The finale of “The Galactus Seed,” the opening story arc of “The Mighty Thor,” is an issue of extremes. The actual resolution of the conflict between Galactus and Odin over the Worldheart (aka the MacGuffin) is a bit silly and ill-conceived, while there are some fantastic character moments where both Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel are at the top of their game. The final experience is a bit of a let down after the story really got going over the past few issues. It would have been nice to see Fraction and Coipel stick the landing; instead, they delivered a few nice scenes and a bunch of disappointing ones.
With Galactus dead set on obtaining the Worldheart, and Odin dead set against giving it up, the two sides seem to have reached an impasse that could only result in their destruction until the seed disappears. Take away the motivation for conflict and the entire thing falls apart, leaving a silly truce brought about by a character change to the Silver Surfer that won’t last and, most likely, will barely be mentioned again before he’s back soaring the spaceways. The ending is let down, because the entire conflict seems pointless aside from giving readers, briefly, the conflict of Galactus vs. Asgard. Of course, that conflict only matters when looked at completely, and the ending is practically nonexistent.
Where the issue excels is in its use of Loki. More than anything, Fraction and Coipel get across how young the character is and how much he cares about his brother. When it’s revealed that he had something to do with the disappearance of the Worldheart, Thor nearly takes his head off and the fear young Loki feels is apparent on the page. Coipel draws it so well that it’s a little uncomfortable to see a little kid bawling his eyes out from fear like that. Later, the two make amends and that scene hums along just as nicely. Fraction writes the two as loving brothers, albeit ones with trust issues and a tendency to jump to conclusions. Their relationship now is more interesting and rings truer than any past depiction.
The resolution of the conflict between Galactus and Asgard may be a letdown conceptually, but Coipel still finds a lot of opportunities to deliver fantastic visuals. His Galactus is never anything less than imposing and god-like, particularly in the opening scene when Broxton’s pastor begs for mercy and Galactus responds with a simple “No.” In some spots, Coipel’s line work is hurt by the use of multiple inkers (presumably to meet the release schedule) and his tendency to create complicated page layouts make scenes less clear than they should be. When his layouts get it right, though, he turns out some of the most innovative and inventive layouts in mainstream comics. I will take a few successes if the price is a lot of failures and it’s great to see an artist like Coipel openly challenging himself like that. Every page looks thoughtful, like he tried to approach it from an unexpected perspective.
The end of “The Galactus Seed” winds up disappointing because of the number of plot elements that wind up being nothing more than teases. The seed, Thor’s injury, even the promise of the Destroyer in this issue -- they all add up to nothing. Some great character work and Coipel’s art save the issue from total disappointment.