Review by Woodrow Phoenix
This 2013 edition reprints the initial ten issues of Walt Simonson’s epic run on The Mighty Thor from the mid 1980s, with one very big difference: the colourist Steve Oliff and Olyoptics 2.0. have recoloured the entire book with a new, less primary palette. It replaces the original vivid colours designed for newsprint with glinting metallics, naturalistic flesh tones and glowing special effects. These are the same recoloured pages as seen in The Mighty Thor Omnibus of 2011.
From the very first image, Simonson demonstrates his intention to shake things up. Thor wrestles with a creature who looks like an alternate version of the Thunder God for his own hammer and everything is up for grabs. The pace of his innovations scarcely lets up as each issue builds on the one before it with a slew of brilliant ideas and fantastic storytelling, beginning with the unthinkable: Thor’s hammer is taken from him by someone who is equally entitled to heft it. How can this be? Check what it says on Mjolnir’s side: “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor”. Those words had been there since the very beginning, but until Beta Ray Bill bested Thor in combat, they had never been tested.
Bill is loath to give the hammer back – after all, he won it fair and square so why should he? It’s up to Odin the All-Father to devise a solution since he’s the one who put the enchantment there in the first place. But will Bill accept it? Meanwhile elsewhere in the cosmos, a giant anvil is resounding with the sound of Asgard’s enemies preparing for battle, Thor has to fight legions of demons, then answer the call of the Last Viking, and then face the deadly menace of Malekith the Accursed, king of the Dark Elves. This warrior of shadows enslaves anyone who eats his mystical elf food, and once he finds the Casket of Ancient Winters, he will plunge all of Earth into a new ice age. At the end of this volume it looks like everything is going to plan!
Thor by Walter Simonson, Volume 1 is essential reading if you have ever been interested in any cosmic adventure or any superhero comics. This volume features an afterword by Walt Simonson, a cover gallery and some sketches. It was previously available in the UK as Thor: The Last Viking, a hardcover from the Marvel Graphic Novel Collection. Two earlier versions of this volume, Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson, volume 1 and Thor Legends Volume 1: Walt Simonson, featured different covers but exactly the same contents with the original newsprint colours. They are both out of print.