The Mighty Thor/Journey Into Mystery: Everything Burns And I Need Your Help

everything-burns

I’ll admit; I probably should have been reading Kieron Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery to have a better understanding of what was going on. This volume collects the series’ final arc, which was a cross over with The Mighty Thor. It’s up to Kid Loki and Thor to save everyone, and tie up the loose ends of Gillen’s run on Journey and Matt Fraction’s on The Mighty Thor.

Unfortunately, I picked this up completely cold. There is a lot of stuff going on that required tons and tons of Googleing to figure out. What happened–or at least what I think happened–was that Kid Loki has been feuding with the spirit of his older self all this time. And as a result, he’s somehow freed the fire demon Surtur. So it is up to him and his older brother Thor to save the universe.

There’s a lot of deception, trickery and flat-out lying between all the characters, as well as allusions to some of the previous plot lines in Journey Into Mystery. All of this really confused me to the point that I still don’t have a clue as to what exactly happened. So I’m going to ask you my reader pals what happened.

What I do feel comfortable talking about was how much I liked Alan Davis’ art on the Thor parts of this. He’s such a great–and underutilized–artist.

But getting back to this, I’m going to say that it’s pretty forgettable unless you have been following the Journey series. If you were a faithful reader of that series, I will give it a hearty recommendation. And if you knew what happened in this, please let me know!

Silver Surfer #4

silver-surfer-4

In this issue, Silver Surfer almost let’s his altruistic nature almost take the best of him when he encounters Loki.

The Asgardian’s story is pretty typical for this time. Loki really really hates his brother Thor and is always looking for new ways to destroy him. His latest plan involves using the Silver Surfer to do his bidding, with a little treachery.

Loki explains to Silver Surfer that his brother Thor is a huge miscreant and is a danger to Asgard. Silver Surfer, for all the cosmic power he wields, is a bit of a rube and believes Loki’s story. The two make a deal: if the Silver Surfer goes to Asgard and kills Thor (who is planning on taking over Asgard), Loki will remove the enchantment that keeps the Surfer imprisoned on Earth. He is a god of sorts, after all.

This plot really is textbook Loki logic. He has a problem that he himself can’t solve, so he manipulates someone into doing it for him. Surfer is transported to Asgard and is on a mission to kill Thor. Eventually the two meet, and Surfer attacks him as he thinks he is a liberator to the Asgardians. The whole fight sequence by John Buscema is filled with so much energy and kinetic-ism that it rivals something that Jack Kirby would have done during this period.

Surfer has the advantage in the fight and realizes that Loki is doing something to not only augment his powers, but control his body. He also notices that the Asgardians are coming out to protect Thor; if he was as villainous as Loki described, no one would be doing this. Surfer confronts Loki, who does admit that this has been a more villainous plan all along and sends Surfer back to Earth as he wasn’t able to live up to his end of the bargain.

Poor Surfer. He gets duped into doing Loki’s work and gets beaten up by Thor. But on a positive note, Thor wasn’t too mad at him as he knows the lengths Loki would go to in his diabolical schemes. The book ends with Silver Surfer still upset that he’s still trapped on a planet that he really doesn’t understand and had been tricked by someone he had trusted. The moral of the story: don’t help strangers.

Walt Simonson on Hulk? Count me in!

hulk-walt-simonson

 

It’s no secret how much I enjoy Walt Simonson’s projects. This spring he is adding something to his expansive portfolio that he has never done before: been the lead artist on the Hulk series!

iFanboy shared this news item by posting a promo picture/teaser earlier today. Starting this April, Walt is picking up the pencil for Mark Waid’s Hulk series. And with the Hulk trying to lift Mjolnir to little success, it seems that Thor will be playing a big role in this.

There is really so much to be excited on for this project, but I’ll keep it short and  give you two reasons why this is ridiculously awesome:

  1. Mark Waid is an awesome writer and his name on the credits pretty much solidifies it being a fun read.
  2. Walt Simonson is drawing this, which is always a great thing but only gets better being that Thor is involved. How freaking cool is that?

It’s like Marvel is just trying to think of new things to make me spend my money on! I’m really debating on whether I’ll follow this as an issue or wait to get it in a collected form. Either way it’s going to be awesome, and knowing me I’ll probably willingly buy it in both formats!

