Finally, the Warriors Three get their own mini-series. Mainstay Thor supporting characters, the trio offers a healthy mix of action and light comedy, usually acting as some of the more entertaining Asgardians. This debut issue gives us some of the fun action associate with the Warriors Three, but spends far too much time setting up the plot and explaining it in detail instead of just letting it go, allowing us and the Warriors Three to play catch-up in a far more interesting manner. Less plot mechanics, more Warriors Three is what this comic called for.
The plot of the series looks fairly interesting: AIM has unleashed Fenris, the giant wolf and son of Loki. It’s slaughtered an entire town and needs to be recaptured by the Asgardians before it can kill more people. The reasons behind AIM doing this aren’t revealed yet despite a large part of this issue detailing an AIM team’s expedition into the Nine Realms. Not unentertaining, these scenes go on for too long, leaving the Warriors Three and Asgardians to a smaller role. When all is said and done, the AIM scenes take up almost half of the issue without telling us much besides that AIM released Fenris.
What little we get of the Warriors Three is good. A few pages showing their activities on Earth are funny: Fandral has to make a quick exit when the husband of his latest ‘conquest’ comes home, Volstagg takes an all-you-can-eat buffet as a challenge with a prize, and Hogun gets in a bar fight. From there, Fenris’ slaughter is made known and the trio joins in the hunt, taking a different approach from their fellow Asgardians by approaching it like a mystery. Instead of starting from the town on Earth that Fenris attacked, they begin where he was caged by the Asgardians. What’s baffling is that that approach is the perfect way to place the focus on the Warriors Three and allow the plot to reveal itself to them and the reader at the same time. Why not begin there and make the eponymous characters the stars of the book and leave the AIM material out?
Neil Edwards shows a marked improvement in his art for this book over what I’ve seen before this. With inker Scott Hanna, Edwards’ line work is much more fluid and detailed, clearly inspired by Alan Davis and Brian Hitch, but also moving into an area where Edwards doesn’t look like a bad rip-off artist. He’s clearly finding his own style and voice, and not everything works, but his compositions are strong. He has a good understanding of the three leads, showing us their personalities through how he introduces them visually. The way Volstagg sits in a booth is laid back, slovenly, and funny.
The AIM expedition, while not entirely necessary, allows Edwards to flex his muscles, particularly when they get into a fight with some of the monsters they encounter. He delivers a dynamic, chaotic splash that’s very quite well done. Sometimes, his line work is too precise that characters look divorced from their surroundings, overly stilted, but, for the most part, this is Edwards’ best art to date.
“Warriors Three” #1 shows promise and Bill Willingham has a great grasp of the eponymous trio, but doesn’t use them nearly enough. Sadly, he spends too much time on plot details that don’t involve the Asgardians and the comic suffers for it.