Friday, February 4, 2011

Amazon's Djurdjevic Sale.

This amazing news from Amazon greeted me this morning

Sale on Thor, Vol. 3! Retail – $19.99. Today Only $13.59!

     This would be the Hardcover Edition. You can go to ANY comic shop and get the trade paperback of THOR Voume 3 for $14.99. Either edition is a must-own for the Djurdjevic enthusiast that hasn't read THOR #601- 603 and THOR: GIANT-SIZE FINALE yet.

    One of the sales tools that Amazon uses quite effectively is Customer Reviews. Purchasing a book from them earns one the right to critique the book for potential customers.

     Here's what one new owner of THOR had to say. (If you'd like to skip the review because of the spoilers only one sentence mentioned the art - "The one area where the book does not fall down is the art of Marko Djurdjevic, which is excellent as usual.")

A disappointing end to Straczynski’s time on the title.

     J. Michael Straczynski came onto “Thor” with the launch of the current volume (after twelve issues renumbered to continue the combined numberings of all previous volumes), and now, after 16 issues, it concludes in this volume, which collects issues 601-603 and the “Defining Moments” special (which is effectively #604). The previous two volumes were generally of good quality, albeit with flaws, and unfortunately the final one brings out many of the least-appealing aspects of Straczynski’s time on the book. Some spoilers follow.
     Straczynski’s departure from the book occurred, for those not aware, as a result of differences with Marvel editorial. Straczynski generally prefers to work in his own corner, and one condition of his writing the title was that Marvel would give him eight issues free of any outside interference. He got that; nearly double that, in fact. But when planning began for “Siege”, a major storyline that would heavily involve Thor and his mythos, Straczysnki bowed out, leaving Marvel scrambling to find someone else to write the title in the leadup period (the ball was eventually picked up by Kieron Gillen, very capably I might add).
     This volume picks up from the previous one, with Thor exiled with a broken hammer following the death of his grandfather Bor, an incident that occurred because of Loki’s manipulations. Loki, with the ear of the new king, Balder, continues to play everyone like a fiddle, convincing everyone else to move to Latveria, home of his ally Dr. Doom. Several plots are resolved here, such as Thor’s girlfriend Sif being missing, albeit somewhat abruptly. However, others are not, and when JMS departs the book, he leaves the Asgardians in midstream in Latveria, albeit with a sense that a corner has been turned that could almost pass for a real conclusion. Meanwhile, the story of the romance between Bill, a short-order cook from Oklahoma, and Kelda, one of the Asgardians, comes to a head.
     Many of JMS’ weaknesse come to the fore here, particularly the extent to which Thor (the main character) and Balder are written as extremely stupid and incompetent for the dual purpose of making Loki look brilliant and allowing Bill a shot at heroism. Very little of this story should really have happened, nor could it without people inexplicably confiding and trusting Loki when they should know much better by now, and an heretofore unnoticed excessive petty legalism among Asgardians that defies common sense. Thor is remarkably passive and unexplored as a a lead character; the return of Sif, which you’d think would be a big deal, elicits only a single page of followup, and Thor is reduced to small cameos in the final two issues of the run. The one area where the book does not fall down is the art of Marko Djurdjevic, which is excellent as usual.
     Rather disappointing, but I would encourage people to check out Gillen’s followup, which manages to bring faster pacing, a more competent Balder, and Thor in his proper place at the center of the action.

The second Amazon reviewer was less impressed.

