Although Thor and the rest of the Asgardians are heavily involved in “Fear Itself,” that story does not impact this one, at least not yet. Taken on its own, as the third part of a larger story, this issue continues to deliver the stunning artwork of Olivier Coipel and Mark Morales as they adapt the tale spun by Volstagg -- er, uh, I mean Matt Fraction.
Actually, Volstagg does play a large (punny, I know) part in a subplot in this issue, but the primary tale told herein is of the approach of Galactus. Silver Surfer had made his way to Earth with an eye on Asgard to warn of Galactus’ imminent arrival. More on that soon. Volstagg’s tale is one of a man who has been told enough is enough. The people of Broxton, Oklahoma are fed up and they want the Asgardians gone. They no longer want the troubles and strife that have found Asgard looming overhead, underfoot, or around the corner. Volstagg is hurt by this and takes the news back to Asgard where he finds his brethren preparing for a different battle altogether.
That battle is an attack on Galactus. Galactus has not come to Earth to consume the Earth. Oh, no. He’s come to Earth, specifically to find Asgard and the “superdense cosmic heart plucked from spacetime itself” that is in the possession of the Asgardians.
Naturally, Silver Surfer coming to Asgard to warn them of Galactus’ approach and to request their compliance is a dumb move on Surfer’s part, but a savvy move from Fraction, who delivers scrums in this issue that pit Surfer against Thor – power cosmic against Mjolnir – and Silver Surfer against Odin. With all the hoo-hah and falderal going on with “Fear Itself,” this issue is a nice, fresh breath of Asgardian air that features some good old-fashioned fisticuffs, head-butting, and masculine posturing. That combination, beautifully delivered by Coipel, gives this comic a timeless feel that invites the reader to return again to reread this tale at some point in the future.
Coipel’s art is marvelously enhanced by the brilliant colors of Laura Martin, who can color the power cosmic like no other. Sabino’s lettering of Surfer’s speaking is equally dazzling, imbuing the herald of Galactus with an otherworldly magnificence that would seem just as unusual to the Asgardians as it does to inhabitants of Earth.
This is a fun summer read, as the Asgardians gird their loins for battle against Galactus, Broxton rises up against Asgard (maybe “rises up” is extreme, but Volstagg would disagree), and Sif has a very personal confrontation with Loki. Fraction gets these characters, both in scope and emotion, and he delivers a book that is just fun to read. While newcomers to the world of Thor, who, after seeing the film, may be seeking out the comics of the god of Thunder, may be a little hung up by some of the details of the story so far, this issue is open enough and thorough enough to give anyone enough information to move forward.
That forward motion is going to take us to a battle between Galactus and the warriors of Asgard, and I am anxiously looking forward to it.