Uncanny Avengers: Thor Drinks Lattes And Brainsnatching Fun

Uncanny Avengers #1 reminds me of one of those comics that reminds me of my childhood when my brother and I would pool together all of our super hero toys and make up our own groups. Is USAgent in the Justice League? Sure. Does the Avengers consist of Iron Man, Thor, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Savage Dragon? You betcha. What writer Rick Remender did in this issue was brought together that spirit of non-traditional team ups.

The Marvel Universe is still recovering from the whole Avengers/X-Men feud, and this book sets the stage for the two team’s first real joint partnership. Captain America and Thor are really giving Havok the hard sell on how much they respect him and Charles Xavier’s legacy, and how both sides need to put them past them. And unlike his brother Cyclops, Havok sees the value in working with non-mutantkind. The three get to team up for the first time to stop a lobotomized Avalanche.

The mutual admiration doesn’t extend to Scarlet Witch and Rogue, who will not forgive Wanda for intentionally almost eradicating the mutant population. This all takes place at Professor X’s grave site, which is something he would have never wanted to see. Before they can resolve their differences, Red Skull’s forces arrive to not only take them out but take the Professor’s corpse. Red Skull needs it for some diabolical plot to exterminate the mutant race.

Remender puts this together in a really fun, only in comics way. We have an awkward team up (that is surely to improve as the series go by as they grow personally), lots of big characters and a plot that is simply ridiculous, but in a good way. All the while, he finds a way to make the dialogue work. The only thing that came across kind of odd was the scene where Cap and Thor are talking about stepping out to get something to eat with Havok, and Thor talks about how much he likes lattes. Very silly yes, but it would work. I could totally see the character get into really weird human food like that.

The art is by John Cassaday is great as usual. This is definitely a fun book and I’m sure I’ll catch up with it once it comes out in trade format.

Marvel’s Upcoming Movie Calendar: Guardians of the Galaxy and Beyond

Marvel Studios unveiled a new slate of films for the next two years. So what does the film division of the “House of Ideas” have for us? The biggest announcement was the confirmation of a Guardians of the Galaxy film, slated to come out on August 1, 2014. For most people new to comics or just fans of the movies, the question is why should you be excited about this.

Guardians of the Galaxy first debuted in Marvel Super Heroes #18 back in 1969, a few months before Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Space travel was a big thing at the time and Arnold Drake and Gene Colan created a team of super powered aliens in the 31st century. Present day astronaut Vance Astrovik (with a name like that he really could do nothing else than be an astronaut) is rocketed into space in suspended animation and wakes up way far into the future. That must have been one hell of a nap.

Anyway, Vance teams up with some well-meaning alien warriors to stop the Badoon, a race of genocidal aliens bent on conquering the universe. Occasionally the Guardians would travel back to present day in crossovers with the Avengers and Defenders. The team is probably best known for Image Comics founder Jim Valentino’s series from the early 1990s.

Guardians of the Galaxy was rebooted a few years back, this time taking place in the present day. Long story short, it’s a collection of Marvel’s alien heroes teaming up to prevent catastrophes, whether they be cosmic natural disasters or intergalactic warfare. I would assume that the film will be of how the team gets together and has to save Earth from something awful. Maybe they even might involve Thanos, since it looks like this will be out before Avengers 2,

So who are the Guardians? Based on the concept art that Marvel revealed it looks like the team is the following:

  • Star-Lord: a human who winds up becoming an intergalactic police officer.
  • Gamora: Thanos’ adopted daughter who happens to be the most deadly woman in the Marvel Universe (think a lady version of Chuck Norris).
  • Groot: A humanoid living tree who debuted in Tales to Astonish long before the Fantastic Four.
  • Rocket Raccoon: An anthropomorphic raccoon with mastery of combat and military strategy.
  • Drax the Destroyer: A synthetic humanoid created to kill Thanos.

So yeah, it sounds like Thanos is going to be involved in this. Call it a hunch.

