This week we meet the new Thor, and enroll in Gotham Academy!
Thor #1 (Marvel Comics)
Excited for the new female Thor? Well, I’ll tell you right now: she’s only in two pages of Thor #1, the new jumping on point by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman. This fact makes it a little tough to believe that this change is going to last, as does the fact that this brand new #1 reads more like Thor: God of Thunder #26. The focus is entirely on the former Thor (who we’re now told to call “Odinson”), which will most likely lead to a lot of angry customers.
Having the focus be on the old Thor isn’t a bad thing though. With Original Sin and Thor and Loki tie-in taking the place of his main series, there’s a lot to get through to set up our new, worthy Thor. Picking up on the ending of Original Sin, we find Thor still on the moon, attempting to lift Mjolnir. Of course, this eventually draws the attention of his father Odin, who brings almost the entirety of Asgard with him to see what is wrong with his son (before you ask, we STILL don’t find out what Nick Fury said to him in Original Sin that made him “unworthy”). Jason Aaron absolutely nails this scene, and the desperation in the now unworthy Thor is actually pretty sad. After realizing he is no longer worthy, Thor heads to the Asgardian armory to pick up a new weapon (his former axe), and quickly comes into conflict with Malekith, who promptly….
Nah, I won’t spoil anymore. I will say that fans of the God of Thunder who have been reading since Jason Aaron took over the book will get some answers to their lingering questions in this issue. Aaron does a great job of showcasing Thor’s unhappiness with being unworthy, and writes a pretty awesome fight scene as well. There’s not a whole lot of set up for the new Thor, but the mystery that Aaron is setting up behind who the new Thor is seems to be pretty easy to figure out (there’s only one woman with Odin when he arrives).
Russell Dauterman’s artwork is really awesome in this issue. While I still prefer Esad Ribic’s style from the beginning of God of Thunder, Dauterman is a more than suitable replacement. He handles the scenes with Thor and Malketih throwing down with as much gusto as he does having Thor and his Asgardian brethren crowd around him. Dauterman didn’t make a huge splash when he was on Cyclops, but I imagine that will change now.
Thor #1 is going to disappoint some people. Okay, it’s going to disappoint a lot of people. But despite only showing the new Thor on two pages of the book, there’s still plenty to like about this issue. While it’s not the easiest read for newbies wanting to see what the deal is with Thor’s world, it does a good enough job of giving you the information you need to know to get on board. While it’s a shame that we’ll have to wait until next issue to see the new God of Thunder in action, there’s still enough here to warrant a return trip to Asgard.
Gotham Academy #1 (DC Comics)
The first of two Batman spin off books being released this month, Gotham Academy focuses on the lives of the students of the titular school, and the weird things they encounter while attending class. This Harry Potter/ Scooby Doo take on the Dark Knight’s world could work, and will probably find an audience (judging by the internet reaction to it, it already has). Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher’s script is a lot of fun, and Karl Kerschl’s art fits the tone of the series perfectly. However, I don’t think I’m the target demographic for it.
Gotham Academy #1 introduces us to Olive and Maps, two students at the prestigious prep school. Olive has recently been assigned as Maps’ “nanny”, and has to show her the ropes of living within the Academy’s creepy halls. At first Olive isn’t that interested in helping, especially given the fact that Maps’ older brother is her ex-boyfriend. Eventually though, she comes around and decides to show maps some of the creepier areas of the Academy. Maps jumps at the chance, and is super excited to catch the mysterious “ghost” that’s rumored to be haunting the school. Of course, things don’t go quite as planned, and leads to the two girls accidentally causing a scene during Bruce Wayne’s commencement speech.
Writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher create some really well rounded characters in Gotham Academy. Both Olive and Maps act like legitimate teenage girls, but at the same time they have their own unique personality quirks. Their script has a big Scooby Doo vibe to it, which actually makes this book stand out from the other Batman titles on the stand. Karl Kerschl’s art also helps set this book apart from the Bat pack. His character designs have a cartoony but spooky look to them, and his art is a perfect fit with the tone of this book.
Gotham Academy is definitely an interesting choice as far as Batman spin off comics go. The Dark Knight isn’t in the series at all, and it focuses on a bunch of brand new characters in a location that many Batman fans (myself included) don’t care about. But I have to say, I give DC a lot of credit for creating this book, and while I may not pick up the next issue, I can see it being a big hit for younger fans of the Dark Knight.