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Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson, Vol. 1 (Thor Visionaries)

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,415 ratings  ·  50 reviews
It was a time of magic... Few people have ever left their mark on one character quite the way Walter Simonson has. His work on the Mighty Thor swept the Norse God of Thunder to heights never before seen and rarely achieved in his wake. Spanning epic tales of heroism and treachery, love and war, Simonson's work is often considered the definitive Thor. From the majesty and m ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 14th 2009 by Marvel (first published May 1st 2001)
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Over the years I've heard time and again about Walt Simonson's legendarily regarded Thor run - held up so often as among the best work ever committed for this bigger-than-life character. And I'm about to shit on the first collected volume of it. Let's begin.

Hey, comic book nerd here. Hate to break it to ya Walt but you've left a gaping logic hole in your storytelling here. To wit: when Thor is approaching Earth on Beta Ray Bill's spaceship and "without my hammer in my hand, I've reverted to my B
Winter of 1983. I was a full-grown and mature thirteen (13) year old. That is what I believed anyway. By this point, I had put all the things of childhood behind me - even my beloved D&D mostly - to focus on grown up things: sports, music, girls, and cars. Not necessarily in that order. This meant the days of me sitting around reading comics was over. Forever! Sure, I still ran an eye over the comic rack at the local gas station or the bookstore at the mall, but other than just looking at th ...more
I read this as part of an attempt to learn more about Thor, since I've liked him so much in the Marvel movies. I'd read something like a few pages with Thor beforehand, and I don't know terribly much about Norse mythology, so I don't really have any preconceived notions. So I'm happy to report that this was really good reading.

If there's one thing I expected going into Thor, it was that the language would be intentionally and archaically formal. It's what one does with Thor, after all. And here'
Thor Visionaries Volume One covers one of the greatest periods in Thor’s little corner of the Marvel Universe, issues #337-#348. I read them when they first came out, and they are all packed away in mylar bags and comic boxes in my office. I was pretty stoked to have them all in this Graphic Omnibus edition, and for the most part they didn’t disappoint. Here are my highs, mediums and lows.

Thor Visionaries: Top Ten -- The Awesomeness

1. Balder the Brave – The best story arc of the Omnibus, we se
Thor meets noble alien Beta Ray Bill, loses his Donald Blake persona permanently, fights Fafnir the dragon, meets an old Viking, is seduced by Lorelei, and uncovers a plot by Malekith to use the Casket of Ancient Winters to release his master.

This was more interesting than the collection that follows (which I read first) due to the issues introducing Beta Ray Bill and the showdown with Malekith, who I'm familiar with from Thor: The Dark World. I'm pretty curious to know what was going through Si
Aug 03, 2007 Paul rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Comic Afficionados
Shelves: graphic_novels
So many a reviewer will agree in saying that Walt Simonson's run on The Mighty Thor contained epic arcs that rival those of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Other reviews may suggest that Simonson's attention to detail and the ready hybrid of actual Norse with the classic Marvel contemporary super hero mythology made for a mix that surpassed the Lee/Kirby originals.

Whereas that may be a cyclical, unending debate, what is non-debatable is the fact that this collection of Simonson's initial run on The Mi
DAS ist Thor!

Wer chronologisch die Abenteuer Thors miterlebt hat, oder sich beispielsweise vor diesem Band die Essentials von Marvel gelesen hat (was sehr empfehlenswert ist!), wird hier sein blaues Wunder erleben. Simonson hat Thor praktisch neu erfunden - weg ist die Pseudoidentität Don Blake, die eh nur für melodramatische Herzschmerz-Seitenstories diente, weg ist dieses schmierige Pathos, das den 70er-Jahre-Thor teilweise unlesbar machte. Simonsons Thor ist nicht mehr in erster Linie ein Mit
An excellent start to a classic run. Simonson establishes a new status quo from the start, setting up a competitor to the titular god, a new secret identity and a menacing, growing threat. The last continues to develop as Thor works through several subplots, including a dragon returned to life, a romance at home and a long-running battle with the dark elves.