Anyway, this is a big gamble since it is going to be a movie featuring C and D list characters. No matter how great the film is, it’s going to be a harder sell to the public. Do you remember the last time you saw a Drax t-shirt? Me neither. I would assume they are banking on how well received the previous Marvel did. At the very least I hope I can get a stuffed Rocket Raccoon out of this.

As for the rest of the announcements:

  • Ant-Man will be directed by Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame). They even showed some test footage of it, which sadly hasn’t leaked out yet. Apparently they were super-strict about the no photography/videography rule.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier is slated for April 4, 2014 and pretty much confirms that Bucky will be back, turned into the Soviet killing machine. It’s reported that Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) is in negotiations to play the role of the Falcon, Cap’s sidekick/partner.
  • Thor: The Dark World comes out November 8, 2013. Just in time for Halloween!

The Avengers discover Captain America

the Avengers find Captain America frozen

This was a fun picture I took a few years back of the Avengers finding Captain America. We were in the middle of probably the biggest blizzard/winters I’ve ever experienced; there was pretty much two feet of snow accumulated. Anyway, I wanted to take some pictures with my toys out in the snow.

Having recently acquired the Wasp and the mask-less Captain America, it  seemed like a fair enough idea with this picture. I really like how it turned out, but unfortunately it doesn’t really show that Cap is frozen in a block of ice!

I stuck the action figure in a bowl of water, letting it freeze him. I think I might have to do some Photoshopping on it this week…

Fear Itself

If Siege was the story of Loki’s redemption, Fear Itself is the story of Odin’s failure. So how did the All Father ruin every everything?

The roots of Fear Itself go back many, many years ago, as seen in the prologue  Fear Itself: Book of the Skull by Ed Brubacher and Scot Eaton. Odin has an evil brother Cul, who is the god of fear, and is imprisoned on Earth. This prologue is set during World War II, with the Red Skull trying to find the enchanted hammer of Skadi, one of Cul, which according to old folklore granted its wielder immense power. Obviously, the Nazis would have wanted that. Captain America, Bucky and Namor prevent that from happening. Fast forward to the current time, and the Red Skull’s daughter Sin now wields the hammer.

This brings us up to the actual Fear Itself miniseries by Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen. Sin–wielding a hammer that makes her as powerful as Thor–has freed Cul. To make matters worse, Cul has armed seven random super heroes and villains with enchanted hammers as well, turning them into a group of super powered heralds at his command. With them added to Sin’s Nazi army, Cul leads a rampage on Earth before setting his sights on Odin and Asgard.

The Avengers are in super trouble against Cul’s forces; Sin winds up killing Captain America/Bucky. Things  get worse when Odin reveals his plan to destroy Earth   as a way to stop Cul. It only gets more complicated as Odin further explains that there is an ancient prophecy that the only way to stop Cul will leave Thor dead. Odin would sacrifice mankind if it meant Thor would survive.

Fraction’s story depicts Odin as a cowardly old man. He may be the ruler of Asgard and one of the most powerful inhabitants of the Marvel Universe, but he’s petrified. His son Thor isn’t, and is willing to give up his own life if it means that Earth is safe. Even Iron Man sacrifices his integrity–in his case,his sobriety–in an attempt to offer something as a sacrifice to Odin for help.

Because Thor is a hero, I’m sure you have an idea how this winds up ending. What I liked about this story was how much of a hero he is, being even braver than Odin. the only thing that I didn’t like was them killing off Thor, since they did a whole world without Thor story a few years back after Avengers Disassembled storyline, and Bucky, because I was really enjoying him hanging around. But thanks to the flexible condition of death in comics, they came back not too long after this.

Comics, everyone!

12 Gifts of Christmas: Disney Store’s Marvel Selects Exclusive Avengers

If you know someone who likes the Avengers, stop by your local Disney Store. They’ve teamed up with Diamond Select Toys for an exclusive line of Marvel Select figures featuring the Avengers!

What’s so special about them? Marvel Select is a line of high end collector action figures that are super detailed. This line features four Avengers who were heavily featured in some of the recent Marvel films wearing their classic gear. They also come with really elaborate stands and backdrops. Thor can stand victoriously on a huge boulder and Captain America comes with a base and background to recreate the iconic John Cassady cover.

