It took Walter Simonson 15 years, but he finally got round to his creator-owned comic book of Norse mythology and fantasy, Ragnarok. Simonson has changed up the myth with a dark twist. Set in a world where the bad guys have won, the Norse world and the Gods have long been destroyed. Except for Thor, who has been missing for 300 hundred years, absent from the great battle that destroyed his home and family. Now he has awoken with his lower jaw missing and his skin rotted. Zombie Thor! On discovering the great enemy Surtar is in power having won the war, his previous life has been shattered. No family, no home, thus Thor promises revenge. An undead thunder God out for blood in a medieval fantastical world - what more could you want from an adventure comic?
Having had an incredible run on Marvel's Thor plus having expertise knowledge of Norse mythology, there really is no other comic creator better qualified than Walter Simonson for this glorious saga that is Ragnarok. Simonson's work on Marvel’s Thor was magnificent; it has set the bar for himself and for comic fiction in Norse mythos, and so this puts a lot of pressure to deliver. As a creator-owned work, it makes it rather risky with such high expectations. Alas, there is no fret here as Simonson has created a story so exciting and so fresh that you can't really compare it to his other work other than he has made yet another awesome comeback. Without overdoing it, Simonson has created some brilliant dynamics to the story, making this book truly compelling.
The beautiful traditional craftsmanship in narrative suits the fantasy/adventure style. From Simonson's line art to John Workman's lettering with onomatopoeia splashing across the pages, the energy is palpable. Workman has collaborated with Simonson on many occasions, and his lettering alone has made a distinctive mark to their work together. Simonson's collaboration with colourist Laura Martin also brings the art alive with such vibrancy, adding wonderful hues of colour to his scratchy line work. Some really awesome and innovative touches fill the pages throughout, especially in battle and confrontation scenes, making them brutal yet entertaining. We also see Mjölnir do a lot of smashing, which is always fun.
There is also still a sense of heroism to this story; despite Thor's raging lust for vengeance and the trail of destruction he leaves behind, the God of Thunder still vows to protect the mortal humans made slaves in this new world. The story intensifies as significant characters are introduced then dropped unexpectedly. As the overarching story develops, there is a subplot developing causing apprehension as the audience grow to favour two important characters that will inevitably come to an epic confrontation. Hopefully the next run won't be so long drawn and the wait will be shorter as we're left in suspense to discover what will become of Thor.
RAGNAROK VOLUME 1: LAST GOD STANDING / WRITER & ARTIST: WALTER SIMONSON / PUBLISHER: IDW PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 12TH