Batman Vol. 5: Zero Year -- Dark City

Collects Batman (2011) #'s 25-27, 29-33
by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

Batman's adventures continue in his so-called "zeroth" year of existence in Gotham City. This collection includes two storyarcs, the "Dark City" storyline which dovetails into "Savage City." Dark City introduces Dr. Death to the New 52-niverse, a mad scientist responsible for a bone growth serum meant to repair physical trauma. It's titled "Dark City" because of the Riddler's takeover of the electrical grid and subsequent blackout. Savage City sees the fallout from Dark City after a superstorm, in which the Riddler completes his takeover of Gotham City and isolates it from the rest of the world. There's a lot to unpack in the 8 issues, but that's the bare bones of it. Add in some prevalent flashbacks of Bruce Wayne as a child, and Bruce Wayne as a teenager, and there you have "Zero Year -- Dark City."

It's kind of outrageous how far they go in so few issues. The Riddler has an army of drones, a secret base that's jamming communication with the outside world, and even a pit of lions to dump his foes in. I know it's no less absurd than established narratives like Arkham City or No Man's Land but talk about scope creep -- the Riddler's done more in Batman's zeroth year than the Joker did in Volume 3, supposedly year six of the Batman's career! I know I complain that some storyarcs take too many issues to tell, but I think a huge storyline like Savage City would have benefited from more than 4 issues. To me, it was a Planet Hulk style story, and that story took 13 issues to tell.

Both stories are wrapped within the theme of "zero." It's here that you learn that the two featured villains are foils to Batman. There's a long exposition-y action scene where Dr. Death explains what the moon meant to him and his son, who tragically died on an army mission in the desert. Previously he pretended that the moon would watch over them both, but when his son was killed, he adopted a nihilistic view. The moon in the sky is empty, and the thought that it offered protection was an empty promise, giving Dr. Death a tragic origin. In his mind, you have to seize your own means of protecting yourself. This is at odds with what Bruce Wayne as Batman eventually learns over the course of the two stories. He gains allies in both Alfred and Lieutenant Gordon, knowing that he can't do what he wants for Gotham, alone.

What zero means for the Riddler is that, now that he's culled the weak from Gotham City after the superstorm, they all live in a shared year zero from which they can start the future and model a superior existence for the rest of the world, by....answering riddles. It's a little far-fetched, but if you've ever wanted to see the Riddler get his own terrorist city, look no further. 

Compare this to what zero means for Bruce Wayne. He was the man who came back to Gotham City, despite all of the things that's happened to it, and happened to him. Through "Secret City" he learned that he couldn't do it in secret. He needed to be both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Through "Dark City" he learned he couldn't do it alone. He needed to work together with his friends and the city's professionals. And through "Savage City" he put them all together. There's such an on-the-nose climax scene when Batman has to turn the power back on to the city, in order to prevent it from being bombed by the Federal Air Force. The Riddler has a battery pack hooked to his chest that signals the city's power grid. Bruce has to literally attach the battery to his chest and pump 1000V into it, bonding his heart with that of the city's, signaling that the city no longer belongs to the Riddler. He's literally given his heart to the city: it's the bat's now.

BONUS highlight: around the climax of Dark City, Batman has to take a leap of faith to make a 70-foot jump to the Riddler's blimp, when his grappling hook fires only up to 50 feet. He jumps, and the winds of the storm do the rest for him in an epic homage to Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns.

One more Miller homage: this time, explaining Alfred's motivations and his new understanding of the man that Bruce Wayne has become.

Volume 5 explores Batman's earliest year in a new way, re-introducing the allies we know he's come to gain, and giving a new take on a couple of his supervillains. It uses homage to legitimize the New 52-niverse and succeeds. I consider the first story stronger than the second but they both have their merits and are worthy additions to the New 52-niverse.

The Mighty Thor Vol. 4: The War Thor

The Mighty Thor Vol. 4: The War Thor
by Jason Aaron, Valerio Schiti, Russell Dauterman, and Mahmud Asrar
Collects The Mighty Thor (2015) #'s 20-23 and Generations: The Unworthy Thor & The Mighty Thor #1

War claims the realm of Nidavellir...the realm of the dwarves! The Dark Elf Malekith the Accursed's so-called war continues in the form of Muspelheim, land of fire, laying siege on Nidavellir. In previous volumes, Malekith conquered Alfheim, the realm of the Light Elves, spurring their voyage to Nidavellir to seek refuge. Unfortunately, it doesn't work out. Volstagg the Valiant and Jane Foster are visiting Nidavellir on a diplomatic trip when fire goblins swarm the hostel, burning all who stand in their wake with Maggot bombs.

