Beta Ray Bill #5 Review

I’m Not Crying! You’re Crying!!!

Beta Ray Bill #5
  • Written By: Daniel Warren Johnson
  • Art By: Daniel Warren Johnson
  • Colors By: Mike Spicer
  • Letters By: VC’s Joe Sabino
  • Cover Art By: Daniel Warren Johnson
  • Cover Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: July 28, 2021

Bill goes mano-a-mano against Surtur for the right to wield Twilight. Will Bill get what he so desperately wants? Can Bill defeat Surtur? Will this turn into an Afterschool Special where Bill learns a very important lesson about self-acceptance? Let’s find out.

Was It Good?

It was phenomenal. Exciting fights. Brilliant little character moments for everyone (even Pip). And the ending is not what I expected in the best possible way.

Daniel Warren Johnson’s art is not to everyone’s taste. That’s okay, but personally, it fits this story so well. Gritty, almost harsh, lines, ground the characters to reflect their gruff exterior that also reflects the rough edges of their respective natures. However, Johnson uses thinner, more delicate lines when needed — specifically on Skutt.

It’s an excellent demonstration of how to uses lines to project presence and personality.

As for the writing, this is some of the most emotional storytelling coming out of Marvel (or most any other publisher) right now. You can’t help but feel a tender moment for every single character. The Holy Grail of comics writing is to get your writers to feel something. Now, some writers can only get you to feel depression and misery (*cough*), but this is emotional writing done right.

[SPOILERS AHEAD}

Twilight rejects Surtur as unworthy for his recent losses to the Asgardians. The fight to claim Twilight, in just a few panels, has just as many high stakes for Surtur as it does for Bill.

Defying expectations, Surtur immediately pounds Bill into the dust, but Bill is shrewd enough to play on Surtur’s unworthiness and convinces him to shrink down to a more manageable size. Bill is not just fighting rough, he’s fighting smart.

While the fight goes on with one brutal blow after the other, Skutt gets Skurge to help her with a plan to use the shockwaves from the fierce exchange to re-power their ship with wind collectors. It probably sounded goofy on paper but it completely works in the displayed execution.

In the end, with hard won fights and heartfelt goodbyes, Bill claims his prize. To be honest, there was no way he wasn’t going to get the sword. What is a surprise is what happens next. And that we won’t spoil here.

Bit and Pieces

I can’t say enough good things about this series, and I’m looking forward to see what Marvel can do with Daniel Warren Johnson next. Beta Ray Bill is the best thing I’ve read in years, and the entire creative team should be proud.

10/10

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