THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1 by Ralph Macchio, Todd Nauck, and Rachelle Rosenberg
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1 is not for every reader. It's campy aesthetic and beautiful cartoony art style makes this story a perfect gateway for young readers and a great story for those wanting some Silver Age nostalgia. However, there is little grit for other readers.
83 %
Campy Fun
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No one regrets the collapse of the Comics Code Authority. While the organization had the best intentions, their stringent rules held comic book writers from exploring the full depths of their creativity. However, despite their presence, the Silver Age of Comics are admired for their over-the-top and iconic storylines. While the grit and introspective zeal didn’t exist, readers were treated to stories that defined the entire superhero genre. The camp and generic fun of these titles inspired an entire generation of writers to pick up their pens and take to the medium. While those days are gone, the ideals of the era still pop up briefly in our favorite stories. THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1 is a perfect example of this return to Silver Age basics.

Revisiting Thor (2011)

THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1 is a standalone tale written by Ralph Macchio and drawn by Todd Nauck. There is also a short story included near the end, taken directly from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original run with the character. The latter won’t be discussed at length in this review, but it should be noted that fans of comic book history should swoon. The story is the first instance of Thor and Hulk fighting each other, and with their upcoming clash in THOR: RAGNAROK, it makes this entire comic far more worth your attention.

Frozen War

WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS
Courtesy of Marvel Comics

When Frost Giants kill Kallum’s father, the young boy swears revenge on the icy monsters. However, this fight is much larger than one young boy or even one young god. Set in the God of Thunder’s past, THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1 details an ancient war between the Asgardians and the Frost Giants. Frost Giant King Ymir’s forces have raided Asgard time and again, taking advantage of Odin’s absence. Thor and his elder brother Tyr have led their armies against the Giants, but have only managed to hold them at bay.

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Young, brash Thor has had enough of the war and decides to end it on his own terms. Going to Jotunheim, Thor solely assaults a Frost Giant war party defending an odd, mechanical tower. As reinforcements arrive, King Ymir captures Thor and takes him to the dungeons. When the Warriors Three venture to rescue their friend, Ymir also captures them. Now, the only person left to save them is Kallum, a child with a big heart and an even deeper desire to be a hero.

The Thunder’s Folly

WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS
Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Reading THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1 caught me in an interesting loop. The plot twists and turns constantly, taking the reader through parts bold and kind of campy. The story feels like a Silver Age story, with all of the tongue in cheek humor and Stan Lee-esque monologues in tow. On that front, it totally nails its aesthetic. I enjoyed every kitschy story beat in its fullness, from Thor’s blatant arrogance to the Warriors Three’s bumbling about Jotunheim.

However, most of THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1’s success comes from its singular nature. This is a fun, one-shot narrative, and for a lot of fans, that will satisfy. However, throughout, I couldn’t help but want more. For readers on the current runs of MIGHTY THOR and THE UNWORTHY THOR, you might feel disappointed that this has nothing to do with the current continuity. This is meant to be a momentary short story, and that has merit. And for what it’s worth, I did enjoy my experience. However, fun only goes so far. There’s no true crunch behind this story, and with the wealth of great THOR stories out there, this falls to the bottom of the list.

Praising Youth

Though the plot suffered from its campy nature, the characterization and themes of this story soared. Thor and the Warriors Three, while not their present badass selves, have clear motivations that inform their characters, and the dialogue between them actually made me laugh out loud. I also appreciated the newfound focus on the more obscure Marvel versions of Norse characters. I haven’t seen Tyr’s character mentioned in years, and his appearance here lends the story enough grit to make it worthy of a second read.

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Standing most in the spotlight, though, is our young protagonist Kallum. Kallum’s character, while steeped in tropes dating back to Hamlet, felt well-rounded and realistic. It does feel rather strange that this pre-teen wishes to rush into a war. However, it makes complete sense in the context of his father’s death and the Norse view of worth stemming from combat. As a kid, climbing into Volstagg’s saddlebag seems like the most rational thing for Kallum to do, even though it is an obvious mistake. Still, he manages to save the day when the gods fail. Kallum gives this story an interesting young protagonist who can inspire young readers everywhere, and in his character, I find the most potential. Macchio wholly directs this story toward a younger audience. In a retail atmosphere filled with Punishers and Deadpools, it shines for that reason.

Frosty Times

Thor: Where Walk the Frost Giants #1
Courtesy of Marvel Comics

While Kallum and the Asgardians share some interesting characterization, the Frost Giants do not facilitate much interest. As I said, this feels like a story for kids, so the villains need to fit a bit more of a black-and-white morality spectrum. However, there doesn’t seem to be any motivation behind these lumbering monsters. They are going to war with Asgard for seemingly no reason, just another in an endless string of battles.

This is where Todd Nauck steps in with his beautifully stylized approach to the medium. Nauck’s art leaps off the page, looking like the best Saturday morning cartoons. The characters are dripping with little details, and yet he manages to draw the reader’s eyes perfectly around the page. This story speaks of imagination and will draw the minds of nearly every reader. Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg puts her own stamp on this story, aiding the cartoonized style with bright colors that pop.

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In regard to the Frost Giants, Nauck sets them apart from every modern interpretation. The blue-skinned monsters of the MCU don’t walk through Jotunheim. The Frost Giants lumber around their home as giant, icy snowmen with gaping black mouths. Part terrifying, part cute, Nauck’s interpretation of these important Thor villains is wholly unique.

Final Thoughts on THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1

To be quite fair, THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1 is not for every reader. The campy, kitschy nature gives this story a nominal and nostalgic appeal. Some readers may find it difficult to jump into. However, the art by Nauck and Rosenberg simply sings off the page. I enjoyed my time with THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1. Yet, it is not a story I will be returning to for many repeat reads. However, it is a perfect gateway story for young readers. The language and young protagonist give this comic a greater appeal than many others in the medium. THOR: WHERE WALK THE FROST GIANTS #1 may not be a perfect story, but it has enough merit to warrant your consideration.

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