Thor #3 continues the epic foundation set by Thor #1 and #2. Marvel is putting major work into making sure this series is high-quality and enchanting. Recently, Marvel has gotten flak for purportedly placing more effort into its movies than its comics … and making the comics follow the themes set by the films. Marvel has possibly heard this critique, as these comics are elite and also leading the way for the films, if anything.
The comic opens by describing a time Thor fought a single battle for two years straight, without food, rest, or sleep, against “thousands” of enemies (I’m sure this would actually be into the millions) … and doesn’t even remember it. Apparently, a time-frame of two years is too insignificant against Thor’s nigh-unending lifespan and “immortal mind” (!!???). It’s used simply as a segue into describing why Thor will remember his impending battle with Beta Ray Bill, but it also serves to place him on an almost incomprehensible plane of existence … and also make him completely badass.
The comic then cuts to Thor and Beta Ray Bill, face-to-face. As set up in issue 2, Bill has beef with Galactus and seeks to fight the nigh-omnipotent planet destroyer. Thor, of course, is standing in the way because he needs Galactus alive in order to save the universe. Beta Ray Bill begs Thor to not “make him go through” The God of Thunder (/King of Asgard/Holder of the now “Thorforce”/Herald of Galactus) … alright. Thor apologizes, saying “through is the only way.” Bill charges at Thor, and the Asgardian King literally backhands Bill (with this off-hand, no less) with the least amount of effort conceivably possible. This wave-of-the-hand sends Bill catapulting out of orbit and into the surface of a moon of (the former) planet Clypse with the force of a meteorite. Bill rises from the crust of the satellite, looking as if he’d just been hit by an asteroid. Thor gracefully floats down to the surface of the moon and tells Bill to “stay down.” Bill still refuses to relent, even after Thor runs off his multi-hyphenate power stack to the extremely mighty Korbinite. Thor then appears to prepare to strike Bill down, but actually de-powers out of his herald state. This is in an effort to show Bill he is still the Thor his friend knows.
Galactus, apparently, doesn’t like this move, at all, because he then blasts Thor with an energy beam right in his back. Thor then re-coops and blocks it with Mjolnir, and sends a blast right back at Galactus. Thor mentions he will keep his word to Galactus, but the planet eater best mind his tongue. Bill overhears this, and pummels Thor across the jaw with Stormbreaker. (My man can’t catch a break). Bill even makes the historically extremely unwise move of (gulp) questioning Thor’s worthiness. Though he now starts putting a real beatdown on Bill, Thor never gets mad at his friend. Thor holding his temper through all this is probably the greatest display of his godly nature. He never once gets truly upset at Bill.
In fact, Thor even continues to attempt to reason with Bill and explain his motives for teaming up with Galactus. He does, however, also state that he will not be judged by Beta Ray. Bill is still not trying to hear it. The fight continues, and Thor actually hurls Mjolnir at Beta Ray Bill, which could potentially kill the Korbinite. Bill catches Mjolnir (!!!!!!) and the fight comes to an impasse. Thor warns Bill to let Mjolnir go, because if he calls it back while Bill is holding it … it will rip the Korbinite’s arm off, right along with it, or even just straight up kill him. Bill still refuses to let up, fully displaying the strength (of character and body) that makes him one of Thor’s BFFs. Thor actually shows a bit of mercy and—surprisingly—summons Stormbreaker off the ground, instead of tearing his friend apart by calling Mjolnir. He attacks Bill with the other celestial hammer, Bill blocks the assault with Mjolnir, and Stormbreaker is completely shattered. This attack didn’t phase Thor, in the slightest, but, apparently, proved too much for Bill, as he is laid out on the ground, near depleted, after the godly assault. Bill still won’t yield, though, as he actually attempts to stand up. Thor asks his brother—again—to stop, to which Bill replies he “isn’t Thor’s brother.” Thor raises his left arm and charges up Mjolnir, once more, and we then get the biggest surprise of the issue.
The signature rainbow spectrum of the Bifrost comes bursting right between Thor and his Korbinite friend. The silhoutte of none other than Sif becomes visible against the background of the prismatic bridge. She says (rightly) she has seen enough of this “insanity.” She stands in front of Bill, protecting him, and proclaiming that if Thor insists, “through is the only way.”
Wow. The art, writing, and pacing in this issue were top tier. And, just as I’ve always liked with Marvel, they present the powers of their characters in the most awe-inducing ways. Thor careening Bill toward the surface of a moon with a single backhand!?? I am thoroughly impressed and excited for next month. I would actually say Thor is Marvel’s premiere title right now, interestingly enough. Keep it up!
Comic Grade: A
—The Cavalier Nerd