With all of the buzz out there about how great this incarnation of Thor is, I decided to check this series out for myself. Only after I ordered the first few issues, it was promptly cancelled by Marvel due to low sales, which is unfortunate since it hardly had much time to build word of mouth, but that's the way the industry works sometimes (and to be fair, its first issue sold over 20,000 copies (placing #104 for the month) while its latest sold about 8,400 (placing at #186), so it was bleeding readers). My only real issue there is it seems that people who hear about a book tend to buy the collection rather than hunt back issues, so I kind of feel like a book like this, especially for young readers, should have had a chance in another format before it got the axe. The last issue of Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard placed just ahead of Thor, the Mighty Avenger in November at #185, but its collection ranked #15 for the month. Another all-ages title from Marvel, the latest Oz comic, Ozma of Oz #1debuted at a paltry #137 (and for a first issue, mind you), yet the last collection for The Marvelous Land of Oz placed at #18. Obviously the success of the previous books warranted sequels in this series, but it's really the incarnation of collected editions that are doing the selling. Just wanted to get that off my chest since I feel like Marvel isn't giving some excellent books the time they need to build an audience (and buzz) to let a series really take off (I'm still sore about S.W.O.R.D.). It seems even more strange for an all-ages title since books from their Marvel Adventures imprint like Spider-Man (a little over 5,600 sold at #233) and Super-Heroes (about 3,500 units at #276) sold sold much worse and they seem to be banking on the collections selling. Maybe the cost of the talent is factored in there, but come on - is it so much to ask to wait to see the sales for a collection before cancelling it? The announcement couldn't have waited a month, just in case they had a surprise hit on their hands? Doesn't the cancellation of the series deter potential readers from picking up the collection?
Now onto the review. I speak for people who are really enjoying this series more than I am for myself because frankly, I wasn't really blown away with what I read here. I think the best thing about this book is the amazing art by Samnee, and I'm more excited for what's going to come out form this artist next than I am about this book that seemed to put him on many people's radar. This almost read like an "Ultimate" version of Thor, as it wasn't bogged down in continuity and felt really fresh, like a reinvention of the character, introducing readers to a Thor who finds himself on Earth with some lost memories as he tries to retrieve his hammer and go home. Of course being the chivalrous bloke that he is, he picks a fight with a rude villain and comes to the aid of damsels in distress. Much of the story is told from the perspective of Thor's love interest, Jane Foster, in what is a pretty down-to-Earth, a-guy-with-super-strength-is-in-itself-cool-and-remarkable feel to it. It's very basic, but nicely executed. I think it was more the overpraising that left me with a sense of disappointment for this book, but I can't say I was too thrilled to see Thor fight a pretty dull Mr. Hyde - with Samnee's pencils, it seemed like a waste to see Thor fight such a visually uninteresting character. Where's the lightning and magic beams that Asgard brings to the comic? Perhaps this book was just a little too grounded in that down-to-Earth, a-guy-with-super-strength-is-in-itself-cool-and-remarkable aspect that I mentioned earlier that it just didn't have much fire and imagination in the storytelling (at least when it came to the conflict with Hyde). I actually liked the civilian stuff in this book more than the stuff you come to a Thor comic for (like the action), and I think that's what my biggest problem with this book is. But I'm probably being more harsh than I intend to be, because I really did enjoy myself while reading this. If it hadn't been cancelled, I would have picked up the trade...but I think I'll settle for checking out what Samnee has in store for readers next.