In the age of the $3.99 30-page comic, it almost seems to take a Matt Fraction/Pasqual Ferry team to get me to pick up the first issue in a new run on a mainstream superhero comic these days. Fraction has become a dependable source of researched character and story depth in recent years, and Ferry lit a fire under my interest years ago thanks to his Mister Miracle collaboration with Grant Morrison. Seeing him land on another Jack Kirby creation with one of Marvel’s top writers muscled the $3.99 out of my pocket for Thor #615, and while the issue does contain a few memorable moments, my ultimate verdict is going to have to dock it a few points based on the fact that most of it felt like a PowerPoint presentation announcing Fraction’s general intentions about where he wants to take this series.
The first three pages confine Ferry’s artwork to a bit of a slow-paced treadmill with 6-panel talking head layouts that establish the groundwork for what’s to come. Things shift gears for the next 12 pages when the action I won’t spoil erupts in Alfheim. Matthew Dale Hollingsworth’s colors complement Ferry’s figures superbly, and Fraction leaves this thread separated from the events immediately surrounding Thor, who doesn’t get to raise his hammer toward anyone just yet.
In the end, it’s a better-than-average read, but not one that had me diving into my pockets to set aside bucks for the next issue. We’ve got well-designed if conceptually cookie-cutter villains looking to march through spacetime on a pillaging romp, a Thor who’s misty-eyed about losing his brother and a creative team capable of making the dialog and shiny parts of everyone’s costume entertaining to watch. Thor #616 will have my attention. It’s going to have to enter the ring strong to compete with whatever else is on the rack on October 20 in order to make it into my bag though.