This sounds pretty high-fantasy, but Simonson does a great job establishing the grandeur of his Norse gods while maintaining their essential
The beginning of the Simonson Saga. Not as strong as other volumes, but a great start nonetheless, in setting up all the action to follow. Great art, storytelling, and classic pacing add up to a winner, and a great place to start Thor.
Scott Lee
This was a lot of fun. Simonson does the tremendous job with Thor that reputation attributes to him. A deeper story that constantly builds the threat of a world/universe threatening evil in the background running behind clever fun action in each issue. The characterization of Thor and others is spot on, and I'd totally forgotten his version of Balder the Brave a fascinating aspect of these issues. I love it whenever Thor can make use of more specific bits of Norse Mythology than character/creatu ...more
Alex Sarll
Because when a great storm approaches, it is only sensible to seek audience with its lord.
The first twelve issues of Simonson's lauded Thor run stand up pretty well all these years later, despite the changes in writing style in comics since (there's too much exposition, though Simonson's better on this than many other eighties writers, and there are too many concessions to the casual reader--e.g. a note translating "Midgard" as "Earth" every time it appears). Crucial changes in the Thor mythos, including the discarding of the whole Don Blake alter ego and a far more explicitly Norse- ...more
If you were to compare mainstream comic books (DC and Marvel) between the 80s and 90s, the 80s – in my humble opinion – would come out with flying colors. And Walter Simonson’s run on Thor, of which this is the first of four volumes collecting that, rivals John Byrne’s epic run on Fantastic Four. Although Simonson’s story-telling technique has been overshadowed by the more modern Bendis-like style of limited narration in favor of dialogue only, revisiting the God of Thunder’s adventures under Si ...more
Aug 19, 2010 Sophie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: comics
Do you know that feeling when you open a book and read the first page and you just now, deep down in your gut, that you're going to love this? And you make sure you are in the right place when you start reading, so you settle down properly and then turn the pages half-frantically, half-in awe?

I had this with books like The Neverending Story when I was a kid, and I had it with the first volume of JMS' Thor back in March this year, and I sure as hell had it with this book.

The stories collected in
Walt Simonson taking over the Thor book marked a major shift in the character and the stories. While the bombastic dialogue and overwrought reactions didn't go away entirely (and there are some over-the-top past the Moon moments throughout this book), the speech patterns of all of the characters were streamlined and mostly stripped of the cod-Shakespearean dialect, even if characters still tend to speechify to a horrifying degree. The story focus shifted much more to the cosmic, the long-standin ...more
Let's just make one thing clear: I DO NOT rate/think barely any comics warrant a 5-star rating. And this did.

Walter Simonson is a fabulous writer - each character's voice was unique (loved the Nick Fury/Thor foil of language especially), and the humor was perfectly placed. What I appreciated most about this volume and Simonson's narrative was how minor characters- who are initially narrated as weak or flawed- become an important piece of the story, and although weak, he is able to show the true
Kristen Northrup
Some friends were recently discussing how this series is a highlight of both Simonson's career and of the Thor title so I decided to try it.

