Review by Woodrow Phoenix
This volume of Thor is the second of five volumes reprinting Walt Simonson’s definitive four-year run of stories. The art has been recoloured, as in the now-out-of-print The Mighty Thor by Walt Simonson Omnibus. This new reprint features a slightly altered arrangement of issues to the previous Thor Visionaries Volume 2. Steve Oliff’s revised style of colouring, less primary colours and more chromatic, makes the artwork look very different.
The action begins with Malekith the Dark Elf getting the better of a (literally) bewitched Thor just before the massive confrontation with the ancient evil of fire-demon Surtur. The forging of The Twilight Sword is complete, the Casket of Ancient Winters is open, and the Nine Worlds are about to be breached. Odin the All-Father summons all Asgardians to protect its golden spires and eternal flame from Surtur’s sword. With the heavens ablaze and the Earth sheathed in ice, an army of heroes including the Warriors Three, Beta Ray Bill, Sif, Thor stand-in Harokin, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and even some villains such as the Enchantress and Skurge the Executioner battle an endless army of demons in New York, while Thor attempts to prevent Surtur getting to Asgard. Simonson mixes pieces of real Norse myth from the Eddas such as Ragnarok and the Gjallarhorn, with Marvel continuity and some inventions of his own meld into a completely epic, widescreen adventure. The enormous complex fight scenes are choreographed to give all his guest stars moments at the centre of the action. Even Loki, who takes his time and tortures Balder the Brave for fun, finally joins his father and brother at the very last minute, but which side is he on?
The conclusion of this storyline, almost two years in the making, is appropriately momentous for Odin and his two sons. Simonson continues to introduce new and inventive elements while exploring the big themes of Kingship, brotherhood, the nature of heroism and sacrifice in very satisfying, dramatic ways. By the end of this volume every character has been pushed far away from where they started off and the effects of these changes set up the next big story arc very nicely.
This volume has a cover gallery but no extra features. It was previously reprinted as Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson, Vol. 2 and Thor Legends Volume 2: Walt Simonson, with different covers but the same contents. Both are now out of print.