THE MIGHTY THOR #703 by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson
THE MIGHTY THOR #703 is one of the best comics to have been released in a long time. With a fantastic cast of well-rounded characters and some of the best fight scenes in modern comics, this story needs to be on your shelf yesterday!
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The last several years haven’t been good to the God of Thunder. Thor has seen some of his/her best stories in that time, but the lives of Thor Odinson and Jane Foster have been turned upside down. Having lost his hammer and part of his identity, the Odinson has traveled the ten realms in search of his former worthiness. Meanwhile, war has broken out between these realms, and Jane Foster finds herself smack dab in the middle. Having to forego her cancer treatments, Jane’s mortal body has withered to the point of dying. And as we learn in THE MIGHTY THOR #703, if Jane becomes Thor ever again, her life will be over.

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After passing out in the middle of Odin’s court, Jane Foster finds herself in a New York City hospital. Presided over by her closest friends, Jane agrees to have a magical examination performed by Dr. Strange. Through various spells, he learns quickly that the very thing giving her powers is slowly allowing the cancer to kill her. Meanwhile, on Asgardia, the Mangog has arrived ready for war. After leaving Heimdall nearly dead, the only hope comes from All-Mother Freya and the Destroyer armor.

War and Medicine

Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

THE MIGHTY THOR #703 is one of the best comics I have read in a long time. The current run on the series, written by Jason Aaron, has done an astounding job of balancing the many twisting story threads. Several characters make important appearances in this story. While certain small moments feel rushed, the big, hard-hitting moments are tantalizingly slow. After writing the Thors for so long now, Jason Aaron knows the characters. Now, he’s a kid in a sandbox, throwing his toys around in the best possible way. This story is equal parts fun and intensely serious, and comic book readers can’t ask for much more than that.

THOR: GOD OF THUNDER: When Gods Walk Among Us

The reason this story works so well comes from the dichotomy of Asgardia and Midgard. The moments in New York are slow, drawn out to drill in the intensity. For anyone who has had a lengthy stay, they know minutes can feel like hours in those little white rooms, and Aaron plays on that inherent tension nicely. Meanwhile, Asgardia sees an entirely different brand of intensity, a bloody, terrifying assault by a terrifying monster. By bouncing between these two plots, Aaron gives himself the opportunity to play into both narrative and characterization, giving us a deeply well-rounded experience.

Who are the Gods of Thunder?

Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

THE MIGHTY THOR #703 succeeds most, though, in its portrayal of Jane Foster. This in itself is an interesting achievement, considering that she barely has any dialogue on this issue. I suppose much of this stems from the friends that surround her in her time of need. While we don’t necessarily get any analysis of Falcon, Roz Solomon, or Dr. Strange, we do get to see them interacting with Jane. By seeing how much they care, we, in turn, discover the most likable aspects of Jane Foster. Simultaneously, we also learn how dangerously committed she is to the war in Asgardia. When she is willing to sacrifice her life for a group of gods and elves, we know exactly what type of person she is.

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I am a bit dissatisfied with the portrayal of the Asgardians. I do understand that with a wartime narrative like this there simply isn’t time for characterization. It is great to see Freya taking charge and rushing into battle in place of her husband. Also, Cul, the god of Fear, shaking in his boots during the battle is hilarious to watch. However, this is a plot-heavy section that serves up the battlefront and center. I may have wanted a little more character interaction in the trenches, but what we get is just enough not to pull our focus away from the terrifying Mangog.

The Color of Lightning

Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

Russell Dauterman’s work on THE MIGHTY THOR over the last several months has been nothing short of brilliant. I find an uncanny devotion to realism in his work, which is odd to say in the context of a superhero narrative. However, the only people in THE MIGHTY THOR #703 that look “superhuman” are the Asgardian gods. Dauterman’s portrayal of Jane Foster illness is scarily accurate to true cancer treatment, and Roz, Dr. Strange and even Falcon simply look like regular people. In a world saturated with Michelangelo-esque ideal anatomy, it’s nice to see a comic that explores more than that single body type.

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Much of the success of the dichotomy in this issue comes from colorist Matthew Wilson’s work. When we trade locations from New York City to Asgardia, we get a very obvious palette swap. Asgardia is doused in heavily saturated bright colors, giving it an intensely otherworldly feel. New York, on the other hand, is full of desaturated grays and greens. In fact, the most saturated thing in that hospital room is the Unworthy Thor, another god. This color scheme does a fantastic job pointing our minds in the right direction and setting the tone.

Final Thoughts: THE MIGHTY THOR #703

If you are a THOR fan, pick up THE MIGHTY THOR #703. If you are a fan of the Marvel universe, pick up THE MIGHTY THOR #703. Even if you are a fan of just damn good storytelling, THE MIGHTY THOR #703 and its predecessors need to be on your shelf. Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson have put so much heart into this story. With brilliant characters and some of the best fight scenes in modern comics, this is a must-read.

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