I have to admit I have been starved for epic awesomeness on the board this week, the kind of stuff we got into comics for. Rather than bitch and moan, I decided to rekindle the fire and post one of the greatest expressions of comic book art, one of the defining issues for a well respected artist and scribe. I hope this post does it justice.
Few combined words raise more goose-pimples on people's bodies, make the heart pound and just leave the reader breathless than these:
- Walt Simonson.
- The Mighty Thor #380.
- Mjolnir's Song.
An entire comic made of splash pages, the captions told in verse and rhythm as if translating from the edda of Norse myth. A tale of valor and glory that demands a full orchestra and choir of the highest caliber. Of destiny met.
The stuff of legends.
*Not my scans, so forgive the editing. I have compiled them from tribute pages throughout the web
Taking back a moment in time, Simonson is taking Thor in bold new directions, stripping away and redefining the Thunder God on a level of art form, character building and story telling that
soars above the skies of Valhalla. Gods walk among men and characters grow and ring true to their core that we come to care for them, instead of just background players in costume. And the true hero of the tale faces the greatest of adversities, as he has been cursed by one of Loki's children, Hela the goddess of Death, with a curse of brittle bones, no way of healing and no way to die. Any blow that Thor would land on a foe would surely shatter his own bones from the impact, let alone an opponent's strike that he would never recover from. Ever.
So Thor has made an armor to protect his fragile self.
The frost giants get word of this, and seek out the Midgard Serpent, the foe that Thor is destined to die in battle with, to tell Jormungand of the vulnerability in the Odinson. To kill Thor and escape his own fate with no one to challenge the World Serpent. The two meet in issue #379, (with Jomrundgand under the disguise of another great dragon, Fing Fang Foom, and not recognizing Thor in the armor). The battle ground determined.
Time has stopped over the vast landscape of Iceland, and will resume only when one or both combatants are dead. The battle is joined. No quarter asked, none given.
Would you know more?
That long serpentine body in the distance? The beast is 100's of miles long, his body reaching beyond the horizon of eyesight, even from this altitude.
The battle goes back and forth. Jormungand is up to the task, more powerful than Thor and faster than his immense size indicates, leveling a mountainside with a whip-like blow struck to Thor. The dragon comes in for the kill....
You can feel the air crackle and burn from the power of Mjolnir, and hear to roar as the mighty hammer spins, is released and strikes with great power at his foe. The battle continues...
Behold the size, the menace and the hate of the Midgard Serpent unleashed.
A memorable scene (which I cannot post due to page limits) has the Midgard Serpent attempt to eat Thor, only to have the Thunder God erupt from his maw with an explosion of thunder and dragon teeth. Both combatants fall back, the art beautifully rendered as Simonson's art captures the coiled fury of serpent in the Midgard Serpent's pose. (You really have to see it).
Thor realizes that there is only one way to defeat the serpent.
Jormungand is no fool, realizing that next exchange will be all or nothing. As Thor binds his might and himself to his weapon, radiating blinding power as god and hammer unite for one last attack. The serpent taunts Thor about his foolishness to challenge him so weak and vulnerable, as they were destined to die at the peak of their powers. Then dragon unleashes it's unbeatable death strike. And a hero hurtles head on to meet his fate.
The two collide in deafening, blinding white. The spell over frozen time is broken as the Midgard Serpent fades into the intangible nothingness, and the Thunder God falls, taking his final nine steps as foretold in poetic lore and prophecy before falling to his doom.
The mighty armor of Thor crashes to the land, his hammer by it's side. And as the smoke and din of battle fade, destiny has been fulfilled, and we peer at the intact but hollow armor and ask what is next for our hero.
Would you know more?
*mods, 9 of 27 pages, 1/3 rule.
character: Thor Odinson/Thor God of Thunder/Donald Blake
character: Midgard Serpent
title: The Mighty Thor
creator: Walt Simonson