Graphic Novel Review: Thor: For Asgard

(Panini �12.99)

AT an unidentified time in the future, the Norse gods of Asgard face their greatest challenge, one which could lead to the very destruction of their world…

Following the death of Balder the Brave, the Allfather Odin has abandoned his throne and gone in search of answers to the riddles which plague him, somewhere on Earth… His son Thor is ruling as regent in his stead, but faces challenges of his own as the Nine Worlds are plunged into perpetual winter, and alliances between the different races are torn apart by the demands of the never-ending blizzards which batter their homes. In a bid to hold back the onslaught of chaos and war, Thor is forced to make bitter decisions which mean he is no longer worthy of wielding his mystic hammer Mjolnir.

Closer to home, in the shining city of Asgard itself, the Aesir are fighting amongst themselves, divided into factions by war god Tyr and the Lady Sif, with their dispute leading to the destruction of the Rainbow Bridge Bilfrost, and the death of its guardian Heimdall…

OK, this is by no means an easy read for anyone unfamiliar with the Marvel Universe’s take on Norse mythology, the history of Thor himself, and the associated characters and realms which are a part of his world. However, a quick Wiki-search should fill in enough of the gaps to make this series accessible to newbies, but for a book obviously released to cash in on the Thor movie it is an unusual choice.

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The artwork by Simone Bianchi is beautiful in its intricacy, and offers a portrayal of the Asgardian gods which is closer to their Viking roots than the spandex-clad outfits originally seen in Thor’s Marvel debut. Writer Robert Rodi admirably captures the myth and majesty of their world without ever descending into parody, and shows a thorough understanding of the many legends surrounding the warriors of the Aesir and their ilk.

Perhaps fittingly for a tale of immortals, there is no ending to this saga, just an finale to this particular chapter of their ongoing epic, and it remains uncertain whether the creators will return to their story for a sequel. Although that shouldn’t put readers off from immersing themselves in this rich tale of gods fighting for their very survival, it would be rewarding to see some sort of conclusion in the future.

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