The art was less distinctively Simonson than it is today, which was disappointing but not surprising. It's still quite good, of course, especially for being from the 80s. Often in books from this era, the hair and clothing styles are distractingly dated, but Simonson kept things more generic. And the coloring is much better than your average 80s book from DC
Kevin Mann
This Simonson run covered in this TPB happened during the years i was away from collecting comics, so i missed it until now. I returned to "the hobby" a few years ago and Before buying this i had heard the hype about Simonson Thor and how great it supposedly was and i made a note to eventually check it out. The timing of this re-release was highly fortuitous! I bought it and then ignored it for a year. Lol. ---I finally read the entire thing in a few sittings and am happy to report that for once ...more
After watching the second Thor movie I did some soul and comic searching to find great Thor story lines that should have been made into a movie. I didn't need to look further than my childhood. This gorgeous collection feels like a masterwork of a writer and artist on top of his game. It looks great and feels like the right blend of where this hero belongs and a story that needed to be told blending the everyday of our world (Midgard) with the over the top glory and terror of Asgard.
Walter Simonson wrote the definitive Thor run. This is the book by which all Thor stories since have been measured. He introduced the idea of someone else being worthy to wield Mjolnir, in this case the alien Beta Ray Bill. He did a lot to cement Sif's status as a warrior, as fierce and capable in battle as any man. He created a memorable and entertainingly demented villain in Malekith. And he kept multiple compelling storylines all running at once. His characterization was excellent, and made t ...more
I finally got to read the story from the beginning. I remember picking up Thor for the first time and getting pulled right into the middle of this epic. Still great after all these years. Its the first Thor I was introduced to and what I compare to all the others (even from Norse myth). I like the idea of multiple Ragnarok's and the Norse pantheon being reborn into the Marvel world.

I wasn't totally blown away by it since I was familiar with the story already, so I'm not sure if I can fairly rate
When I think of Thor, I find that I'm actually thinking of Walter Simonson's run. Don't get me wrong, JMS had an great run on the title. But Simonson's tenure as the scribe for the Thunderer made Thor more compelling for me as a kid growing up, in a way that I can't begin to fully explain. Simonson is the standard by which I compare all tales of Thor.

This covers some of those tales, two arcs in fact. The first deals with Beta Ray Bill, while the second is the Twilight Sword and features Malekit
Not bad, but I'm still not a Thor convert. A couple of really good bits, a lot of fluff. Mind, Thor's one of the few characters where Stan Lee can really get away with grand expanses of language! Just doesn't suit anyone else.
As almost always I’m not reading the trade paperback of these, but the original monthly comics. I no longer have the issues I had from the 80s, so I searched around for these upon desiring a reread.

As a kid I pretty much only read Spider-Man. Sometime around high school I branched out and tried different comics. This was one of them and one of the best.
Issues 337-348 (from 1983 & 1984), the first year of Walt Simonson’s run as writer and artist (only occasionally being inked by others) if
It was alright but I just wasn't fascinated by it. I liked Balder's arc but found myself quite bored by the rest. I completely understand the praise and the appeal of Simonson's run, it just wasn't my thing.
Sam Poole
Funny and dense. Accessible and exciting but not quite as amazing as I was hoping for. Will finish the rest tho. Love beta ray bill!
I'm not really a big Thor fan, but Walt Simonson's work on the title is truly thrilling. I've never seen the book done better.
A huge cast of characters schemes and double-crosses their way through this volume, and Our Hero is the only guy too dumb or too noble to play the game. Simonson balances self-contained stories and the much longer arc in such a way that individual issues are satisfying reads (something you don't often get with today's decompressed mainstream comics), but they still feel like they are building to something bigger and better. Excited to read the next volume of Simonson's run.
Jun 09, 2014 e added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
came for probably my favorite incident of loki being a profound asshole in issue 344, stayed for beta ray bill!
A wonderful story from a traditionally overwrought era of comic books. Was going to give this a 4 but a cameo by Clark Kent bumps it up to a 5.
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Walter "Walt" Simonson is an American comic book writer and artist. After studying geology at Amherst College, he transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 1972. His thesis project there was The Star Slammers, which was published as a black and white promotional comic book for the 1974 World Science Fiction Convention in Washington, D.C. (DisCon II). Some years later, he prod ...more
More about Walter Simonson...

Other Books in the Series

Thor Visionaries (6 books)
  • Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson, Vol. 2
  • Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson, Vol. 3
  • Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson, Vol. 4
  • Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson, Vol. 5
  • Thor Visionaries: Mike Deodato Jr.
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