|Cover art from Matt Fraction's "Thor: Ages of Thunder" one-shot|
While working on his first Thor assignment, "Thor: Ages of Thunder" with artist Patrick Zircher (hitting stores on April 23rd), Fraction discovered just how much he enjoyed writing Thor. "Superheroes are kind of the modern mythology in a lot of ways so to work with a character who straddles the line between the new mythologies and the old ones is very interesting," Fraction told CBR News. "And now with him so close to humanity and all these innocent people again, he’s at the nexus, both figuratively and literally, of all these interesting things. Plus he has a GIANT goddamn hammer, which he uses to hit things, and that is freaking rad."
In "Thor" #2, the Thunder God restored Asgard so the fabled kingdom floats over a small town in Oklahoma. This fired Fraction’s imagination and inspired his story for "Secret Invasion: Thor." "The Crux of this story is that because Thor chose to keep Asgard this close to Earth and mankind, the Skrulls see this town as a giant military target," Fraction explained. "In a way Thor has inadvertently endangered the town of Broxton and everybody there. So once it’s clear the invasion is coming and they know the invaders are coming for Asgard, because it was a surprise to everybody, Thor takes this inordinate amount of responsibility upon himself.
"The first big moment of the series is when Heimdall realizes the invasion is coming. There’s this inevitable, unstoppable force barreling down on Thor and these innocent people might get hurt. So it’s time to dig in and fight back," Fraction continued. "It’s sort of like '300’ re-imagined with a half dozen Asgardian Gods standing against an onslaught of Skrulls. It’s almost kind of a self contained story you don’t even have to know that much about 'Secret Invasion.’"
Asgard’s sudden reemergence means that confronting Thor and the Asgardians was not a part of the Skrulls’ original invasion plans but that doesn’t mean the Skrulls coming for the Thunder God are unprepared or ill equipped. "They’ve adapted and improvised," Fraction stated. "The Skrulls tend to be pretty lateral thinkers. Their plan is to destroy Asgard, and they’re coming armed with all kinds of special weapons."
The destruction of Asgard is more than a military mission to the Skrull invaders: it’s a moral imperative. "The Skrulls are evangelical crusaders. This is a holy war for them," Fraction explained. "And there’s literally a pantheon of gods in their way. So they’re going to destroy them."
When Thor returned from the oblivion of Ragnarok, he had inherited much of the vast mystical power wielded by his deceased father, Odin. If the Skrulls were facing Thor at his best, they would need to bring some immensely powerful weapons to bear. Unfortunately for the people of Broxton and the Asgardians, Thor isn’t at full power. In recent issues of "Thor," the Thunder God expended much of the Odin Power in order to revive the Asgardians who were "sleeping" on earth, hidden in mortal bodies. "His batteries are a little worn down," Fraction said. "Thor’s very much a god and very much reconnected to his greatness and the power of Asgard. But at the beginning of this story he’s not at the top of his game and he’s crucially aware of it. Now when he needs to be at full capacity, he’s not. So it puts him at a real disadvantage."
When Thor’s inherited powers revived his half brother Loki, it resulted in the mischievous god mysteriously being reborn in female form. Loki may have changed sexes but she’s still just as opportunistic and scheming. She’ll find though, that when the Skrulls invade there won’t be any opportunities to exploit. "The Skrulls aren’t buying what Loki is selling," Fraction remarked. "It’s either the Asgardians stand together or they fall together. There’s no bargaining, no bartering, no back room deals to be cut for Loki. The Skrulls have come to replace all of our gods."
Thor and his fellow gods are the central characters in "Secret Invasion: Thor," but the people of Broxton are just as important to the story. "It’s very much about the town," Fraction said," "It’s also very much about Thor and the Asgardians’ relationship with the town. It’s about the intersection of man and god and what that means in a logistical way."
In "Secret Invasion: Thor," the Asgardians and the people of Broxton find themselves in a bleak situation but the tone of the story is not exactly grim. "It’s my flavor of grim, which is very much like a Heavy Metal grim," Fraction explained. "My Thor is very much a 'Led Zeppelin III’ kind of Thor. It’s very power metal; lots of power chords, huge riffs and epic colossal guitar noises. So it’s grim, but it’s only grim as all things awesome have to get a little grim before they get awesome."
The artist drawing Fraction’s epic of awesome action is still being kept under wraps. "I was shocked that we got this person," Fraction said. "I was literally stunned. I never in a million years thought it would happen. So I’m super psyched."
The opportunity to work with the book’s mystery artist and to add to the legend of Thor has made "Secret Invasion: Thor" an immensely enjoyable assignment for Fraction. "I’m super thankful to write this," he said. "It’s cool that Thor is back and such a big part of the Marvel U. Hopefully this series will both scratch everybody’s Thor itch and blow the doors off the place."
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