Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor - Volume 9 Hardcover – Nov 24 2010
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this set, we get the handoff of Jack Kirby to John Buscema and (briefly) Neal Adams. Kirby's artwork gets an assist (?) from the legendary Bill Everett's inks. They're not Sinnott, but they're way better than Colletta.
As to our bad guys, we get the conclusion to the Ringmaster tale, some Destroyer-lite named Crypto-Man, then Loki steals the super-duper Odin ring from Odin (while he's in his "do-not -disturb-me-or-the world-will-die-Odinsleep").
Now Loki is boss, leading to a multi-issue story where Thor has to fight Surtur the flame giant, and save Asgard.
Which he can't. Odin then wakes up, snaps his finger, and Surtur disappears into a big crevice.
John Buscema stops by on #178, but his pencils are weakened by Coletta's inks. They just look unfinished. The Abomination and the Stranger show up to whale on Thor. Thor and Sif get a little mushy too.
Kirby does #179, where Loki makes himself Thor, and makes Thor Loki.
Neal Adams does #180 and #181. I'm an Adams fan, bar none, but Sinnott is not the inker for him. Still way better than the previous ishes. Great full page Odin shot. Odin (who's a pretty irritating pompous guy, by the way) is SO powerful he can't even tell that Loki is Thor and vice-versa. He sends "Loki" to Hades, where he meets up with Mephisto, who apparently more in touch than Odin, 'cause he picks up on the whole switcheroo right away.
The volume ends with a cool two-parter with Doctor Doom, done by Buscema. Love the whole "Dr. Blake, plastic surgeon" thing.
Odin, again, gets huffy with Thor, He wants Thor to go to "The Great Beyond"; Thor is busy saving our little Earth from Doom's totalitarianism...no biggie, right? The story ends with Thor flying back to Asgard...ready for Volume 10!
The first reason was editorial. Marvel decided to mandate "complete in one issue" stories at the time the first issues in this collection hit the racks. Although the results weren't horrible this really didn't give Lee and Kirby enough scope. The stories are set entirely on earth which was not Thor's strength by this time. Also the number of panels per page had gone done by this time further constricting the plots. Fortunately, the "complete in one issue" mandate was ended after the first two issues.
The second reason was Jack Kirby leaving the title. Although John Buscema and Neal Adams were well up to Kirby standards artistically, Kirby's skill at plotting was sorely missed. Sloppy plotting and inconsistencies began to creep into the stories. Notably, in the final story where Thor is fighting Dr. Doom, Thor's hammer remains a hammer instead of reverting to a walking stick after being out of Thor's hand for over a minute. This was a major blunder since the plot hinged on this point.
The book can still be recommended for Silver Age fans. Thor would eventually go on to greater heights but this collection is a valley. Production values are at the usual high standards. Eleven issues makes for a thin book but there are a few extras: a Tales of Asgard reprint special cover, an unused cover, and a house ad. The Introduction by Will Murray is average.