Thor #34 Review

Thor (2020) #34

Writer: Torunn Gronbekk

Artist: Juan Gedeon

Penciler: Sergio Davila

Color Artist: Matt Wilson

Cover Artist: Nic Klein

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Reviewer: StoryBabbler

Thor has been searching for answers to the riddle of Thanos’ return and the threat he brings with the use of a mysterious “Black Stone”. This has brought him to the edges of Niflheim where Asgard’s dead and the queen of the realm of the dead, Hela herself, had been captured by none other than Dr. Doom. And as Thor fought against Doom’s plot, there was another dark journey through time undertaken by Thanos the Mad Titan himself as he fought against the ancient warriors of Bor, Thor’s grandfather. Now see the three warriors clash against each other in Thor #34.


I’ll say this, the cover by Nic Klein is far better to look at than the rest of this book. I will come out and say that this reviewer is not a fan of the art by Juan Gedeon, but more than that it just feels like it’s not compatible with the story. It fails to bring to life the epic nature of this clash between Thor, Dr. Doom, and Thanos himself. Like I said in previous reviews, Gedeon’s art just looks too plain and static for this series, let alone this particular comic. And that’s not the worst of it for this comic. Fair warning there will be SPOILERS throughout this book.

The comic is something that should be one of the best or most hyped fights in Marvel Comics as not one, not two, but three heavyweight characters in Marvel Comics are about to throw down against each other over a “mysterious child” that has some connections to the epic Black Stone the series has been building up for a while now. Of course, the “Mysterious Child” isn’t really all that mysterious and turns out to be Hela. Once more, we see another Marvel comic writer overcomplicating the origins and nature of an established character for a new story that is looking to be far more subtractive than additive. Plus, Gronbekk really stretches the time travel element here to the point that it’s unintentionally comedic when used with future Laussa and kid Hela.

You might be asking, “What about the fight?” Well, there’s barely any fighting in this comic and what we do get is pretty underwhelming. Gronbekk wastes too much time trying to cram existential themes with Thanos, Doom, and even Bor instead of trying to deliver what’s on the cover. Thanos hits Doom with his knife, Doom doesn’t do a thing in this comic except hold baby Hela for a while, and Thor gets in a few hits while Thanos tries to strike him with a sword. When the action starts, it’s clear that either the creative team don’t really understand how powerful all three characters are or what their general power-sets are, since Thanos only fights with a sword instead of using his energy blasts and super strength (which is on par with the Hulk’s), and the same with Doom and all of his advanced weaponry and sorcery, or Thor and his newfound Odinforce powers. Either that, or they just didn’t care about any of that and just wanted to rush this story to the end.

Another issue is the derivative nature of the theme being explored here as well as what Thor is saying about the nature of godhood and being a king and all that. All I’ll say is that the subject of godhood and what right do gods have to mess with mortal lives let alone decide who lives and who dies and all that is something that has been covered to death (pun intended) by plenty of Marvel writers, especially Jason Aaron in all of his Thor runs with both Thor himself and Jane Foster when she was “Thor”. This subject matter was Aaron’s bread and butter in his Thor stories even as they declined in quality over time. Sadly, Gronbekk’s execution of these themes in this story arc let alone this comic have been done in such a ham-fisted manner that they bring nothing new or interesting to the table and just makes it feel pretentious and boring.

It also doesn’t help that the interactions between Thor, Thanos, and Dr. Doom are pretty lackluster and bereft of intrigue or excitement. To start off, Dr. Doom meeting Thanos again should be a very big deal since the last time they saw each other was in Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars event where at the tail end of the event, Doom pulled a Mortal Kombat finisher and killed Thanos in a way that sent his spirit hurtling outside all of reality as shown in Al Ewing’s Ultimates series. Instead, we get them debating about the existential point of life and humanity’s self-destructive tendencies, and not even in a way that sounds genuine to either character before Thor cuts in. Like in the previous issue, Gronbekk’s narration is trying real hard to sell how grand the events are only to have it undersold by the dialogue, pacing, and Gedeon’s art.

The only good thing to come out of this comic is that it at least makes Bor a better character than previous writers have done. With some (won’t name anyone) going to the extreme nth degree to make Bor look bad and some just downplaying his importance to the Thor side of things in Marvel Comics. But here, Gronbekk actually does the work to give Bor of all people a bit of a character arc that makes him at least somewhat decent compared to past portrayals in Marvel Comics, and I am talking about the mainstream 616 Marvel Universe.

Final Thoughts:


Thor #34 appears to be the penultimate issue of this story arc, where we see Thor vs. Dr. Doom vs. Thanos for the fate of a mysterious child who unsurprisingly turns out to be Hela. Don’t let Nic Klein’s cover fool you though, there’s very little action in this comic between these three and Juan Gedeon’s art sadly isn’t up to the task of bringing such a battle to life. It also doesn’t help that the comic wastes too much time on themes that are supposed to be grand but are poorly told and end up being extremely derivative of subject matter explored in past Thor runs. Unfortunately, this comic fails to deliver what should be an otherwise fun and epic comic featuring a battle between three of Marvel Comic’s most popular heavy-hitters.


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