Getting to the end of “The Mighty Thor” #2, there’s a sense that, in past times of double-sized first issues, this is where the first issue of the series should have ended. You know, with the plot actually getting started. That this is the second issue makes much of what happens until the final pages seem aimless and meandering, like the comic is just floating Joe Sabinothrough this world and maybe there will be a point to it all at some point. Maybe. It’s the same feeling Matt Fraction’s seven-part “World Eaters” story with Pasqual Ferry had for much of it and, like that story, Fraction is accompanied by a skilled artist that, often, is the best thing about the comic, by far.
Similar to Ferry’s approach with Fraction, Olivier Coipel uses primarily two-page layouts. However, his compositions have a more staggered and messy look than Ferry’s, and are more willing to use vertically long panels. Coipel stacks panels and creates somewhat counterintuitive panel-to-panel flow in places. Sometimes, that approach is inspired and leads to pages that work on several levels: as singular drawings, as sequential storytelling, and as one big piece of art composed of those parts. Other times, it’s a struggle to follow where the art is leading.
Coipel’s line work, though, never falters. Individual panels are strong and balance intricate detail and a restrained approach to art. When heavy detailed is required, Coipel provides it, but also knows when to use a light touch and to rely on his cartooning skills to show the emotion or action of the particular panel. Faces especially tend to be spare, using only a few lines to get across what the character is thinking. On one page, he shows Thor, Sif, and Loki at different moments and you can tell exactly what each is thinking.
Within this issue are good ideas, like the Brigade of the Realms, a collection of beings from the Nine Realms that Thor and Sif are training to help protect the Nine Worlds. However, they’re pushed aside quickly and come off as window-dressing for a scene that isn’t at all about them. That’s how the issue goes: introducing something before floating onto the next thing, not always seeing it through entirely. This issue feels like it has no direction until the end.
The end of the issue is a strong one and, coupled with Coipel’s art, helps make this issue a good one overall. Fraction’s plotting and pacing aren’t the best here, but he does write the characters well in the quiet moments, including a short and strong scene between Odin and Heimdall that shows a side of Odin that Fraction hasn’t written yet. If this issue had been combined with the first in a larger debut, it would have been the right way to kick the series off; as it is, it’s the end of the second issue and only now does the plot get going.