by Andrew Hurst, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by J. Michael Straczynski, Art by Oliver Coipel
Published: November 2007
Thor versus Iron Man. Nuff Said, right? Theoretically, two superheroes clobbering the crap out of each other should be a horrifying thought; however, it’s usually awesome. Thor’s quest to rebuild Asguard and find his brothers takes him to Katrina-beaten New Orleans where Tony Stark takes the opportunity to update Thor on America’s superhero status quo since the Civil War that took place during his absence. And Thor is none too happy with Mr. Stark.
Straczynski does a great job creating huge tension between these two. Stark’s character is really riding that line of hubristic sheriff to the superheroes, and is just hateable enough for you to want Thor to put Mjolnir through Stark’s face, but not so much that it makes him look like a jerk just for the sake of being a jerk. Thor is eerily stoic for this conversation until he inevitably loses his Asguardian temper. Their battle lasts only 13 of the 22 story pages, but it’s told as cinematically as you could hope through Oliver Coipel’s beautiful art.
It’s really fun seeing Thor finally kick some ass in this series, but there is little left for us to chew on in the bigger picture of Straczynski’s opening story arch. The B plot of this issue is Thor’s meeting with a New Orleans local who’s become resentful of the politicians, celebrities and reports out to exploit the horrible condition these people’s lives have been left in. You’re given a lot to think about by the end of this issue; things like God’s place among man, man’s tested faith toward God, responsibility. A ton of interesting ideas and themes, but unfortunately, these ideas aren’t properly fleshed out in the 9 pages bookending the fight with Iron Man. And even the fight with Stark isn’t free of the power and God metaphors. It’s not a battle brought on because Stark pissed off Thor, it’s a look at the power struggle between two deities and their usage of that power. Who is more powerful, not only physically, but politically and influentially? And when do you use or choose not to use that power?
Thor #3 is a great issue that, on the surface level, offers an exciting no-holds-barred brawl between two of Marvel’s finest, but deeper, it’s a unique examination of a piece of America at the time, and the state of the Marvel Universe at the time. You’re not left with story reason to comeback for issue #4, but if you’re as impressed with this issue as I was, then you’ll definitely want to.