I really wanted to love this; Natasha is probably my favorite superhero, and all of the advance buzz made this title sound like exactly my kind of a g...moreI really wanted to love this; Natasha is probably my favorite superhero, and all of the advance buzz made this title sound like exactly my kind of a good time. Sadly, reality hasn't lived up to expectation. The dialogue is frequently banal, Natasha's monologues cliched and boring, and the story much less involving than it should be. There's a mystery developing that may go in interesting directions, but it hasn't gotten there yet. Edmondson earns points for getting some key aspects of Natasha's characterization right, though, including her ability to manipulate situations to her advantage; her tendency towards ruthlessness even--or perhaps especially--when she's the one who suffers most for it; and her habit of forming significant personal and professional relationships with other women.
And regardless of the story's deficiencies, Phil Noto's art is amazing. As preparation for writing this review, I "reread" the volume focusing solely on the art and ignoring the text, and just that experience was well worth the cover price.(less)
Five stars for the writing. DeConnick and Ellis are both brilliantly hilarious, as well as great at writing serious scenes with sufficient gravity and...moreFive stars for the writing. DeConnick and Ellis are both brilliantly hilarious, as well as great at writing serious scenes with sufficient gravity and depth, and they're absolutely superb at shifting between those two modes. The villain is fantastic; the storyline is perhaps a little on the slight side, but well-written and involving; and the character dynamics are top-notch. Plus, the story includes a Black Widow/Spider-Woman/Spider-Girl team-up. Awesome!
Unfortunately, I'm not that impressed by Matteo Buffagni's art in general, and for some reason he draws Natasha in particular just terribly (which is a real problem when she has as strong a role as she does in this book). She kind of reminds me of a praying mantis in certain panels, as odd as that sounds. A praying mantis with wiglike hair and incredibly in-your-face cleavage. Also, Buffagni seems to have an intense aversion to drawing men's asses; the male characters are almost always drawn facing forward, and on the rare occasions when they turn their backs to the reader, Buffagni will obscure the reader's view with a railing or the character's coat or etc. (Needless to say, the female characters' asses are shown much more frequently and in much greater detail.)(less)
Gods are being slaughtered, and Thor is trying to find and stop their killer. This first volume is pretty much entirely set-up, and the antagonist's m...moreGods are being slaughtered, and Thor is trying to find and stop their killer. This first volume is pretty much entirely set-up, and the antagonist's motivations are still largely a mystery, as indeed is much of the storyline. The story follows Thor at three separate stages of his life--as a young man visiting medieval Iceland; in the present as an Avenger; and in the far future as king of Asgard--and there are some large gaps by the end of the volume.
The comic also tends to shift abruptly and often confusingly between these time periods, which is my main criticism of it so far. Too often I'd get halfway down a page, realize that it was set in the future while the previous page had been set in the past, and have to restart from the top of the page with that perspective shift in mind. This is naturally further complicated by time travel, because Marvel. (I've been trying to get over my kneejerk distaste for time travel plots, because sometimes they really do work. Too early to know whether that's true in this particular case, though.)
I very much like Aaron's characterizations of Thor and the story so far is intriguing, but if the plot doesn't start cohering soon, my enjoyment of this title is going to drop precipitously.(less)