They hit it out of the park with the Black Widow and Hawkeye figures. Not only do they come with a base of building wreckage and a dismantled Ultron, but they come respectively with a tiny version of Ant-Man and Wasp! The detail on Wasp is amazing; she’s sitting on an arrow!

30 Things I Like About Comics—#7 Comic Show Sketches

Nightwing given the Odinforce, wearing Thor's helmet and ruling Asgard by Tom Raney

One of the best things about going to comic book shows is getting sketches from artists. Not only do you wind up getting a unique piece of art, but its a great opportunity to talk with your favorite comic creators. I’m going to share the story of my first comic sketch, and how it wound up being Nightwing wearing Thor’s helmet.

I remember it like it was yesterday; it was Wizard World’s Philadelphia show in 2004. At the recommendation of a friend, I set out to get sketches. The first stop was Tom Raney who was signing and sketching at the DC booth. I was a fan of his then-current work on Outsiders, as well as his previous work on Thor.

As I waited online for a long time, I started wondering what sketch I would ask for. After all this was very important; it’s my first sketch. I decided that I wanted a Brother Blood sketch; after all he was a prominent villain in the first couple issues of Outsiders. Before I knew it, I was next in line and then things got weird. I’m going to write this out like a script so you can get the full effect.

Raney: (finished signing everything) So what would you like a sketch of?

Me: Brother Blood would be awesome.

Raney: Do you have a reference? Chris did those issues.

(Now I’m embarrassed, because I confused his issues with another artists. Eep)

Me:  (mutters something intelligible and feeling really awkward) Ahh….could I get Nightwing wearing a Thor helmet?

Raney: Sure!

And then Tom crafted the above sketch, which is just flat out awesome! It was very nice of him to do something that was so ridiculous.

And that’s how I got my first comic sketch. You can see more of his work at his blog or his DeviantArt.

30 Things I Like About Comics—#13 Mike Deodato

Mike Deodato sketching at New York Comic-Con 2009

Mike Deodato sketching at New York Comic-Con 2009 (courtesy http://www.flickr.com/excalipoor)

Brazil can lay claim to being the home to the samba dance, the capoeira fighting style, Max Cavalera and his thrash metal bands Sepultura and Soulfly, and Mike Deodato, who happens to be one of my favorite comic book artists.

One of the things that separates him from his peers and puts him closer to artists like Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock is that Deodao has distinct phases of his career.

If you look at his work from the 1990s, it really fits the Image Comics style that was all the rage. There is a strong influence of Jim Lee, especially in the way he constructs his figures. On the clothing side, he takes some fashion tips from Rob Liefeld in his designs. Some people think that this part of his carer, although good, is dated. I don’t agree with that. There is a certain amount of motion and detail in his work from this period that will always stand out. Some of his best work from this period is the “Worldengine” story in Thor with Warren Ellis. His versions of the Asgardians and their world were breathtaking. He also had a really good run on Wonder Woman with William Mesner-Loebs.

Deodato seemed to have disappeared from the comics world for a while and came back to Marvel with a vengeance in the mid 2000s. His new/current style involves a lot of negative space and shadows, creating a dark and moody environment for the characters. Even the way he draws people has changed, going to a much more photo-realistic style reminiscent of Brian Hitch. Primarily he has been working on Avengers related books, like New Avengers, Secret Avengers and Thunderbolts, and even had a really good run on Amazing Spider-Man as well. This new style debuted on a run of Incredible Hulk with Bruce Jones, which was more espionage than action/adventure. This new look was perfect.

For more information, pictures of some of his recent work and art sales, visit Glass House Graphics.

Super Hero Fun At The Jersey Shore!

Green Lantern and Sinestro prizes

Nothing says summer fun like Green Lantern and Sinestro plush!

As part of the Fourth of July festivities, my girlfriend and I went to Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. There is lots of fun to be had at the Jersey Shore, even if you are me and would rather read comics than go out clubbing with the Situation.

Green Lantern Skill Claw

That confused, classy lady with the Kate Spade handbag is not only a master of the skill claw but my girlfriend.

The boardwalk amusement games were filled with stuffed animals, Sponge Bobs, and flocks of Angry Birds. But things got comic-y really quickly. There were giant stuffed Green Lanterns everywhere.

