MIGHTY THOR #701 BY JASON AARON, JAMES HARREN, AND DAVE STEWART
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
MIGHTY THOR #701 pits War Thor against the Mangog. It's an epic fight that takes up the whole issue. Unfortunately, there's not much else going in this story. James Harren and Dave Stewart add solid art, but this feels like buildup instead of an individual story.
82 %
Big Fight

MIGHTY THOR #701 features an epic battle between War Thor and Mangog. The fight is so massive, it takes up the majority of the issue. However, it makes the issue seem less like a new chapter, and more like something I know as a fan of professional wrestling — “feeding the monster,” i.e. making the bad guy look powerful so the hero is more impressive when they take them down.

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War Games

Writer Jason Aaron works hard to make the battle between War Thor and Mangog seem huge, and he succeeds. With the Ten Realms being attacked all at once, Aaron sculpts a massive battle. He uses the text to build the Mangog as a god-destroying force, which seems there for new fans unfamiliar with Mangog. The text boxes call the Mangog the ultimate embodiment of rage. However, Aaron makes sure the Mangog’s actions still speak volumes. This is a major part of “feeding the monster” — showing the villain as unstoppable.

MIGHTY THOR #701
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The art echoes the brutality of the fight. Guest artists James Harren and Dave Stewart create a gritty, dirty style that captures detail but still has a touch of sloppiness to it. It’s evident in the detailed bursts of lightning War Thor generates contrasting against the sometimes misshapen depictions of Mangog and War Thor. The two styles shouldn’t mesh, but here they echo two celestial beings having a knock-down fight. This goes into “feeding the monster” as well since monsters look strong taking down powerful opponents.

Aaron makes it a point to compare the two opponents as well. Mangog is the rage of a people slaughtered by Odin. War Thor exists because of the wartime slaughter of children. Both seek vengeance against injustice, but Mangog sees all gods as unworthy, while War Thor goes against evil in all forms. That difference both binds the two opponents and distinguishes them.

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Outside the Ring

MIGHTY THOR #701 does leave the battle from time to time. Realms like Vanaheim face the forces of Malekith, who is swiftly moving to conquer all. The most interesting area is Niflheim, where Karnilla meets with the undead Balder.

MIGHTY THOR #701
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

This scene comes across beautifully with the abundance of white and faded colors, creating a true shade of death. Karnilla and Balder share a (one-sided) passionate reunion until Malekith’s forces invade here too. It’s a fascinating scenario that we only get for a moment before going back to the fight.

Mangog is exceptionally brutal at the end of the fight, pounding War Thor bloody and even crushing his hammer. The problem is, the fight does become somewhat one-note. Mangog attacks, War Thor retaliates, they boast, and Mangog comes out unharmed. Though the fight is epic, it makes these other scenes a welcome break.

Malekith then appears, telling Mangog where other Asgardians can be found, and then finishing War Thor as he transforms back into Volstagg. Malekith awaits the gods’ destruction eagerly, but it reveals the main problem of the issue. The epic fight exists to “feed” Mangog in the story, making him seem more threatening by destroying another Thor en route to Jane Foster. It does the job, and newer fans may appreciate the showing of Mangog’s power. However, it seems odd for longtime fans who know the destruction the Mangog is capable of. It also limits the scope of the issue, though it keeps our attention nonetheless.

Post Match Commentary on MIGHTY THOR #701

In conclusion, MIGHTY THOR #701 functions as a one-note setup story. The story is told well and leaves doors open for some unique stories with other invaded Realms. However, it never escapes feeling like a piece of a bigger story, written to accentuate the future fight between Mangog and Jane Foster. Hopefully, that story will validate this one.

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