The trauma leads Volstagg to claim the Mjolnir from a lost universe to become...the War Thor, a raging God of Thunder who thirsts only for blood. What follows is an all-out brawl between him, Queen Sindr of Muspelheim, and Thor and the unworthy Odinson join in as well.

This is a fun, engaging, and exciting read about war and friendship. Thor resolves it the only way that she can, and it's an inspiration. There's a Generations one-shot collected here as well, tying into the "Marvel Legacy" branding/numbering, and it's a gorgeous, hilarious time-travel story featuring Thors both Mighty and Teenage.

Current plots are respected along with running plotlines, like the ongoing War of the Realms, and Jane's struggle with her alter-ego. Previous stories of Mighty have made the setup so that you can see the payoff here with the War Thor, and I can't wait to read what's next.

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Original Sin and Wolverine: Weapon X

Original Sin
collects issues 0-8, and part of Point 1 (Watcher Story)
by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato 

A murder mystery in nine parts -- who killed the Watcher? He was a hokey character created back in the 60s' and his whole deal was that he watched all things in the universe, never to interfere. The 0th issue gives some background on his race with the context of Sam Alexander, the new Nova of the Marvel Universe. It's a great introduction to Uatu the Watcher with a surprising emotional resonance provided by Nova.

The eight issues show a host of different teams tasked with figuring out who killed Uatu. A police procedural of sorts. There's some headscratchers in there, pairing the Punisher with Dr. Strange, and Emma Frost with the Winter Soldier. A lot of it comes off as playing around with toys in the sandbox. And that's what most of it looks like. Mike Deodato draws pretty much everyone as action figures, and there's only two body types he does: barbie dolls and Ken dolls. Around the middle of it there's a bunch of needless "heroes bickering with each other", but the end result is a shocking -- shocking -- secret revealed about Nick Fury, one of Marvel's oldest characters.

It's a legitimate retcon of the character that sets up interesting new horizons for other characters. While it's like any other crossover event these days, a giant mess of issues that mash together heroes from all corners of the Marvel Universe all to set up a new status quo for everyone, it's this retcon that adds depth to Nick Fury and shines a different light on the character. Not an outstanding event, but it's grounded by this one secret and what it means to his friend, Captain America, when the people around him keep that secret from him. Since it's relatively new, I won't spoil it for people. But if you have a chance to borrow from the library, it doesn't hurt to pick it up. I don't think it needed all 8 issues, and the art isn't amazing. But you could do worse.

Bonus: the (awful) whisper scene that renders Thor unworthy.

If you're curious what he told him... here.

Wolverine: Weapon X
collects Marvel Comics Presents #72-84
by Barry Windsor-Smith

Just think, this story was originally told in 13 parts! Marvel Comics Presents was an anthology titled that was released every two weeks. I wonder how it read in serial format. Reading it all in one chunk, it's kind of hard to see why it needed so many parts. Add to that just how many times Wolverine's origin has been depicted in other media, and it seems almost superfluous to read this.

Still, this remains the definitive origin for Wolverine and I tried my best to read it that way. The plot itself is nothing new, for anyone familiar with the Fox era of X-Men movies. It's the storytelling that makes it unique. We're given Logan's point of view for only maybe a couple different issues. The bulk of the story is through the dialogue between three people: Dr. Cornelius, the man grafting the Adamantium onto Logan and studying him, his assistant Carol Hines, and the unnamed "Professor," responsible for commanding Logan and practicing his killing. They have this unstoppable killing machine, supposedly at their beck and call but really they're just trying to contain him and stay alive. They're meant to contain him, but really they can't. With some bonus gratuitous Logan booty.

While a key part of X-Men history, Weapon X is not really required reading, especially if you've seen any of the past half-century's worth of Wolverine origin stories.

