Writer: Donny Cates
Art: Michele Bandini, Elisabetta D’Amico, Matt Wilson, VC’s Joe Sabino, and Olivier Coipel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 25th, 2021
The God of Thunder has only understood two truths, prevailing as a true champion of Asgard, and brandishing Mjolnir. However, THOR has now recognized that to be the best, he must forego those two very things that have made him so formidable. Yet, who is THOR without his hammer? Moreover, things have become rather heated between the resident God of Thunder and his dear old Dad, Odin. So what’s next between these two Asgardian juggernauts? Let’s smash into THOR #16 by Donny Cates and find out as Revelation continues.
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Donny Cates explodes out of the gate showing a more in-depth look into the vision shown to THOR by the Black Winter. And let me tell you, it’s one heck of a hook into THOR #16. However, that excitement does seem to fizzle out as readers pan out into a friendly conversation between THOR and Jane Foster which leads into a quick skirmish. Granted, it’s a fun little rodeo. Nevertheless, it really doesn’t add much to the issue other than some exhilarating fluff.
Now, the true meat and potatoes come towards the end of the issue, which isn’t a shock. Anyone with a pair of reasonably working eyes can see that it looks like Odin and THOR may be squaring off according to the cover. Yet, the cover was incredibly misleading. There is no barroom brawl nor is there really a fight between the two. However, by the end of THOR #16, Cates sets up a surprising family reunion that’s been long overdue and has its roots in graphed deep into IMAGE COMICS.
Ok… so what was the intent of the issue? Well, it follows the Cates criteria for sure. Engaging, unconnected beginning, middle fluff, and the meaty cliffhanger. Readers, we are done with two-thirds of the Revelation Arc and all we know is that the hammer isn’t working, THOR’S having bad dreams that THANOS will be wielding it, and the God of Thunder as some Daddy issues. None of this is new information. But, why is Mjolnir so heavy? Other than in the ETERNALS comic, which many may not be reading, where and how does THANOS come into play? When does his story begin to take effect in this series? Show readers the villainous buildup!
Furthermore, Jane brought up a very good question in this issue that’s not been answered. If THOR is legitimately having concerns with Mjolnir, then why did he just leave the hammer accessible to anyone to simply take? Yet, Cates not only poses the question but doesn’t take the time to understand the very question he presents nor does he provide any hints. My point: on the surface, this comic has elements of excitement, intrigue, creativity, and even humor. However, it still feels like things are thrown at readers without direction, intention, and answers for mere shock and awe. Oftentimes, I’m left wondering if the narrative is planned out or if it’s changed on the fly as he goes.
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE SERIES
Think about it. The first arc had something big and flashy like THOR becoming Galactus’ Herald simply to show us a two-page spread of a future that took readers many issues after to understand. Next, we see a mini-arc showcasing the problem that’s on the horizon with the hammer by sprinkling in popular characters like IRON MAN and providing new no-namers to wield Mjolnir and furnish more shock and awe. Next, Cates brings back Donald Blake, makes him a heel, reintroduces THROG, VALKYRIE, DOCTOR STRANGE, LOCKJAW and does so only to provide epic cameos to distract from the lack of narrative development. Heck, Cates even put THOR inside the Destroyer! Again, extremely epic ideas that are simply paper-thin.
Moreover, the arc ends exactly where it started except with Blake imprisoned. THOR still knows theirs a problem with Mjolnir but nothings changed. Readers, we haven’t progressed since the end of THOR #6, which was about a year. And now, it appears as though we’re set up with family bonding time on the horizon. All this proves from what I’ve said above is that Cates’ stories are all like a magician with sleight of hand. Look over here at this really cool shiny thing while over here I tell you nothing new, keep it surface level, and provide no substance or depth to the story. Overall, the plot and premise are disorganized and lack direction. It’s time to give readers something pertinent and vital to the story and a year is too long to wait for that guidance.
Have you ever had a sandwich on super thick, French bread with barely any meat? Well, THOR #16 gives readers an amazing opening and a killer ending which encompasses about 5 total pages. The rest of the story is just thinly sliced deli ham between the hefty bread on the outside. Nothing happens this week nor does the story develop or provide readers with answers or direction. On a more positive note, Michele Bandini, Matt Wilson, and Elisabetta D’Amico’s illustrations and inks are truly out of this world. It’s due to their expertise that those opening and closing moments were so incredible. If you’re buying THOR because the preview has THANOS in it, don’t bother. He’s gone in 60 seconds. If you think you’re getting a barroom brawl between father and son, you’re also wrong. However, if you’re looking for some amazing art, THOR #16 has you covered! Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!
2 thoughts on “Thor #16 Review”
I think you hit the nail on the head as I have felt the same way since the first story arc. The Don Blake arc was utterly lifeless and by-the-numbers. I think Cates has only one story to tell over 24 to 36 issues with lots of filler in between. This seems to be his pattern as he jumps from one book to another. Examples are : Thanos Wins (only 6 issues), Guardians of the Galaxy (12 issues), Venom (King in Black storyline 35 issues). Once he’s told his single story arc he’s done with the title.
Thanks for the read!!! You make a solid point with the smaller arcs too.