Writers: Donny Cates
Artists: Salvador Larroca, Edgar Delgado, VC’s Joe Sabino, and Nic Klein
Release Date: October 19th, 2022
Thor vs. Venom continues in Thor #28 by Donny Cates as the epic finale of this dark, twisted team-up between Thor and Venom comes to a rapid end. It’s the hammer vs. the tongue! It’s thunder vs. the symbiote! It’s golden hair vs. pointy teeth! How will events from the current Venom series impact the future of Asgard? Let’s jump in and find out!
After taking a hiatus from Thor during the Hulk crossover, this reviewer hops back into the series with what would appear to be a pretty killer team-up: Venom and Thor. Two characters that Cates has seemingly molded together to his liking over the past couple of years. This shouldn’t be any surprise to Cates fans. He’s always been about “his” creations, teaming them up, and expecting “his” universe. Nevertheless, Al Ewing has taken Venom on a more universal connection as of late following the events of King in Black placing Venom at near god levels. And if I may, the current Venom series overview concept is just an epic, time-traveling, futuristic, storytelling that takes certainly unique in its own right.
However, my point in the introduction is to inform Thor fans that if you haven’t been following along with Venom over the past year or so, then the events in this mini-crossover event may be a bit perplexing. That’s the risk writers run when books tend to crossover in the midst of a good story. Nevertheless, Thor eventually merges to defeat this wild childlike symbiote to discover the true intentions and purpose of the King in Black. Now, my problem is that the reveal in Thor involving the King in Black loses its value unless you’ve been following along with the recent Venom run. But readers, it’s supposed to be a huge reveal… and it’s not unless you’re a Venom fan. Shouldn’t the reveals in a Thor comic involve… Thor? I just wonder how many Thor fans are also reading Venom to truly understand the impact.
Yet the structural impact on Thor comes in the form of Donald Blake… and I don’t know how I feel about this. Are we really ready for Blake to come back? It just seems too soon. Additionally, I don’t know how I feel about a parallel, evil Mjolnir. The main reason I stepped out of Thor was that it was getting pretty insane coupled with surface-level storytelling. Nothing deep was presented. There was no emotion. There was just one epic reveal into another that never amounted to anything. In my short trip back into Thor, it appears as though nothing has changed. Stories need emotional and dramatic developments with the characters in order to identify with the story. Somehow, the reader needs to see themselves in the tale without it being cluttered with nonsense. It needs to be straightforward and easy to understand causing a sense of familiarity. I’m sorry Cates but that’s not Thor right now nor has it been for quite some time.
As for the actual story itself, Thor #28 attempts to mask its deficiencies with character reveals and bold battle sequences. This is great for a quick escape but not a long-term marriage to the series. If anything, Thor #28 does a fantastic job drawing readers into Venom more than anything else. Sure, I’m curious as to what will transpire with Donald Blake… but only slightly. However, on a positive note, there is something about Loki and the way Cates writes him that I feel all those elements I stated above in that character. I’d read the heck out of this book if it focused on Loki, which is odd to say in a comic untitled Thor. I can feel the emotion and identify more with him than Odinson.
Thor #28 has shown me that nothing has changed with Cates’ writing. He still goes after the big, flashy reveals coupled with the high-octane battles to mask for the lack of character depth and emotion. Too much surface-level, special guest, convoluted jargon clutters Thor #28 and actually does a better job advertising for Venom than his own comic. Granted, all that being said, a Cates comic always reads fast and combines intense action making each comic he touches the equivalent of an 80s action flick.
The art team was refreshing, crisp, and super detailed providing a strong sense of realism that this reviewer loves. Somehow, Cates has a tremendous eye for good artists in all of his books, which is extremely key for a writer who relies heavily on explosive action and epic reveals to tell his story. Would I hop back on board Thor after reading Thor #28? No, not yet anyway. However, I would definitely consider grabbing some back issues of the current Venom run and try to catch up on that tale post haste. That rodeo over there seems to be hitting all the bells and whistles. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!