Friday, December 29, 2017

REVIEW: The Mighty Thor #702 (2017)

THE MIGHTY THOR #702 (2017) —
Regular cover by Russell Dauterman.
©Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics, $3.99, 28pgs.
On-sale December 20, 2017

" The Last Days of the Goddess of Thunder"
20 pages, Read Time – 11:40

by Jason Aaron (writer) and Russell Dauterman (artist)

 BOTTOM LINE: And just like that, a cool series about the goddess of thunder becomes an Afterschool Special on the importance of caring and cooperation. And, also, girl power!

We start off our latest This adventure being told how badly the war for all reality is going, and then get a scene where Lady Thor arm wrestles Hercules in order to win agreement from him to help in the battle. It's a cute bit, but takes up 5 1/2 pages — more than 1/4 of the issue — and in so doing gives the impression that Thor is wasting a LOT of time. I mean, if the circs are truly as dire as we've been told. 

After that, the bulk of the issue is spent on Jane Foster chastising Odin to action, and stressing the importance of all races working together. Odin finally does return, although he's none too impressed, and it’s Freyja — who we're still not calling Frigga anymore — who rises from her deathbed to rally the troops. Because girl power. But then, Jane, who has been putting off her chemo treatments in order to fight as Thor, collapses, and maybe even dies. 

The former Thor, now The Unworthy Thor, does at least prove himself worthy by urging his successor Thor to get the treatments she needs, although why she then instead confronts Odin as Jane is unclear, since her sickness is supposedly frozen while she's in Thor form. I can see her turning to her true self in order to seek treatments, but having her dress down Odin as Jane seems to happen only to play up the mouse-who-roared girl power theme. At any rate, it's six pages spent on a speech Stan Lee would have delivered in a panel or two, before getting us back to the important work of bashing trolls.

Overall, this issue seems kind of a breather in the ongoing storyline. But my biggest issue with this issue, however, is the overuse of the photoshop blur tool, employed to give the impression of depth, as the eye fails to focus on things in the near or far distance. The problem is, that's not how comics are done. 

In comics, the traditional way to show distance and depth is via the use of line weight. Granted, that technique was invented long before photoshop was came along. But doing a thing just because it's now possible is not really a good enough reason. And keep in mind, the reason it is done here is to emulate a technique in cinema which is meant to mimic in a 2-D medium the sense of depth perception we have when using our eyes in the 3-D world. But comics imitates cinema too much as it is. They are separate and distinct artforms. And when you take an image that already uses line weights to denote depth, and then start blurring out parts of the images, all you are really doing is distracting the reader by saying, "Hey, look what I can do!" 

I mean, okay, it’s a cute trick to use here and there, but not on just about every damn page! In fact, by my count, the blur effect was used on 13 of 20 pages (65 percent) and in 23 of 74 panels (31 percent). That, to me, is way, Way, WAY too much, and all it did was annoy the hell out of me and absolutely ruin my enjoyment of this issue. 



COVER: 7.00 | PLOT: 6.00 | SCRIPT: 8.50 | LAYOUT: 7.25 | ART: 8.25 | EDITS: 4.00

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