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Batman: Knightsend

Batman: Knightfall Vol. 3 -- Knightsend
Collects Batman #509-510, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #29-30, Detective Comics #676-677, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #62-63, Robin #8-9, Catwoman #12-13 and Showcase '94 #10

There's a few different collections out there for the "Knightfall" saga, the Batman super crossover event from the 90's where Bane broke Bruce Wayne's back, and ushered in the arrival of a new Batman. I don't know if, at the time, they planned for the new Batman, Azrael or "Azbats" to take on the mantle of the Bat permanently, but Knightsend is the story of how Bruce Wayne reclaimed it. The mantle was getting a little too spiky, to be honest.

Jean-Paul Valley, the new Batman, continues to have visions of increasing intensity, of his deceased father and of St. Dumas and he chases a man who he believes is responsible for a gun-running scheme in Gotham -- only it's not that man at all. In parallel, Bruce Wayne hires the expert assassin Lady Shiva to train him and get his body back to what it used to be, to earn the right to be Batman again. Bruce Wayne's story is kind of a kung-fu-meets-urban-jungle kind of story.

It all leads up to a final confrontation on a Gotham City bridge between Azbats, Batman, Robin & Nightwing, Catwoman, as well as the criminal boss responsible for the gun-running. There's a whole lot of explosions, shouting and sharp edges, but the real payoff is the ending. It's a beautiful ending that shows you why Bruce Wayne is Batman. So many times, you see that might makes right. It's with force that you make the world make sense. But Bruce Wayne refuses to take that route in the final battle with Jean-Paul. He chases him down, and hounds him finally to the Batcave, where he leads him to the same tunnel that he fell in as a child. The tunnel is so small, Azbats has to shirk his armor off, and at the end of the tunnel, Bruce opens the way to the outside, blinding Jean-Paul Valley enough that he finally has to take off his Bat helmet. It's a reverse-birth of sorts. Bruce Wayne had to fall down that hole to become Batman. Jean-Paul has to climb up out of it to leave Batman, and his insanity. 

Visually, you're finally interrupted from all the colors, the red heat from Azbats' flamethrowers, the explosions and the shouting, when he climbs through that tunnel. It's a return to reality for Jean-Paul and a resolution that didn't need any fisticuffs. Easily my favorite part of the story.

You can binge-read this collection in a couple hours, and the art styles flow from one title to the next. Honestly, there wasn't much variety back then I suppose, but I'm always a sucker for Scott Hanna's inks. I'm not sure it needed so many issues to tell, but it's worth reading this piece of Batman history for yourself. Here's another, supplemental article that kind of gives you some insight into the whole series.

Here's the full, 9-page blinded-by-the-light sequence. SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY.

Read more about Knightfall:

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The Mighty Thor Vol. 3 and The Unworthy Thor

The Mighty Thor Volume 3: Asgard/Shi'ar War
by Jason Aaron, Steve Epting, Russell Dauterman and more

This third volume collects issues 13-19 of the 2015 The Mighty Thor, continuing Jane Foster's adventures as Thor when the original Thor became unworthy of his hammer, Mjolnir. There are two main stories: #'s 13-14 is a heist-style story where the League of Realms saves the Queen of the White Elves, Aelsa Featherwine from the clutches of the King of the Dark Elves. The rest of the volume is about a pair of Shi'ar gods who challenge the new Thor to a contest of godliness.

Unlike the first volume, the resolution to the first story is earned, and they do save the queen, but at a cost. Standard superhero fare with the tone hardly changed by the change of artists. The second story gets a little more creative: the gods of the Shi'ar, K'ythri and Sharra challenge Thor to a contest, to see who is a more notorious God. It results in the Gods calling down the "Ultimate Judgment," which is something you'll have to read for yourself. But it seems like it's Jason Aaron's way of crossing over with X-Men lore, to which he isn't a stranger. The contest itself is amusing, as you get to peer into just what exactly it means to be a God, at least a God of the Shi'ar.

It gets a little weird when you see the reason that the Shi'ar gods have challenged Thor. There's a flashback scene with Loki that somewhat belittles the current story as a diversion in service of what has been hyped up now for over 4 volumes: The War of the Realms. I'm OK with that scene for what it does for the story, but I disagree with the way it was told.

On the last few pages of the volume, Thor Odinson meets Thor, and returns to Asgard to dote on his comatose mother. Where has he been this whole time?? What a great time to dive into his 5-issue miniseries...

