REVIEW: Thor #615


Thor #615

Written by Matt Fraction

Art by Pasqual Ferry

Colors by Matthew Hollingsworth

Letters by John Workman

$3.99 / 40 Pages / Full Color 

Marvel Comics



Thor #615 sees the start of Matt Fraction's long awaited run, and as he's teased in the months since the announcement, it's all about shaking the World Tree. He's got it by the trunk and the needles are falling. But who knows just what kind of goodies lurk up in those boughs, or just how much sap might sully his vest. It's a big, old tree.

Let's first contend with the 8000lb Frost Giant in the room. There are two Thor ongoings right now (and a pretty compelling mini in the works too), and while this is the in-continuity main title, Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee are currently producing one of the most entertaining books under the Marvel banner in My Boyfriend Thor Thor: The Mighty Avenger. It's like the pudding cup in your lunch bag. It's like, Keep your Goldfish crackers, man. This pudding be sublime. Anyways, nobody likes the graham cracker ones anyway. What's your mom even on? So there's bound to be some comparing and contrasting. That said, Thor's pretty versatile, and as much as we love his madcap, all-ages title, the guy's got some chores to do over in the other Marvel.

While the hero of Langridge's book is only about as stubborn as a Mjolnir, Fraction's Thor carries the weight of several worlds. Though the Siege has ended and Osborn paces his prison cell, Thor's world remains in disrepair. Odin's in His REM sleep and all's not so right with Asgard, her noble King Balder so burdened by self doubt, he can barely warm his own throne. There's also the matter of Loki. Gone. Obliterated. Scattered to the winds. He was an adversary, but a brother as well. Thor aches from the absence of the Macaulay Culkin to his Elijah Wood. There's some serious ennui, lending this Scandinavian hero a little more Danish melancholy than Norse ferocity. That dismiss this Thor as humorless though. One of the stronger scenes in this issue sees Thor bickering with his alter ego Donald Blake over custody of their shared physical form. They respect each other, but that doesn't mean they like this arrangement. It's sort of like your parents' divorce, but no extra Christmas. Even Thor's weighty struggles with the loss of Loki and the politics of his Father's kingdom, easy to condemn as maudlin, turn out to be pretty compelling. Thor's an outsider, and shaky new status quo makes for good drama. 

What doesn't quite work, at least at this point, is the inclusion of some cosmic elements. We witness the invasion of the plain known as Alfheim (not to be confused with Melmac) by some Red Guys whose dialogue always ends with a white celestial wisp of some kind. This perhaps signals the beginning of an extradimensional shift hypothesized by a quantum cosmologist back on Midgard named Dr. Eric Solvang. Solvang is the first character we see in this issue, and he's really the only character we see (other than the hint of Dr. Jane Foster) for three pages and 18 panels. I'm fine with talking heads and repeated panels, but even given a bookend punchline at the end of the issue, it's an indulgent stretch of exposition on Fraction's part. Especially seeing as it's the first issue and is a discourse on string theory as it relates to mysticism. Periodic pauses for jokes aside, it's a lot of telling. Not a remarkably strong introduction for Pasqual Ferry's art either, which doesn't really blossom until we reach the vibrant and snowy world of Alfheim. Ferry's art is lush and otherworldly, perfect for those alternate dimensions. He does a pretty decent Thor too, though those Asgardian pages lack the gravity of Coipel's recent run. With so much of the story harkening back to the beginning of this new chapter and JMS's arc, it's difficult not to look for that visual flair. This is much more whimsical though, and with time, there might be some warming up to do. As for right now, it's not readily apparent that the creative team gels. Fraction is introducing hard science, not just the trippy sci-fi of Simonson's run, but something a ways more serious and heady. Do Ferry's lithe and fantastical figures ultimately complement that vision?

This is an ambitious start with some compelling themes, headier than the other Thor ongoing, but is it venturing too far in the opposite direction? Does Thor operate as successfully in a world similar to Tony Stark's? There's a storm brewing, and after a night's sleep and a second reading, I'm willing to ride it out a bit longer. It's a big, old tree after all. 


Story: 3   Art: 3    Overall: 3


  1. I gave this my PoW more for it’s potential then its execusion. It was almost a neccessary opening issue for Fraction to make his (hopefully) run work. The explanation that book ends the book is important as it sets up a different world than JMS, which seemed to be more LOTR than Siminson.

    I really loved Ferry’s art, and he excels at those other worlds of Asgard and the whole time i could picture the big fight that will inevitbly come and it’s made me very excited.

  2. I’ve yet to read this, so this is disappointing news.  Hopefully I enjoy it more than you did.

  3. What’s great about your reviews is that you make a piece about a ho-hum issue just as entertaining as one that you’re passionate about. It’s a real talent.

    But yeah, this particular issue didn’t entertain me all that much. I get that Fraction is slowly setting up his run in this issue instead of starting out with a bang, but I feel that it’s possible to do both. There are plenty of examples of this being done, like the start of Waid’s F4 run and Rucka’s huge Batman run. I’ll be sticking around, though, as I hope things’ll get better.

  4. I will give this issue a chance on the account that I loved the Iron Man annual. But generally, while I respect Fraction as a writer, I don’t enjoy his work.

  5. I loved this, the cosmic threat really harkened back to some of the Kirby work and the Simonson work. Thor has a long history of dealing with cosmic threats to Asgard and Fraction really nailed the tone I was hoping he would.

  6. "Do Ferry’s lithe and fantastical figures ultimately complement that vision?"

     I think it does. Ferry and Holl does a very good job of creating space and contrast which it feels like Fraction wants for this run. We’ll see though.

     Thanks for the review! I was more in tune with the one over at CBR but it’s all good. 

  7. This issue was actually better than I thought it would be because fracction dose a great iron-man but I did not think that he would be able to write thor that well since he’s never really written him all that mutch and aslo since thor is pretty different from iron-man so anyway I think I am going to stick around for at least 20 issue and see how things turn out

  8. I’m looking forward to this in trade. I’ve enjoyed both JMS and GIllen’s runs (even though the JMS run is way overrated). Ferry is a good choice and he seems to be mixing in more of the Kirby sci-fi setting than previous artists.

  9. I was very luke warm about the issue.  I probably won’t pick this up unless I hear some serious buzz..

  10. I have to admit I loved the string theory dude, but I certainly agree the same thing could have been done in fewer pages.  The otherwordly stuff didn’t really gel, either.   But I liked the Asgardian soap opera and it won me over by the end.

  11. Oh, and the part  I forgot to say — great review.  You rock with these.

  12. Thanks! Here’s my thing with string theory guy. Trim that dialogue a little and put it over the invasion of Alfheim. Tell the story of the doomed poet visually. I think that would work. I wanted to like string theory guy too, but it felt to me more like a film/video concept. 

  13. That makes total sense.  Maybe the first and last page could be the talking heads, but find a visual correlative for the rest of it.