An Un-Godly end to the JMS run on Thor

     Perhaps I expected too much from this third volume. Perhaps, after being spoiled by the wondrous talents of both JMS and Coipel in volumes 1&2, I had expected just as much if not more of a spectacle in these final issues. Yet, after putting Thor, Vol. 3 down, I couldn’t help but feel disappointment.
    There are only a few reason why I feel such a way with the most prominent being 1) The Length of the volume and 2) The change of Artwork.
   1) The Length of the Volume:
   Now, this isn’t to say that Thor, Vol. 3 is the size of a single issue but for a third volume which costs just as much as its predecessors (or at least in the same $15-$25 range) I couldn’t help but feel that this volume was exceptionally shorter than the others. Sure enough, I was right. Thor Vol.1 being short itself still comes in at 160 pages ( and Thor Vol. 2 comes in at a strong 200 pages ( What does Thor Vol. 3 offer? A measly 112 pages (and quite a bit is cover art and random Bios on Loki & Sif along with a list of Thor collections…obvious filler). Again, after finishing the third volume I thought would it not have been a better idea to simply make two decent sized volumes? I mean really looking at it, simply make Thor Vol. 1&2 at 236 pages each and voila, it’s a perfect fit (no really…all volumes add up to 472 divide that by 2 = 236). But of course, I must accept the fact that there isn’t as much money in cutting out an entire volume but hey, I’d have gladly payed around $30 each for 2 big volumes. Oh well, just my opinion. But more importantly, because of the short length, this third volume just comes off as a wrap up one. So much happened in volume 2 that this one simply acts as a way to tie up any loose ends (although some argue JMS failed at this but I think he did a wonderful job with everything) and in doing so, it simply just falls flat.
     2) The Change of Artwork:
     I had become so accustomed to seeing Olivier Coipel’s wonderfully drawn characters, his vast settings and his polished/cleaned drawings that I almost couldn’t picture Thor in any other way. Now, with this third volume, Coipel is no more and instead, we are given Marko Djurdjevic. Now, Marko is by no means bad, in fact he is quite the opposite, but for me, his work in Volume 2 was incredible and yet in this volume it seems…different. His lines are messy, almost giving a gritty look to everything (which in the case of this story-line’s end seems to work in its favor) and he keeps up with Coipel’s ability to keep the vast scenery in check. Marko changes the appearances of some of the characters (Thor, Fandral, Bill etc.) I suppose to make them his own but, and of course this is just how I feel, but in the end I felt cheated. I really liked how Coipel drew these characters (Bill had that innocent/naive face, Fandral looked dashing and Thor was wide/powerful with an almost lion like face) yet Marko, with his sharp and sketchy lines changes all that. Again, I really liked Marko’s work on the vol. 2’s issue where Thor and Odin fight off the ever-resurrecting Surtur but for some reason, these issues don’t come anywhere near as good and I’m not entirely sure why that is. Another specific thing that bothered me was that Volstagg appeared to be not only large in his waist, but in his height, towering over his Warriors Three brethren in past issues. Now, he’s the same height (Hogun appears taller at some points) and at one point seems just as tall as an average mortal. What the hell?! Fortunately, we are given a glimpse of just why Volstagg is worthy of his reputation when he destroys some doom bots but taking away his tall stature made him seem less impressive.
    All in all, Thor Vol. 3 is the end of the great JMS run on Thor and although I find it to be too short to justify a third volume and the change of artists really isn’t my cup of tea, the story itself finally gets a much deserved ending and for that alone, I’d at least recommend reading this. Or, if you’re like me and just want the JMS Thor collection, by all means buy it.

     Of course the best way to sell a book with Djurdjevic's art is to show you a sample!!!

                                                          From THOR #601

from THOR #602

                                                    from THOR GIANT-SIZE FINALE

The third and final Amazon reviewer keeps it brief.

Best Comic on the Market

     Thor is Best Comic on the Market by far,and especially with a price tag of 3.99 for a single comic i just gave up and will only collect trades from now on,as for the story,you can’t beat powerful as he is Thor still has trouble with everyone from Dr.Doom To Loki the Drama is intense and the art is Beautiful accept for Olivier Coipel who has the worst art ever.

    None on the reviewers mentioned the biggest selling points for me, the bonus material. Besides presenting the covers for the four reprinted issues the book also contains 3 variant covers. One of the variants is one of my 10 current favorite Djurdjevic covers, Thor listening to an Ipod. The other variants are by the talented Simone Bianchi and David Finch.
    BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE: There is also 5 Marko Djurdjevic Sketchbook pages of Thor studies included.

Next post February 14.


  1. You fail to mention that it was Olivier Coipel's superb stylised and powerful artwork that allowed Thor to be a success again after many years in the duldrums.

    I think it is a bit unfair to be so biased against such a gifted artist and storyteller if you are looking to write a serious article.

  2. Appologies... I thought the Amazon review was your blog post...doh!!