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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Subj: Re: Fleeting thoughts on Mighty Thor 4 and 5
Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 04:56:50 pm EDT (Viewed 500 times)
Reply Subj: Fleeting thoughts on Mighty Thor 4 and 5
Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 08:03:42 am EDT (Viewed 37 times)

    In Fear Itself Matt Fraction has Thor admit that he could never defeat the Hulk. When asked in a recent interview whether this statement offered a resolution to the Hulk/Thor rivalry, a rivalry that has brought a considerable swathe of middle-aged western males to blows (albeit only on the internet, and anonymously), Fraction replied: "You tell me."

Was that the context of the question? It has been a bit since I saw that Q&A. As I remember it, and I misremember, the question was more along the lines of did Thor mean what he said about not being able to ever beat Hulk. And Fraction said "You tell me". Which to me means he thought the answer was self evident from the work itself. So in fact since Thor won I am not sure we can take it to many other ways. A few questions down from that I recall Fraction saying this is the sort of fight that drives fans nuts because you can stay up all night arguing about it. So I do not think he intended to all time stop it. Just his take on it.

    Asked to clarify a basic requirement of a coherent narrative (in this case, transparent character intention), Fraction instead demands that you, the reader, must instead tell him, the author, what he meant when he wrote what he did - a demand bravely obeyed by the aforementioned males: bedrooms and basements were locked, Thor costumes and Hulk hands were donned, little Mjolnirs were grasped tightly in sweaty hands, and battle was resumed against the old enemy. (Ok, so the field of battle was the internet, and the fight consisted of hurling anonymous insults at opposing fanboys. But let's not quibble).

Although the imagery is funny. I took it as more of you should know if you read the book sort of thing. It is the annoying answer when the writter thinks their work is clear on what they meant even if it is not. Fraction I thought was somewhat clear with all of it but people asking for clarification have a right too.

Although I think many who ask about this sort of thing to the writters come off as sort of crazy. Yeah the fights are fun and all, but at the same time I think a calmer mind asking the question is more likely to get a result. Although this is not how Fraction was addressed it is how some of the editors like Berovt or whatever is at times. Not that they are not condecending in their own way but I see why they do not answer some questions.

    Inspired by Fraction's brave rewriting of the laws of basic storytelling (if only earlier, lesser writers had displayed his genius, the history of western civilization might have taken a kinder, more nobler turn: Audience: "Hey Homer, why does Cassandra warn the citizens of Troy not to take in the wooden horse when she knows nobody believes a word she says?" Homer: "Hey, you tell me!"), inspired, I went out and bought issues 4 and 5 of Mighty Thor (yes, I paid the equivalent of a good novel for a ten minute read) in order to see what other insights into the craft of storytelling I might glean from this contemporary literary colossus.

Yeah, it is crazy isn't it. How a couple comics are equal to something that would actually keep the average person engrossed for anywhere from a day or two to week or weeks. Crazy.

    Mighty Thor 4: Preamble. Mighty Thor 4 is the second worst comic book ever written. Its awfulness is so immense that, were it to manifest physically in our universe, it would collapse and create a black hole, destroying both ourselves and our quadrant of the Milky Way. But I digress.

Not sure I agree fully with that. Could it have been better? Yes, is it the worst ever. No. There have been worse.

    Intro Page - "Yggdrasil - the World Tree - has been rendered in twain..." please note the usage of the word "twain", and not "two". By consciously using an archaic Middle English term, derived from the Old Saxon "twēne", itself derived from the Old High German "zwēne", which in turn can be linked to the Old Norse "tveir", the author clearly signals to us that he intends to use the tools of language to portray authentic, believable Norse characters. Bravo!

    Our various protagonists then face off. Sif asks Thor why Odin and Galactus cannot simply destroy each other, so immense are they. Luckily Thor understands the difficulty of writing a coherent battle scene between two such powerful entities and cleverly informs the reader, whilst pretending to inform Sif, that "Omnipotence has its downside." What does this mean however? And how does this actually answer Sif's question? Hey, you tell me.

I actually liked this line. It gives the idea that these guys normally are beyond the likes of gods and mortals to know nad can do as they will to them. But to each other they probably are not going to be able to just instant when. Which set the stage fine for me, the actual fight sucked though.

    Thor then states "We are their cannon fodder, tis our job to distract Galactus..." (Note the "tis", the writer again using archaic syntax to illustrate Thor's noble, mythic character. A masterful, subtle brushstroke). Thor then ascertains that "cosmic demons summoned from the hands of Galactus will try to distract Odin." How does he know this? Where did he manage to decode the fighting methods of his 13 billion year old adversary? Hey, you tell me. Never mind, Thor is on the money, and performs his role of Plot Exposition perfectly.

