Marvel’s Original Sin event is coming to a close imminently, with the final issue of the main event series landing tomorrow I believe. Or next week at the latest. This has been a most fun event, especially once you delve into many of the tie-ins and the crossovers that have resulted, such as the story arcs in Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil, among others. Part of this event was the launch of the Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm mini-series which saw Thor learn about his long-lost and believed-dead sister and then set out on a quest to bring her back. The first issue back in early July was a promising read, and I expected that to continue, for the title to get better.
Being on a holiday, I wasn’t able to review the previous two issues of the mini-series, but with the 4th issue landing this past week, I thought it was a good time to get down to it. What Jason Aaron and Al Ewing started in the first issue continued on in the second through fourth issues, with each providing a new and unexpected turn of events the likes of which I just couldn’t imagine. Whether it is Thor and Loki breaking down Odin’s realm-locks to the Tenth Realm, or Loki turning on Thor to side with the Angels of Heven, or Thor’s sister Angela beating him down or even more, this story has been one of the best “short” stories from Marvel I’ve read in a while. The artists also turned in a great effort, though I got confused between all the different pencillers put on the project.
The story here is fairly simple: Thor learns of a sister he never had in the pages of the first issue of the series, which ties into the events of Original Sin #3, when the C-lister supervillain Orb caused a psychic explosion in the middle of New York by unveiling the dead Watcher Uatu’s eye (the one that he possesses). Many of the superheroes caught in the unveiled explosion learned secrets that they were not privy to before, and that’s the basis for this series, and scripter Al Ewing does a pretty good job of it. The first issue was a bit rough, but with the next three issues Ewing really seems to have improved considerably.
For one, the interactions between the two brothers, not to mention the dark influence of Future-Loki, are great. Thor and Loki make a great team together, undoubtedly, and that’s what Ewing plays up in these three issues. But as is inevitable with the God of Trickery, he is not always what he seems and he always has an agenda or a way to twist matters to his benefit. He can snake his way into any situation to get an advantage for himself and that’s a twist that I loved in the third issue, when he does end up betraying Thor to the Angels and joining them as the Mistress of Strategies (yes, Loki does change his gender in the issue and that continues on all the way through in the fourth issue.
With Thor and Angela however, I couldn’t help but feel saddened as the events unfolded. Brother and sister, they were meant to be paragons of Asgardian nobility, but only one ever achieved that status, the other forced to serve her people’s enemy, brainwashed and manipulated into becoming their supreme warrior. And even now, there is no end in sight where Angela and Thor might be able to reconcile. Yet reconcile they must for soon Thor is going to be deemed unworthy of being the God of Thunder, of wielding the great hammer Mjolnir. In Original Sin #7 (or #6, not sure), this has already happened to a degree, which I thought was odd, considering the time gaps involved.
A new Thor is going to take to the galactic stage very soon, and some form of reconciliation between Thor and Angela is well due, if only to give them both a peace of mind, especially Thor since he defied the commands of Odin and Freyja to break through to the Tenth Realm, dooming himself in the process.
In all of this I would be remiss if I did not mention how well Ewing works with Angela. She doesn’t get a lot of screen-time in this mini-series, but she does star in the third issue and the fourth issue has a really nice character piece with her where she reflects on her nature and her identity. Such has been a precious commodity since her introduction in Brian Michael Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy current run, and I’m really happy to see that.
In the second issue we have Lee Garbett and Nolan Woodard doing the first 5 pages as penciller/colourist and Simone Bianchi and Adriano Dall’alpi doing the rest of the issue in the same capacity. VC’s Joe Sabino does the letters, with Dale Kewon and Ive Svorcina turning out an amazing cover. In the third issue we have an alternation of the penciller/colourist teams and Simone Peruzzi joining the duo of Simone and Adriano. Additionally, the cover for this issue and the next is by Simone Bianchi. And for the fourth, Simone Bianchi and Lee Garbett do the pencils, with Bianchi, Riccardo Pieruccini and Garbett on inks, Dall’alpi and Woodard on colours and Sabino on the letters.
So as you can see, the art teams are a big jumble and there is often mixed art styles in each of the three issues. The good thing however is that though there is so much… artistic confusion, the art is still great in the end. Can’t really say more than that, but yeah, I loved the artwork here. I wouldn’t mind seeing the different pencillers on their own titles, to be honest!