Ragnarok, Volume 1 by Walter Simonson

Ragnarok volume 1, collecting comic single issues 1-6, is an interesting take on Thor and the world after Asgaard fell. I didn’t know much about the title or author going into the read and so was pleasantly surprised to find an interesting, nuanced, and unique story with solid, rich artwork. Ragnarok exceeding my expectations and keep me riveted to the end.

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Story: The Asgaard Gods have fallen and the world has become home to Draugrs, trolls, fire creatures, and more. In this land, a dark elf assassin leaves her family to take on a bounty to kill ‘the stone god’. She collects a band of mercenaries and attempts to kill the stone god – but only ends up awakening him. The stone god turns out to be the last of the gods, Thor, and he has been asleep for a very long time. With hisa body but a shell and missing his jaw, Thor will venture out into the world to discover what has befallen his beloved and brethren after Ragnarok destroyed them. But the new rulers of the plane do not want him to return: and the family of the assassin elf sent to end him have their own plans for the God of Thunder.

Ragnarok is a very imaginative spin on Norse mythology. Never taking itself too seriously, this is Thor the comic book hero after he has lost everything and now must find a way to put the world back in order. The cast of characters are interesting and I really like that we’re given an introduction to Thor through the family of dark elf assassins (rather than having Thor wake up, kill everything in site, and go on a rampage). The story is much bigger than Thor and so it is appropriate and appreciated that we get a much larger view of the world.

The side characters are interesting and Thor’s encounters with them are more than “save the humans” or “kill the draugr”. I was invested in the story from the very beginning with its large cast of monsters and creatures to enjoy.

The artwork is beautiful. From the dark elf family to what’s left of Thor, burning fire spirits and an ages old fortress, there is certainly a lot to love here and a treat for the eyes. The colors are vibrant and really help with the storytelling. It all feels so epic and crisp.

I read Ragnarok in one sitting and then went back and read it again. If I have a quibble, it’s that the intro with the ‘runic’ font is annoyingly difficult to read. I’d have rather enjoyed a standard helvetica than have to squint and peer to figure out the words in the odd font. But again, minor quibble.

In all, highly recommended. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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