This past weekend, at the fifth annual Tucson Comic-Con, I got to be in a panel, speaking about journalism, blogging and writing about all things pop culture. I also managed to sell a few comics. And as usual, I got to sneak out from my booth to pick up some comics to bring to you, right here on the Hardcore Review. All small press book BTW. I never buy any big publisher’s titles that I can easily pick up from my dealer. And it’s sort of ironic (an I know that’s not the literal use of the word) that on this edition of the Hardcore Review I’m taking on Thor : Unkillable Thunder Christ, which is written by Eric Esquivel, a guy who’s called straight edge, while I, as per usual am kicking back beers. I mean does that even make sense? Although, in a sense it does make sense, cause a lot of straight edge kids are considered themselves, hardcore.
I myself am not a master of prose. I wouldn’t even begin to call myself well versed at it. The title alone wreaks of controversy. But that’s only cause of those who are super concerned with other people’s faith or lack thereof, instead of concetrating on being a good Christian themselves. And Thor draws those same comparisons. Not in a sense of inner faith so much, but in terms of what kind of god do people want to worship?
Do you believe in the wrathful, vengeful god of the Old Testament, or are you more in tune with the more free thinking, and forgiving son of god from the New Testament? There’s no wrong answers here people… unless you forget about the write in candidate who won’t just “allow himself be nailed to a plank of wood. You’ll need the kind of god who’ll man up and swing the hammer.” I can definitely identify with this, as I myself as you may know, am an Atheist. Here’s the deal, a book like this, and I am not knocking it, can be perceived a few ways.
It can be loved, and supported for it’s openess and willingness to defy what most people think in an effort to make them think. It can be hated, due simply to it’s use of comparing Thor, who most people would only identify as a Norse mythological god to Jesus, who apparently 90% of America have chosen to follow in their everyday lives. However if we had been taught nursery rhymes about Jesus when we were kids, and read a book held as concrete that endorsed Thor as the son of the one true god, we might be looking at things a lot differently. And maybe, just maybe we’d all be offended at the comparison of Jesus to Thor, but in Thor’s defense.
And let’s get to the artwork. Which is top notch. It reminds me of quite a few different arts got thrown into a blender and out came Ander Sarabia. It’s amazing stuff. Fun, and has great movement to it. Not to mention the drunken orgy scene with the Midgardian cocaine that Thor’s brother Loki scored. Ander’s work is superb. Not to mention, he did the art chores on the other Esquivel comic, Blackest Terror which is very loosely based upong the Golden Age character Black Terror. Ander’s line style is unique and holds its own throughout the book. It was not over shadowed by Eric’s words. And this was a really well written book.
As with any good Thor title that stands alone, Thor gets thrown out of Asgard because he doesn’t take being a god seriously. Which is something that was awesome about the movie. In the movie, Thor let his ego get in the way of being a good leader. And a lot of that ideal is touched upon with this book. The Odinson gets sent to Earth to sate Odin’s need to feel like a worthy father and god simultaneously. Cast down to the world of the mortals, Thor demands his hammer, and Odin sends it to him.
Naked and weilding a massive hammer, that looks nothing like the traditional Mjolnir (thank you Eric and Ander). And the tatted up Odinson happens along a group of gang bangers. Looking like Schwarzenegger from Conan and speaking like, well Schwarzenegger demands the clothing of the thugs. Thor, clad in jeans and a flannel wrapped around his waist is then confronted by Street Ghost and the aforementioned Blackest Terror.
After realizing they’re on the same side, the trio sits down for late night burritos. The previous, “who’s a better son of god to believe in?” conversation happens. Odin shows up and takes away Thor’s immortality. Somehow, Thor is still able to heft the hammer onto his shoulders. As the trio leave the burrito shack they see (I guess) a Nazi powered gynormous robot. Thor leads the charge into battle.
Altogether it is a really great book. A lot of fun and it just demands another issue. Although, it stands alone just fine, it seems racism is a present theme in Esquivel’s books. And it is a prevalent theme in comics due to the sheer number of white, male characters and a severe lack of any sort of diversity of characters in any of the major publishers.
DC is doing a great job of adding both ethnic characters as well as LGBT representatives. Marvel to a lesser extent, but I’m not really a Marvel guy now, so I’m not really keeping track on that side. I leave it to the indies to keep the trend of holding a flame for the minority characters and delivering some of the top notch and cutting edge ideas to the forefront. At this moment I have just put on the “Genius” mix from iTunes that was made from the Living Colour song, “Cult of Personality” which as you may know is the theme song for CM Punk. While this may not be monumental to you, it is, in that he is a wrestler who is living the straight edge lifestyle and is a truly stellar human being. That ties into the grade for today’s review. It has to do with CM Punk, possibly the best wrestler in the world today, as evidenced by his now million selling t-shirt that claims just that. Every time Punk comes out to the ring, he kneels down, dangles his fingers into the entrance ramp, mimicking the movie Gladiator. He then screams the Thing’s catch phrase. “IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!”