There was even a skill crane filled with plush Hal Jordans and Sinestros. I can see lots of kids begging their parents for another dollar so they can win a stuffed Green Lantern. Who I feel bad for is the child who winds up getting Sinestro–in a Green Lantern suit no less. He or she would probably have that same sad, defeated look that Ralphie had that Christmas morning when he was forced to put on the bunny suit. Me, on the other hand, unsuccessfully attempted to win a Sinestro to impress my lady friend. She was more interested in hitting up the 1990s Addams Family movie themed pinball machine in the back.

Stuffed Thor!

Who has two thumbs and a stuffed Thor? This guy.

So after some ice cream, I decided to challenge her to a game of air hockey. Even though I started the game pucks-a-blazing like the Sedin twins, she did her very best Tim Thomas impression, crushing my hopes of winning like the Boston Bruins broke the collective heart of the city of Vancouver.

So to make me feel better, the girlfriend vowed to win me a prize by the end of the evening. Without fail I wound up getting this really cool stuffed Thor.

Now that’s cool :)

So What Did I Think About Thor?

So I just received some fan mail about what I thought of the Thor movie. I guess that’s appropriate, since I shared what I thought about Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, and have previously reviewed X-Men: First Class and Green Lantern.

Out of the three comic book/super hero films, Thor stands out to me as the best of this summer’s crop. For those of you who don’t know me, I have admittedly bad taste in movies. If it isn’t really funny or have a lot of explosions, chances are I haven’t seen it.

Even though I’ve been a lifelong Thor fan and wanted the movie to be as awesome as the Simonson and Kirby and Ellis comics, the thought of a super critically acclaimed serious Shakespearean director like Kenneth Branagh directing the film scared me. What if he was going to make the movie serious in tone? What if he tried turning this into an epic like Lord of the Rings…and by that I meant long and painful to watch? What if he decided to turn this into a critically acclaimed piece of cinema?

Well Branagh didn’t do that; he made a perfect Chris film, balancing action and humor. Other people seem to like it as well; Thor has pulled in receipts of almost $460,000,000 worldwide and the movie had many positive reviews. Branagh made Thor in the image of the first Iron Man, where the audience is introduced to the super hero, and elaborate action scenes are passed over in lieu of ample character development.

Stop! Hammer time!

At heart, Thor is a film about family relationships. Odin, king of the Asgardians, has two sons. Thor is the more well liked and respected one, but is ultimately to brash and immature to take his throne. Loki is a bit conniving and genuinely means well, but Thor’s status as Odin’s favored son hurts him.

This family feud ultimately comes to a boil, as Thor is exiled to Earth and stripped of his power by Odin for arrogantly trying to defeat Asgard’s long-standing enemies the frost giants of Jotunheim. Things only get worse in the house of Odin. Loki learns of his true frost giant heritage and becomes enraged at Odin for hiding this from him. As a result, Odin (who is masterfully played by Anthony Hopkins) collapses into a catatonic state.

Loki, realizing this is his only chance to be the ruler of Asgard, takes his adopted father’s throne and plans to destroy Jotunheim once and for all, as a way of showing Odin that he is just as powerful (if not more) than his brother Thor, that he is just as strong a leader as his father, and that Loki would be willing to kill off every single frost giant–even though he himself is one–if it would gain the love and favor of his adopted father. To make sure that Thor doesn’t interfere, Loki convinces him that he should never return.

Ultimately, Thor accepts his humility (as he spends time learning about the human condition and spirit with human scientist Jane Foster) and returns to Asgard. He takes it upon himself to stop Loki, as slaughtering the frost giants of Jotunheim is ultimately wrong. The two brother fight through the realms of Asgard and Jotunheim, destroying the bridge that connects the two realms. Odin comes to stop them from fighting and prevent his sons from being lost in the cosmic abyss. Humiliated by being defeated in front of Odin and now having to reach out to be saved by his brother Thor, Loki would rather fall into the cosmic abyss then be rescued by Thor.

Even though Loki would never believe it, the film ends with Odin and Thor mourn his loss, as they always unconditionally loved him.