The Unworthy Thor
by Jason Aaron and Olivier Coipel

This five-issue miniseries shows what happened in the time between the Odinson's re-appearance in The Mighty Thor above, and when he originally became unworthy in the crossover event Original Sin, when Nick Fury whispered to him words that we never got to hear. In short: he spends a whole lot of time being depressed, drinking and getting in fights. And then he learns about another Mjolnir. A hammer so full of energy it shuttled itself from a dying world to land in his.

This story explains a lot of hanging threads, including what happened to the "Old Asgard," which I guess was a mystery from a previous plotline, as well as the secret phrase that made Odinson unworthy. It adds a helhound companion to the Odinson, a welcome addition, and basically it's a cosmic kidnapping story akin to Planet Hulk, that includes the Collector, Beta Ray Bill and even Thanos.

A compact, gorgeous-looking adventure story with Jason Aaron's signature deadpan humor. It fleshes out some of the Thor-niverse from the Odinson's point of view.

SPOILER ALERT: Here's what Fury said to Thor:

More Thor? I say thee...yea!
The Mighty Thor: Asgard/Shi'Ar War and The Unworthy Thor

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Trinity Volume 2: Dead Space

Trinity Volume 2: Dead Space
by Francis Manapul, Cullen Bunn, Clay Mann, Emanuela Lupacchino

Collecting issues 7-11 of the 2016 series. Issues 7-8 are "commercial break" issues, two separate done-in-ones presumably meant to set up future storylines. Issue 7 has the "evil" trinity of Lex Luthor, Ra's Al Ghul and Circe discovering the Pandora Pits and not much else. Issue 8 involves Superman talking with Batman and Wonder Woman about how he has dreams of fighting other versions of himself. It's basically a continuity circle-jerk that teases at an upcoming story that will somehow explain why there are so many reboots (maybe?). Either way, at least it resulted in this sweet spread:

Both issues are done gorgeously by Clay Mann and Emanuela, in their own unique styles. But it's the latter 3 issues that you really want to read here: "Dead Space," written, drawn, colored and covered by Manapul for nearly all 3 parts. That's nuts! Those two commercial breaks allowed him to really stretch his legs on this story. It's a whodunnit alien invasion story on the JLA Watchtower with the very Earth on the line...but with a twist! I gotta say, this was masterfully told with each issue peeling a different part of the puzzle.

When the trinity splits up on the Watchtower, they each have a different task uniquely suited to their abilities. It's Superman who has to get outside and slow the Watchtower's descent into Earth. Wonder Woman discovers the truth about the aliens on board the ship. And Batman has to take Cyborg down to the escape pods to reboot him and restart the Watchtower. Check out this dope layout as they're making their way down.

This is a great Justice League story with a focus on the DC trinity. In fact, some plot points are even contrived to focus on the trinity instead of the other JLA members, but the Flash gets a hilarious call-out. Manapul proves himself as a Renaissance man with this story and these characters, handling nearly everything to do with the comic book. He's certainly found his sea legs with the title by now. All I have left to show you are some highlights:

This is a moment in the first part, where the 3 are attacked by the new Green Lanterns, consumed by the alien parasites. They punch a hole in the Watchtower, and that single moment is blown up in an amazing two-page spread. Only two words per page, but comics gets to expand this moment and show us these actions that are happening so quickly. What an exciting use of the medium!

This is where you can tell Manapul is getting more comfortable with the characters. When Batman has no one to talk to while he's rescuing Cyborg, he starts joking with Cyborg himself. Prior to this, Batman was mostly getting one-word lines or grim/grumpy statements. Also you gotta love that cape in the first panel.
(Spoilers from here on out)

Just check out this spread from when Diana discovers the true nature of the aliens onboard. Each panel is a loop in her lasso of truth.

Eventually the trinity must land the watchtower, but in a graceful manner. Of all places, they stop it on top of a Lexcorp buiding in Mumbai, and a little "X" falls off the signage. Gotta love the attention to detail here.

In issue 9, before the Flash and Batman were separated, Batman made a last-minute effort to give him help...turns out it was candy bars! Just what the man needed. Barry snacking is adorable.

See you at Volume 3.

