Marvel’s Original Sin event is now over, and with it are the tie-in mini-series Iron Man vs Hulk and Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm. Of the two, I enjoyed the latter far more, right out of the gate, and it showed a lot of promise as well. That was compounded when it was revealed that next month the current Thor would no longer be Thor and that there would be a new Thor, a woman this time. So that was something I expected to unfold in this series, and the setup was definitely there. But then, the series started to falter a bit, though it was still a fun read and the finale was something I was looking forward to .
Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5 is quite possible one of the most disappointing comics of this year, almost on par with how Batman: Zero Year ended up after such a great start. With the cliffhanger of the last issue, I expected things to go really big, really epic, but nothing of the sort happened. Odd character moments and a weak script combined with art that failed to live up to the promise, and I was just saddened by the time the issue ended. Nothing exciting happened here and the pacing was all over the place. Sad, sad example of promising mini-series turning to dust.
The biggest problem of this issue is that the timing of the entire series is unclear. It takes place between Original Sin #3 and Original Sin #6 (or maybe #7?) since by the end of this finale issue Thor stills wields Mjolnir whereas in the respective issues of the main event series he has already lost the ability to lift it, let alone use it. This could all just be down to some kind of miscommunication between writers Jason Aaron (on Original Sin and consulting on The Tenth Realm) and Al Ewing, or just a lack of proper effort, but it still jarred.
And my main problem here is that there is so much damn handwaiving in this issue. Angela’s origins as a member of the Angels of Heven are explained here, and I’m surprised at how clueless the Queen of Angels is about all of it. Did I read any of it wrong? I hope not, because the way it all read was that the Queen is simply a clueless moron, rather than a leader of her people. And Odin himself, or even Thor? One can see what the other cannot, blinded by some kind of weird hatred and bias. Even lack of knowledge. Just what the hell was going on here, I have no idea.
This series had a lot of potential. I expected the revelation of Angela being Thor’s blood-sister to come out much earlier since Marvel had already broken the news months ago, right when the first issue came out. But the series just dragged on and on. It was frustrating in a way since we had to watch a mystery unfold that we already knew of. AL Ewing did a commendable effort getting this far, but then lost i all here. It could be said that Marvel horribly miscalculated their promotion for the big round of changes to its heroes next month, and thus jumped the gun, but eh.
The final moments of this issue, they are good in so far as Thor and Loki’s characterisations are concerned, but beyond that, this is an issue that does not work at all. Even the older, evil Loki who makes a cameo in the series was extremely lackluster, and he was the biggest waste here.
Once again, there is a shake-up in the art team on this title. Simone Bianchi, Lee Garbett, Szymon Kudranski and Marco Checchetto are all credit with the art, with Riccardo Pieruccini on additional inks and Adriano Dall’alpi, Nolan Woodard and Paul Mounts on colours and VC’s Joe Sabino on letters. First off, I really don’t get what the idea was behind so many artists in this series, especially this issue. Is this a case of Marvel’s 2-week interval on event comics proving to be a bad thing for artists? It sure feels like that. Because there really is no reason why a more limited art team can’t put out five issues by itself. In this issue, this big jumble hurt the reading experience more than it has previously and I find myself once again disappointed.