There was some comedy, mainly as Thor tried to fit in with the humans. The action scenes of Asgardian viking battle were well executed. But this story is what made this movie.

At the heart of Thor isn’t as medieval battles, instead there is a strong examination of family dynamics reminding us of why we have to be compassionate to others and to strive to be supportive. Loki’s demise is tragic as it was spurned by him never understanding how much his family cared for him.

This was always the theme of the Thor comics and Branagh found a way to tell this epic, grandiose story, making it just as heartfelt and complex as anything Shakespeare could come up with.

And that is why I loved this film.

And if that’s not good enough, Thor comics legend Walt Simonson, his wife and writer Louise Simonson, and longtime editor Ralph Macchio (not the Karate Kid) all make an appearance during Asgaridian banquet scene.

Looking for something to read at the beach?

I was asked to put together some recommended comics that are suitable for an adult audience.  Here is a list I put together, including four based on recent superhero movies and four that have nothing to do with super heroes.

If you went to the movie theater this summer, chances are you’ve seen that Hollywood has been making movies based on comic books! Comic books (or their more sophisticated cousin the graphic novel) are not just for kids. In fact, most comic books are written for adults! Not only that, but story wise there is much more to comics then just super heroes!

Here are some great books that were the basis for some of this summer’s biggest movies, as well as some of the most popular graphic novels on the shelves!

Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers
written by Rob Rodi
art by Esad Ribic

This cautionary tale shows family dynamics of the godlike brothers Loki and Thor from this summer’s blockbuster. Showing their lives infancy to adulthood, Loki is constantly reminded of his inferiority in comparison to his brother Thor, as well as not being able cope with the utter disdain his father Odin has for him. These strained relationships show give a glimpse on how a lifetime of sadness and self-doubt created a rift between the brothers.

We3
written by Grant Morrison
art by Frank Quitely

After three beloved pets are abducted and forced to become military weapons, all they want to do is return to their human families. When they find out they are going to be “decomissioned” (destroyed), they set out on a perilous journey to survive. Morrison created three extremely sympathetic characters, that remind you of your childhood pets. The book may have limited dialogue, but Quitely’s innovative page design and stunning artwork will fully capture your imagination.

Green Lantern/Green Arrow
written by Dennis O’Neil
art by Neal Adams

Green Lantern made his movie screen debut this summer, but this story from 1970 is his most compelling adventure. With his more socially conscious friend Green Arrow at his side, the typically space faring but somewhat naive Green Lantern goes on a cross-country journey of self exploration through Vietnam War-era America. Along the way, the pair encounter racism and bigotry, drug abuse, sexism and discrimination, and corruption; all subjects not typically shown in comics at that point.

Pride of Baghdad
written by Brian K. Vaughan
art by Niko Henrichon

Based on a true story, this graphic novel shows the life of four lions trying to survive their escape from a war-torn Baghdad Zoo in the early 2000. Much to the chagrin of the other animals, Zill feels that his pride can only survive by leaving the gutted zoo.  By humanizing all of the zoo animals, a story is an examination of the role off family and the cost of freedom.

FablesFables
written Bill Willingham
with various artists
Did you ever wonder what it would be like if your favorite fairy tale characters were real? Willingham explores this topic in the Fables series. The fairy tale characters you grow up with live amongst in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, dealing with real world situations like the nasty divorce of Snow White and Prince Charming due to his infidelity, the now human Big Bad Wolf trying to redeem himself for the transgressions of his youth, and even the strained father-and-son relationship of Gepetto and Pinocchio. Each part of the series is different in subject matter, falling into genres like crime, mystery, romance and even political suspense.

Magneto: Testament
written by Greg Pak
art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

As seen in  X-Men: First Class, the superhuman Magneto is a Holocaust survivor and this book tells the story of how he–then a teenager named Max Eisenhardt–loses his family and barely survives. All elements of super heroics are stripped from the character, leaving a compelling narrative. The art is moody and dark, creating a sense of drama and sorrow. The book also features a powerful short story by comics legends Neal Adams and Joe Kubert, chronicling the life of Auschwitz prisoner Dina Babbitt, whose artistic talents were exploited by Josef Mengele in exchange for him guaranteeing her and her mother’s safety.

