Kieron Gillen ends his run on the title with a final showdown between Thor and the Dísir, who are seemingly mere minutes away from overwhelming Tyr and Hela to take control of Hel and feast on the souls of dead Asgardians to their content. Though unplanned, Gillen has made “The Fine Print” seem like the next logical story in “Thor” instead of a last minute fill-in; It will be a shame to see him go. Since picking up where J. Michael Straczynski left off, Gillen has had a strong command of the book and its characters, this final issue no exception.
The Dísir have made for threatening and scary villains in this arc, a seemingly unstoppable force that look to consume the souls of dead Asgardians, which is a large affront given to how much respect is given to the Asgardian dead. Given the amount of Asgardians that died in “Siege,” the urgency in saving the new Hel from the Dísir is understandable, especially when Thor finally comes to the place where Loki left a sword that can kill the Dísir. The only problem is that he can’t remove it from the ground because of an enchantment. His solution is clever, as is the way in which he deals with the Dísir.
The other major subplot of Gillen’s run is the out of character behavior of Kelda as she prepares to poison Balder. The explanation is surprising and fitting, though forced. Thematically, it ties into the main plot of this arc, but it doesn’t ring entirely true. If anything, Kelda genuinely overcome by grief and turning that into rage against Balder would be more interesting. Then again, there’s a nice touch added in that gives the revelation a sense of hope.
Doug Braithwaite is always a welcome sight on “Thor” art duties. His bold, tight pencils are great at depicting action and making the Dísir appear genuinely scary in appearance. They have a ghoulish and nasty look to them that suits the hellish setting of the story, making Thor and Tyr stand out. The two living gods look like they don’t belong, creating a visual tension. They don’t seem to be at war with the Dísir only, but with their surroundings, struggling to not look like they belong.
The only problem with Braithwaite’s art is that, because the colors are applied directly to his pencils, there’s always a washed out look that blends together after a while. Some pages just look like a mess of colors that aren’t distinct or separate. His line work is so strong that it would be better if the colors could match and pop off the page.
I have to admit that I’ll miss Kieron Gillen on this book. He took a bridging fill-in stint on the title and crafted a solid, entertaining 13-issue run (if you include “Siege: Loki” #1 and “New Mutants” #11). He definitely made the most of his time on the book and characters, and this issue ends the run strongly.