggle he goes through. Unfortunately, to me, that struggle is not enough to redeem this arc.
Last week, I talked about “The Warriors Teen”, the first section in Son of Asgard, a twelve-issue story about Thor’s youth by Akira Yoshida and Greg Tocchini. In some ways, I like “Enchanted” more than I like “The Warriors Teen”, but in other ways, I find “Enchanted” very problematic. It does have a lot of positives; for starters, it really delves into the issues Sif faces as a female warrior in a male-dominated world, but unfortunately, the story falls into many sexist and stereotypical traps along the way.
Spoilers ahead, and a trigger warning for sexual assault.
A little while back, I reviewed the animated feature Thor: Tales of Asgard, which I had been remarkably underwhelmed by when it first came out, and have continued to be underwhelmed by every time I’ve watched it since. My biggest issue with that story is that it does nothing new. It had the exact same plot as the first live-action movie, and as such, the animated feature just seemed pointless.
Before going into Tales of Asgard, I initially thought that the film would be based on the comic Son of Asgard. However, the only thing the two stories really have in common is that they take place during Thor’s youth. This is a shame, since Son of Asgard has a far stronger plot and more likeable characters.
Son of Asgard is a twelve issue series, divided into three parts, “The Warriors Teen”, “Enchanted”, and “Worthy”. It first came out back in 2004, and was written by Akira Yoshida and illustrated by Greg Tocchini. Initially, the first part, and the longest at six issues, was originally meant to be a limited series. However, due to popular demand, it became an ongoing series and lasted for another six issues. In some ways, I’m a little disappointed that the series is over, but on the other hand, there’s only so much of teenage-Thor and teenage-Thor drama that I can take before it gets annoying.
Though I found some of the characters very likeable—such as Sif and Balder—the exact opposite can be said for some of the others. Loki is the embodiment of evil, Odin is a horrible parent, and Thor is arrogant and not yet worthy. It has the standard setup for a lot of the earlier Thor comics. Its only real unique feature is that the characters are teenagers. But even then, it’s still a better story than Tales of Asgard.
Spoilers for Son of Asgard after the jump.
The other day, I was going back through my comics when I came across The World Eaters again. This run is a few years old already, and it takes place right after the Siege storylines. The events of Ragnarok have already happened, and when Thor revived all his people, he brought them and Asgard back to life right in the middle of Oklahoma. To make a long and complicated story short, the people of Earth didn’t like this too much, and the result was a catastrophic battle that nearly destroyed all of Asgard again.
Now, with Balder as king, Asgard lies in ruins once more, Loki is dead, and Thor is in mourning. But unfortunately, the Asgardians can’t seem to catch a break, and something else is on its way to kill them.
Balder the Brave has proven his mettle as a warrior, but is an uncertain king; his people rightly wonder whether they can endure one more turn of bad luck. So the last news they need to hear is that a trans-dimensional force of implacable evil is headed their way. The World Eaters have learned Asgard has abandoned its place in the natural order of the Nine Worlds and now resides in the skies above Oklahoma, and they aim to take it—but that’s not the last claim they plan to stake. As they ravage Alfheim, Muspelheim and the other branches of Yggdrasil—the World Tree—Thor must stir his family of gods to face a most dire threat at a time when they simply have no margin for error.
When The World Eaters first came out, I don’t think I found a single person online who liked it, at least not in the far reaches of the internet that I frequent. And now that it’s been a few years since my first read through, I think I can safely say that I still greatly dislike this arc.
Now that Thor’s second movie has made it to theaters, I decided to go back and revisit Thor: Tales of Asgard, the movie—not to be confused with the comics of the same name, which it has nothing to do with. Or with the comic, Thor: Son of Asgard, which it also has very little to do with. Thor: Tales of Asgard is a direct-to-video animated feature about Thor’s and Loki’s youth that was released a few days after the first Thor movie hit theaters. Considering that its release was meant to coincide with the live-action movie’s, I also naïvely assumed that its story was also meant to coincide with the live-action movie’s. Alas, I was wrong.
Well, it’s finally here, the trailer for Thor: The Dark World! Aren’t you excited?! I know I am! Let’s take a look.
That really wasn’t what I had been expecting.