I liked that Galactus did that though. He created an army out of hand to hold the Asgardian forces at bay.

    Or it would be perfect if he didn't then go on to inform Sif that she should not be speculating about the intentions of Odin and Galactus in the upcoming battle because "tis not for the likes of you and I to comprehend." Not even a second "tis" can console me here. It's ok for Thor to magically ascertain that cosmic demons, bent on distraction, are racing from Galactus' hands, but Sif can damn well shut her mouth and cease her speculation because there is serious shit going down - shit that is clearly beyond her (immortal) purview.

    By this stage of course we, the readers, are dying to know what these dastardly demons will do. Thor and Sif have kindly spent two pages on Plot Exposition and Building Tension. Thor bravely takes on the dual roles of knowing exactly what the demons will do and also of denying that he has the capacity to conceive of their intentions. He even uses "tis" three times to invest the scene with the necessary gravitas.

    But back to the battle. What happens? Well, Odin and Galactus indulge in some telepathic mind games. Yes, these two omnipotent titans decide to engage battle using tactics that Professor X mastered when he was a teenager. I can just imagine Charles back at the mansion: “Unnerving your opponent using telepathic attacks, but that is so…. 1980s”.

Yeah, this was really really dumb.

    After some to and fro, Odin screams in agony from Galactus’ attack: “NO!! Bastard. I’ll kill you for that.” Clearly Odin didn’t get the memo about “twain”. And clearly despite Thor’s thrice uttered “tis”, Odin doesn’t wish to walk the heavy weighted path of gravitas, but instead wishes to look like a 10-year old schoolboy who has suddenly opened his lunchbox to find that his friends have placed a big, hairy spider inside. Is he meant to look so childish? Hey, you tell me.

    Whilst this titanic anti-climax plays out, Surfer, ever one for philosophical speculation, not unreasonably asks why the Asgardians do not give up the World Seed, since it would sate Galactus’ hunger and save the lives of trillions of people. Now Thor is a hero. In fact he is a Hero. The man is as selfless and as brave and as noble and as courageous as any character in the Marvel pantheon. He is a man who would sacrifice himself without compunction were it to save the life of one innocent person. His reply to this incisive, pithy moral dilemma posed to him? “Oh shut up”. Clearly ethics was not a popular subject on the Norse curriculum, being better left to those pesky Greeks.

Yeah that was really dumb. The fact that there was a fight was a bit strange to me with how Surfer and Galactus approached things. From the start they were diplomatic to a point with it. Surfer told Odin why they wanted the Seed. Then he gets smacked around and told to shove off. Odin did not say anything about how this seed could be used to save Thor or parts of Asgard from the Serpent at that point. I am not sure why Odin wanted this fight so badly. Even if they win this is a major distraction and drain on resources that Asgard in its current state can ill afford. So many Asgardians already died.

    We then….no…wait… I can’t go on… it’s too painful… I haven’t got to issue 5. Issue 5, whose prologue tells us that the mind games between Odin and Galactus last issue were “beyond the comprehension of mortals”. Note to author: “beyond comprehension” does not mean “incomprehensible”. I haven’t even discussed the Head Butt of Doom that split the internet in two (or should that be “twain”?). Will issue 6 sink to even lower levels? You tell me. For my part I. Have. Had. Enough.

I will check it out. It has been junk outside of the first issue and even then there were flaws. The Asgardians are behaving more like savages than anything. Not saying they should have or should not have given Galactus what he asked for, but we know that Odin has dealt with folks he has not liked before. Dormammu for instance. So why not speak to Galactus outright? If the two of them together cannot think of a way to do what needs to be done than that is reason for war. Both want the full power of the thing and both need it, but only one can have it. That is fine but for Odin just outright to say shove it. Especially when faced with the possibility of stopping who knows how many future planet wide genocides is sort of crazy. To dismiss that out of hand is rough for a noble god to do.

Of course it would mess with Galactus's purpose but still. They are definatly not great books. That is for sure but they started with promise. Just when they started to go downhill they went fast. I think Fraction would have been better off with just having the two stare at one another with effort on their faces and say they were fighting in a way mortals and immortals could not understand rather than show us what they were doing. Granduer is one of those things that some can pull off buat the same time apparently a writter like this does not get that what he showed us is not special at all.

Look Raist bunnies...
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