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Thor #1 – the female Thor arrives

And here we have it. Finally, after the initial announcement and the resulting debate, the first issue of the latest Thor series is here and we get to see the new, female version of the superheroic thunder god in action.

Er, sort of. With this issue, writer Jason Aaron gives us what is very much a transitional story: the star of the comic is unambiguously man-Thor. Picking up from the events of Original Sin, the issue depicts poor old Thor as having lost the right to use his own hammer, which now sits buried in the surface of the moon as it awaits a worthy wielder.

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Although his superpowers have been curtailed, Thor still has it in him to try and save an offshore drilling operation from an army of frost giants led by the dark elf Malekith . The fight ends in disaster, however, and Thor is sent plunging to the bottom of the sea with his arm chopped off – an image which, rather oddly, suggests that he is slowly but surely turning into the nineties version of Aquaman.

thor2And the female Thor? Well, she appears only at the very end of the issue. Her identity is not made clear; the staging of the story hints that she may be Freyja, but as the comic carefully avoids showing her full-on as she picks up the hammer, this could be a red herring.

Speaking of Freyja, the goddess takes centre stage in the issue’s one truly character-driven scene. The gods are gathered around Thor as he tries and fails to pull his hammer out of the ground; Odin is brash and impatient, first trying to solve the problem by loudly yelling at his son, and then rudely shoving Thor out of the way so that he can have a go at retrieving the hammer himself. Freyja watches on with haughty amusement, never really seeing why a magical whacking instrument should cause so much fuss when Thor’s still the same person deep down.

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Previously in Thor continuity, Odin had abdicated from his throne and left Freyja to rule as Asgard’s all-mother. In this scene, Aaron makes a point out of contrasting the approaches taken by the two characters: brash Odin on the one side, calm and wise Freyja on the other. Odin insists that he should rule alone, while Freyja believes that she is a necessary part of the equation – and from the portrayal of the two gods in this issue, it is hard to disagree with her. The gender politics touched upon by this exchange form a fitting introduction to our new Thor.

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The rest of the issue does not reach the same standard. The scenes surrounding the Asgardian argument are unremarkable stuff: another despicable villain calmly offing civilians with the aid of his formidable grunts, a confrontation ending with yet another amputated superdude. Perhaps this is all here to reassure the reader that, while change is in the wind, the comic still takes place in a familiar world. But surely it is not too much to expect a more ambitious opening number for Marvel’s latest heroine?

Artist Russell Dautermann opts to portray the Asgardians as broad cartoon types who would not look out of place in What’s Opera Doc?: Odin is butch and stocky but also comically short, adding a somewhat Napoleonic aspect; Volstagg is absurdly rotund; and Freyja is tall and dignified, a woman who can be readily imagined standing up to the hot-tempered musclemen around her. The backgrounds are sparse – which is forgivable, given that the story takes place half underwater and half on the moon – while Aaron’s fight scenes are gleeful lightshows of zaps and sparkles.

Parts of Thor #1 are good. Parts are… well, not necessarily bad, just overfamiliar. As opening issues go it is not a resounding success, but if the themes of Asgardian gender roles are fully explored, then the series will be worth keeping an eye on.

IDW Publishing Recaps NYCC 2014

The eyes of the world were watching New York Comic Con 2014 for major announcements and this year IDW Publishing took the stage to reveal an impressive array of projects that are coming soon!

IDW & Disney Publishing Collaboration

Beginning in early 2015, fans can expect to see the first wave of classic Disney masterpieces featured in an array of award-winning and innovative publications from IDW.

  • Monthly Comic Series – This monumental collaboration kicks off with multiple monthly series featuring some of the most iconic characters of all time: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and many more!
  • Artist’s Editions – The award-winning Artist’s Edition line will feature collections from the immense talents who have contributed to many beloved Disney comics over the years starting with the legendary Carl Barks and Don Rosa.
  • IDW Limited – With original art, signature plates, and unique display designs, IDW Limited will offer a number of Disney series in deluxe limited editions.
  • Micro Comics Fun Packs – Packed with a mini-comic, stickers, posters, and more, the Micro-Comic Fun Pack has been captivating new comic audiences on a mass-market scale and IDW will expand this successful line with multiple Disney properties.
  • Library of American Comics – Beginning in 2015, the LOAC will begin collecting the various newspaper strips that have featured iconic Disney characters.

IDW & Marvel Partnership Expansion

  • Artist’s Editions – IDW and Marvel opened NYCC 2014 with the announcement they will partner once again to add titles and creators that will rightfully take theirs places among an already illustrious list of Marvel related IDW Artist’s Editions. Stay tuned for supporting announcements!
  • Library of American Comics Spider-Man Newspaper Comics – IDW and Marvel continued to amaze NYCC conventions goers and fans across the globe with the announcement that are teaming up to bring the world’s most popular super-hero, the Amazing Spider-Man to IDW’s Library of American Comics imprint. Launched in 1977, the Spider-Man newspaper strips feature the kind of fast-paced action and genuine human emotion that have made Peter Parker a star in movies, theatre, TV, video games, and the comic books that started it all back in 1962 with Amazing Fantasy #15.
  • Avengers Micro Comic Fun Packs – In one the more fun announcements of NYCC 2014, IDW and Marvel revealed they are giving Avengers fans one more way to keep up with their favorite superhero team, in the form of Avengers Micro Comic Fun Packs!  Look for them in both comic shops and mass retail spring of 2015!
  • IDW Limited’s Marvel Artist Select Series – IDW and Marvel concluded NYCC 2014 with the announcement of an all-new series that will celebrate the most iconic Marvel characters and fan-favorite storylines in an all-new, deluxe, limited-edition format produced by IDW Limited.

Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Comic Series
In partnership with Ideate Media, IDW Publishing announced that Douglas Adams’ beloved fictional “holistic detective” Dirk Gently will be appearing in his first-ever comic-book series. The series launching in spring 2015, will be written by Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief and creator/writer of series such as Zombies vs Robots, Groom Lake, and The Hollows. The series artist will be Tony Akins (Fables), and Chew co-creator Rob Guillory has contributed a first cover image, too. Full story details and release information will follow soon.

G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes

The fan-favorite G.I. Joe ninja is set to strike out on his own in an all-new series, G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes: Agent of COBRA! Debuting in January of 2015, this series builds upon the acclaimed new G.I. Joe series, released last month. With an exciting creative team and a secretive mission, the stakes have never been higher!

Other exciting comic series announcements made during the week were Jem & the Holograms with Hasbro, Millennium with Fox Entertainment and Powerpuff Girls: Super Smash Up! with Cartoon Network. For developing news on these projects and more visit www.idwpublishing and follow IDW on Facebook and Twitter @IDWPublishing.com.

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