Captain America
by Ed Brubaker
art by Steve Epting

This ongoing series chronicles the most recent adventures of Captain America, from the return of his long assumed dead sidekick, to him facing and overcoming his own mortality. Filled with espionage and mystery, as well as dealing with themes of personal loss and adapting to an ever-changing world, Brubaker creates an intriguing take on one of America’s most iconic characters.

The Walking Dead
by Robert Kirkman
art by Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard

Zombies have taken the spot of vampires as America’s favorite supernatural creature. This series is less about monsters and horror, as it revolves around small town sheriff Rick Grimes and the community he protects, trying to find a way to survive in a post apocalyptic world. This has been adapted to a popular television series on AMC.

These and other great comics can be found at your friendly neighborhood comic book shop. Don’t know where you can find one? Go here or call 1-888-COMIC-BOOK. If you can’t find one, try your local library or one of the fine book retailers in your town or online.

The Mighty Thor–or LeBron

Lebron as Thor

In watching the post-NBA Finals landscape, the big topic isn’t necessarily the impending lockout or even the greatness of Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs. The discussion is instead dominated by LeBron James.

For many sports fans, mocking LeBron’s lack of a championship is cathartic. It’s payback for the never-ending free agency speculation, the Decision primetime special, the un-likability of the current Miami Heat roster, and even the seemingly overexposed media presence he’s had over the last decade.

Not to mention, he hasn’t seemed to gracious in defeat.

More than anything, at this point LeBron in his career, he parallels a super hero. LeBron is Thor.

Why?

These two larger-then-life figures have more in common than you would think.

Look at their lives. They have both always been viewed as the heir apparent, whether it is to become the face of basketball or the king of Asgard. They’re both unbelievably good at what they do, and because of that, they have the ego to match.

When the Heat’s big three joined forces, it was clear that LeBron would be the most scrutinized—and had the most to lose if they did not win a championship. Dwayne Wade already had one from 2006, establishing his legacy and claim of greatness. Chris Bosh was just lucky to be in the situation.

If you continue this Avengers metaphor, Bosh is totally the Ant Man of the Heat. He’s just there. He helps out when called upon, but doesn’t dominate the team. Occasionally, he has his big moment, but he’s just a supporting character.

As LeBron’s legend grew, he had his victories and his defeats. He—deservedly—is a two time MVP. In 2007, he led a Cavaliers team to the Finals due to his sheer will. Ultimately, that team, like the Heat lost. Unlike Thor, LeBron James is human. There is only so much he can do.

Clearly, LeBron takes this all too seriously. His frustration is evident. He wants to win so bad he was willing to leave his home, where he was viewed like a god.

His competitiveness has made his somewhat bitter, as he’s lashed out in the media with certain foolishness.

Remember this quote from when the Cavaliers were eliminated in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals?

“It’s hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them, I’m a winner. It’s not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you’re not going to congratulate them. … I’m a competitor. That’s what I do. It doesn’t make sense for me to go over and shake somebody’s hand.”

It takes a real man—a real leader—to know that accepting your defeat is not a sign of weakness.

This next bit of arrogance came out again just a few days ago.

“All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point.”

Again, he doesn’t show strong character in defeat. He still hasn’t learned.

LeBron is at a crossroads, just like Thor.

For brevity’s sake, we’ll simplify his story as it was shown in the movie this summer. Thor is brash and cocky. To teach him the lessons of humility, Odin strips his son of his powers and banishes him to earth. Thor can only reclaim his position of celestial nobility once he was able to overcome his hubris.

Losing the NBA Finals and his subsequent reaction has put LeBron in this situation. He’s been vilified and his integrity has been doubted. If he wants to return to being viewed as the beloved superstar he was just a little over a year ago, he has to swallow his pride and show that he can take his criticism in stride.

Like Thor, LeBron has to admit his shortcomings. He has to acknowledge that if his team can’t do it, that he has to figuratively—and literally—carry them. He has to step up and become a leader, one that inspires and have a strong sense of nobility. Be more Steve Nash then Stephon Marbury. Be more Thor then Loki

When he regains his humility, only then will LeBron be able to wield Mjolnir. Or in his case, become a deserving NBA champion.