Writer: Donny Cates
Art: Nic Klein, Matt Wilson, VC’s Joe Sabino, Olivier Coipel, and Laura Martin
Release Date: Wednesday, June 24th, 2020
When last we saw All-Father Thor, he was standing toe to toe with the Black Winter. Galactus quickly devoured the five planets needed to destroy this unending darkness and the All-Father Herald was ready to save his universe. Thor has battled friends and even compromised his own ethical foundations in order to save his universe. But, was it all worth it? Will Thor’s efforts be enough to stop the Black Winter? Or, is a large piece of this puzzle truly still missing? Let’s jump into THOR #5 by Donny Cates and find out!
Fans will be happy to hear that this issue has all the glitz and glamour associated with a Thor battle royal that you’ve been craving as well as an epic throwdown of universe-ending proportions. However, it’s impact and sticking point may be ultimately what fails to land as this issue comes to a close. Let me explain. You see, sometimes writers try too hard to make a comic too deep and profound. I actually feel it’s done as a way to mask key plot points that they themselves don’t truly understand or grasp. It’s a tool writers use for vagueness and ambiguity in order to hold strong to continuity and escape dangling plot threads and misinterpretations. Honestly, the concept is rather clever for the writer and keeps the reader’s doggie paddling for a time until they forget about any plot holes that may have developed. Pure genius on the writers’ behalf! But, it’s repeatedly demeaning to diehard fans that take refuge within their favorite character.
Readers, it’s kind of like using big words in sentences without truly understanding what they mean. Well, Cates jazzes this issue up with tons of fluffy dialogue and narration that actually shared no relevant information to the story and merely hid the true intent of the issue, which can be found by skipping to the last page. Ultimately, the entire issue could be summed up by the last three pages (if that) with the rest of the tale being unnecessary. Why spend $3.99 when someone could just tell you what happened on that last page?
Don’t get me wrong, the premise of the story is still rather interesting, especially what is revealed as the issue wraps. However, the beginning 2/3 of the issue appeared to be for unsubstantial pomp and circumstance. Amazing fights were portrayed as mere thought exercises only to vault our story towards Cates’ purpose, which was in essence the cliffhanger. So, is this a THOR story or a GALACTUS story? That said, this has been Cates’ technique as of late. He’s a big idea guy who can see the larger picture and scope. However, his stories have been cliffhanger after cliffhanger with epic ideas that masquerade as a plot lacking true substance and meaning. It just seems like Cates has clever ideas for a story overall but hasn’t worked out the elements of the smaller details to help it move forward. And, this issue of THOR hammers that point home with a large bolt of lightning and a heavy dose of perplexing dialogue. I want to feel like the entire issue is worth my time or at least a majority of the issue before I buy it. However, when the plot of a comic can be summed up in a single sentence, is it really worth the read?
Additionally, Nic Klein’s art was handcuffed this issue due to the Black Winter. He can’t be held accountable for this issue based solely on the simplistic color choices that would be associated with utter darkness. How can an artist really invoke their true potential when their color palette is mainly black? Klein certainly did his best with the cards he was dealt however the issue was very busy at times and cluttered with dark word balloons which made space seem even more cramped than normal. Nic Klein and Matthew Wilson are at their best when they have space and color to showcase what they are truly capable of highlighting.
And lastly, this reviewer felt like Cates single-handily crushed Jason Aaron’s run within one issue making WAR OF THE REALMS and KING THOR, which is what Aaron was working towards for 10 years, become almost obsolete. By the Black Winter simply saying “the winds have changed”, does that undo 10 years of Aaron’s work? Is KING THOR, the future that was just written, now gone and wiped away? If so, as a Jason Aaron THOR fan, I’m quite agitated to think that all that hard work gets brushed aside so quickly and easily. Both Cates’ story and Aaron’s could easily coexist in the same timeline uninterrupted. This story could be one of the hundreds that could be told before Jason Aaron’s KING THOR run and after WAR OF THE REALMS. The time commitment from fans over the years is simply tossed aside to tell a 6 issue story about Galactus that very well may jump to something else with the turn of the tides. I was under the impression that Cates’ story was simply something happening in between. But it seems like that’s no longer the case and that’s extremely disappointing.
if you’re looking for an issue surrounded by extras to get you to the cliffhanger, you’ve come to the right place. It’s got all the bells and whistles with another “wow” ending that may mask the lack of significance within the story itself. Even with his hands tied up by the story, Klein still performs well enough to power this issue with some epic battle sequences. However, the purpose of this month’s story appears to drive home an intriguing tidbit about the Devourer of Worlds at the cost of this issue and Jason Aaron’s run. Sure, timelines are rewritten all the time and futures change in comics often. But, do they change 5 issues into the incumbents run? Now, I’m still interested in this tale overall and I’m still excited to see where the story leads but if the next issue gives fans another non-ending surrounded by more fluff, I may be hanging up my cleats with Cates’ THOR run. I need more substances, direction, and purpose without the pointless narration made to cloak a lack of story and plot. Overall, I’m just disheartened knowing that I’ve seen better from Cates recently. Let’s hope that the next issue ends strong and recaptures this THOR fan, as well as Cates fan, for issues to come.
If you want to get your hands on this week’s issue of THOR, click the Amazon link HERE. Additionally, if THOR by Donny Cates is your jam, click HERE to grab the latest trades, volumes, and titles. Plus, if you’re interested in Jason Aaron’s THOR run, click HERE to get your hands on some outstanding trades. And finally, if you’re looking for something else to read, check out my Amazon Online Comic Shop by clicking HERE. Thank you all for the read and continued support. Stay safe and stay healthy.