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Batman by Scott Snyder Vol. 4: Zero Year -- Secret City

Batman Vol. 4: Zero Year -- Secret City
by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV, Rafael Albuquerque and more

New 52's Batman continues with the line-wide "Zero Year" storylines...origin-style stories that give you a glimpse into the characters during their "0th" year. In Batman's case, Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City after being declared legally dead, now a 20-something adult in the midst of a takeover by the Red Hood Gang, a gang of people who supposedly "court the wolf" by committing random acts of crime and violence. Enter a young Bruce Wayne who'll stop at nothing to be a thorn in his side.
The story is layered here, but really it's one of redemption. At first, Bruce Wayne refuses to come out in the public and reveal that he's truly alive. His uncle Phillip Kane does that for him, as the acting CEO of Wayne Enterprises. Over time, you learn what makes this Bruce Wayne tick, and why he cares about Gotham City. He started out as an angry young man, driven by the single trauma he suffered as a little boy. That drive is still there; that anger too, but through the events of the story they're tempered into efficient weapons.

The script for issue 21 is given at the end of the collection, and it explains that this isn't meant to be a gritty "Year One" like Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli's noir classic. It's kind of crazy. Where "Year One" was dominated by grays and blacks, the final issue of this story is covered in reds and neon yellows of A.C.E. Chemicals and the morning sun. It's a new day for this Batman. Like I said when I read the first issue of New 52 Batman, this is a joyful Batman. And this Batman is just as real as any other ones. One of my highlights is during Bruce's debut with the batsuit. He strings up a gang of Red Hoods to create a bat icon on a billboard (also a gorgeous re-rendering of the cover of Batman's first appearance, Detective Comics #27). And he talks to the last one...
Pssst. Hey, you...come still needs a head.

Zero Year is an action-adventure story with hints of sci-fi, and you see that with the different tools that Bruce Wayne employs: magnetic boots that let him hang on the ceiling, grappling hooks strong enough to hoist a truck. Especially cool is one of Bruce's toys from his dad: his so-called "witch's eye," a 360-degree visual mapper that young Bruce accidentally carries with him down to the cave that he fell in. It makes for an utterly brilliant re-telling of the "I shall become a bat" scene, when the visual mapper turns on in the mansion during Bruce's most desperate hour.

In all, Zero Year is a story of hope. Bruce Wayne's story is a dark one: he lost his parents in an act of random violence, but he doesn't wallow in the darkness. He brings in the light and where the Red Hood Gang evokes fear for the sake of evil in Gotham City, he evokes fear for good. One of the back-up stories from Rafael Albuquerque conveys this perfectly. In one of his training sessions, the "Queen" who has been hired to train him continues to throw more and more men at Bruce Wayne. He defeats them, but doesn't kill them, a point that the Queen is trying to beat into him. Eventually, her men simply refuse to go into the pit. In the assistant's words:
I'm sorry. They just won't. They're scared of him, ma'am. They're AFRAID.
The Batman doesn't need to kill to make a point. Fear is just as good. My favorite collection of the series so far. Read them all with me:

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Truth: Red, White and Black

I looked around for a collected edition of this 7-issue miniseries by Robert Morales and Kyle Baker, but apparently they've never been collected! So the easiest way to access this story is via digital single issues. Fine by me.

Truth is a story from 2003 about the Super Soldier Serum project in America during WWII, in the 1940s. The traditional story is that Dr. Erskine engineered the super soldier serum and it worked perfectly on Steve Rogers -- only for Erskine to be assassinated and his serum to die with him, making Steve the first Super Soldier and the last Super Soldier. Most of that's still true. But before it worked perfectly on Steve Rogers, it was experimented on, with a battalion of African American soldiers. Truth is their story.

We follow a few different black Americans: Isaiah Bradley, a teenage newlywed who leaves his pregnant wife to join the draft, Maurice Canfield, one of New York's black elite and Sgt Lucas Evans, among others. Through them, we get to see the world and learn what racism was like in the 1940s. Truthfully, I had to look up some of the slurs myself although I doubt that they are all that obscure. From the overt to the covert, it's just a way of life. From the way they're the ones who have to clean the latrines, to being  herded like animals to a secret location for the next part of the project. 

By the fourth issue Isaiah breaks out as the heart of the story. When Steve Rogers is held up in the Pacific due to a monsoon, it's up to Isaiah to destroy Nazi Germany's own super-soldier camp in Schwartzbitte. When he gets captured by Hitler, the dictator actually makes him an offer: join the Nazis to fight his American oppressors.

It's a hilarious reaction that immediately humanizes him. A life-changing offer and the first thought is his wife's opinion. It's around here that you learn: the same thing that makes Steve Rogers Captain America, is what makes Isaiah Bradley this Captain America.

