The one thing I hate about big crossover events like War of the Realms is that they are usually all but impossible to follow unless you’ve already been reading all of the associated titles. And yet, somehow, everyone’s favorite books become another book entirely for three months, as guest writers mischaracterize characters they aren’t used to handling and the on-going storylines of the regular writers are derailed for three months.
We’ve all seen this happen too many times to count, but War of the Realms #1 is the exception that proves the rule. Despite not having read any of Jason Aaron’s work on Thor in several years, I didn’t have any trouble getting into the story of this first issue and catching up on The Saga So Far, which is quickly unfolded within the first few pages with surprisingly little exposition and characters telling each other things they should already know.
Here’s the short version; Malekith, king of the Dark Elves and longtime enemy of Asgard, has been spending the past few months forming an army of darkness made up of every other Thor villain you can name. (Plus quite a few you probably can’t!) This army has worked-up a Number Six on all the realms, a whampin’ and whompin’ every living thing that moves within an inch of its life. The battle against them has broken Thor’s hammer, shattered the rainbow bridge, Bifrost, and left most of Asgard’s warriors seeking refuge in a brownstone in the Bronx. Now the battle has come to Manhattan, with Earth’s mightiest heroes all that stands between an army of giants and sorcerers and total destruction.
The artwork fully captures the scope of this grand concept. Artist Russell Dauterman fits an amazing amount of detail into every page without things feeling cluttered as a result and the colors by Matthew Wilson are brilliant and eye-catching throughout. This is a gorgeous book, plain and simple.
Jason Aaron’s script is on less firm footing. While he writes the Thor characters perfectly and the action sequences are well-handled, his dialogue for some of the characters seems a little off. Spider-Man, for instance, makes a crude joke that seems a little more appropriate to Wade Wilson than Peter Parker.
Despite this, War of the Realms #1 is good for what it is – a sprawling battle to conclude a grand epic. Don’t expect much in the way of deep characterization and you won’t be disappointed. This is a book about heroes fighting monsters, plain and simple, but it’s a good book about heroes fighting monsters.
War of the Realms #1 releases on April 3, 2019!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.