Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Martin Coccolo
Color Artist: Matthew Wilson
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Thor has returned as All-Father, King of Asgard, and hero of Earth and all the realms. Now he faces the wrath of the mysterious and ancient Toranos, elder god of thunder from the shadowy realm of Utgard. After their first battle left him weakened, Thor has returned with a new plan to combat the mighty elder god. Read Immortal Thor #4 to see just what plan Thor has in store for the terrible Toranos.
Fair warning, there will be some SPOILERS throughout the review.
Alright, so last issue ended off with the clear objective of Thor going to team up with Storm, who’s busy losing the mutant civil war on Mars at the time when this takes place (it’s a long story). So, of course, things get a little dicey at first when Thor tries to talk with her and summons her to help him defeat Toranos. Thankfully, the usual misunderstanding hero vs. hero trope doesn’t overstay its welcome here as the, let’s call it an “exchange” between the storm wielders only lasts several pages before Thor gets through to Storm. And once he does, in a way only Thor could, that’s when we start to see just what Thor’s got in store for Toranos.
As usual, Martin Coccolo brings his A-game with the art here when depicting the two storm wielding superheroes and how they both command the lightning and more. And when you see how Coccolo illustrates the rest of Thor’s allies who join him in battle, it really does become a great sight to see and gets you pumped for the next issue. It also helps when Toranos arrives on page and the comic does a solid job in setting the sheer scale of how gigantic he is compared to Thor and his allies. Overall, the art’s great and I can’t get enough of it. But here is where we get to the flaws of this comic.
First off, this comic is mainly setup. Yes, there’s action in the comic, don’t get me wrong, and the whole plot revolves around Thor essentially working a plan to help form the best team, at least in his eyes, to take on Toranos. But most of the comic is just that because when Toranos does show up in the middle of the comic, the battle starts. At least for a little bit. What also doesn’t help that Thor, or rather Al Ewing goes a little too meta with some dialogue by Thor when he’s trying to convince Storm to help him (who keeps attacking him before he can even finish talking to her) and he essentially starts talking about the absurdity of powerscaling and how comparing who’s stronger him or Hulk and the like is not the point, etc. I’m not a big fan of this since too many writers at Marvel and DC have thought they’re clever for trying to downplay this aspect of comic books in the last few years (to everyone else’s detriment), but at least there was some point to the latter half of Thor’s little speech.
The other issue is that Toranos is what I call a “functional villain”. A functional villain is a character who has a solid design, personality, power or skillset, and is a serviceable threat to the main cast. However, they don’t do anything impressive, there’s little about their personality, dialogue, history, or abilities that makes them truly distinct from any other villains. They’re not great or terrible villains, they just fulfill their role in the story and that’s that. The same applies to Toranos, there’s really nothing to him other than his design (which is cool) and the fact that he’s old, huge, and has a big literal wheel he throws at Thor and his friends. The problem is that’s all he’s done and Toranos is only here to be a big threat that Thor and company can fight. Meanwhile, the narration does all the real heavy-lifting in trying to build up how big of a threat he is, but it’s more telling instead of showing. He’s the first wave of threats from Utgard, but Toranos doesn’t impress beyond his size and design.
And last but not least, Al Ewing is deciding to bring back Dario Agger, aka The Minotaur, into the story. Why? Who knows? My guess is for more anti-corporate commentary like in Immortal Hulk, but those issues weren’t really the best in the series. Granted, Minotaur was first introduced as a Thor villain in Jason Aaron’s first Thor series and he does get a nice menacing redesign here after the events of Immortal Hulk #33. So, it makes sense someone would bring back The Minotaur as a villain in a Thor series. While I’m not looking forward to more of the Minotaur with Al Ewing, I am pumped to see Thor finally face off with Toranos next issue with his allies.
Immortal Thor #4 shows the God of Thunder seek an audience with Storm and other allies while Toranos draws closer and closer to the solar system. The initial exchange between Thor and Storm goes about as well and as predictable as you’d expect, but the outcome is worth the hassle as we see what Thor’s true plan to fight Toranos really is. And when the titanic elder god of thunder finally arrives, we see Thor and his allies get their game faces on which leads into their inevitable clash in the next issue.