The rest of the story jumps between the past, in Isaiah's time in the 40's, and the present, in modern-day America where Steve Rogers is first learning that Isaiah even existed. Steve tracked down the original suit that Isaiah wore, yet he hasn't been able to find Isaiah. What happened to him in Hitler's bunker? Is Isaiah still alive? Cap himself goes through a history lesson with us, and it's never boring. Even when a character gives exposition, it doesn't feel superfluous. I learned about actual real world events like the Red Ball Express, the Red Summer of 1919, and the Tuskegee Experiments. Coupled with Isaiah's story, it makes it feel that much more real.

I have to warn you, this is a heavy comic. The story takes a turn when Isaiah encounters a gas chamber  in Schwartzbitte, for example. It almost has to be counterbalanced with the newspaper strip-style cartooning from Kyle Baker. He channels Kirby when he likes, and takes some shortcuts by omitting backgrounds. But he always nails the emotion in the characters, and doesn't add noise to the story. This is a page-turner that reads super-smooth with Kyle's unobtrusive, to-the-point art. I know I complain a lot about how some stories don't need so many issues to tell. But for this story, I think that every issue was important. I wouldn't read it any other way.

BONUS and also kind of a spoiler: [When Captain America sees that Isaiah did survive and make it back to the US, he sees what kind of life Isaiah had. Goofy cartooning gives way to realistic caricatures for a beautiful moment. Isaiah did get to have a life outside of the war; he met all these celebrities, and it helps you see past the tragedy of everything else.]

I learned about this series from episode 2 of the Disney+ series, Falcon and the Winter Soldier. In that episode, Isaiah is portrayed mostly as a tragic character, though there are some details that you couldn't exactly fit into a few minutes of a television scene! It's uplifting to see that the source material has a somewhat different ending for Isaiah.

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The Mighty Thor Volumes 1 and 2: Thunder in Her Veins and Lords of Midgard

Volume 1 collects the first 5 issues of the 2015 series, and Volume 2 collects the next 6-12 issues, by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman and more. After Thor made her debut in the 8-issue Thor, she continues her adventures with her identity unknown to anyone, enraging King Odin of Asgard who cloisters away on his throne while the 10 realms bicker among themselves.

Similar to the initial issues of Jason Aaron's Thor, there's a whole lot of events, but not much of a cohesive story. Plotlines in the first five issues include the war of the elves, the trial of Lady Freyja, and the civil war of Asgard, but they're all written over with some deus-ex-machina-esque conclusion. They don't get the pagetime they deserve, and that's a shame. I guess there's the argument to be made that sometimes that's just how plots do resolve; sometimes it's that quick and easy. So then why even bring them up as a story?

You can expect all the other things that the team has delivered before: epic space battles, Shakespearean humor, gorgeous art, and cat-head Loki (!). Thor even uses a storm to prevent nuclear holocaust in Alfheim! But to read these five issues by themselves is not a satisfying experience. If you're reading this sight unseen, better off to just read the whole 12 together.

Issues 6-7 of Volume 2 are a bit of a reprieve, where Loki aligns with another person in Malekith's "Dark Council." It's a nice break with a "story within a story" that sets up a battle to come for Thor. Presented without context:

The main story of Volume 2 is the "Agger Imperative." It's named after the CEO of Roxxon Enterprises and it's the fallback scheme should someone attempt a corporate takeover of his business. Namely... If he can't have Manhattan no one else can! When the Silver Samurai and the Exterminatrix attempt to kill Agger, they trigger the Imperative and put all of New York at risk, and it's up to Thor and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Roz Solomon to stop it. Along with... Dr. Jane Foster?! It's an exciting race against time with a hilarious cheesy subplot of the two S.H.I.E.L.D agents tasked with finding the identity of the new Goddess of Thunder. It ends in a critical reveal to Agent Solomon, of Thor's secret identity.

The twelfth issue is another "break" that tells the origin of Mjolnir of old Asgard. A look back that helps you look forward and worth the read. Volume 2 is a stronger read that earns its resolution and progresses the tale of Roxxon on Earth, of the War of the Realms in Asgard, and of the Goddess of Thunder.

One more thing: it gets a little annoying to see very obviously Tom Hiddleston in the art. I know he's a hugely popular version of the character, but it's highly dissonant to see that face in this medium and just pulls me out of the story.

More Thor? I say thee...yea!

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