Genre: Superhero Comics
Series: Ragnarok Vol. 1
Publisher: IDW Publishers (December 3, 2015)
Length: 148 pages
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Everyone of us has one – a favorite writer. Someone whose creative works we run out and buy whenever something new comes along. Many of us (me included!) also seem to add any new edition of this writer’s previous works to our collection. And we do this because this writer never fails to deliver pulse-pounding excitement, heart-rending terror, or whatever floats our personal boat.
For me, one of my favorite creators is Walter Simonson; his creative runs on Marvel Star Wars, Thor, Fantastic Four, X-Factor, Orion, Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer and many other titles turning me into a lifelong fan of comics. So, whenever I spot his famous signature on the cover of a comic, I always view it as a gift from a true master of the medium, and when I saw Ragnarok with the “Simonson” below a dead dude with a hammer, I immediately got excited!
Could it be true? Was this perhaps a Thor story? Okay, not a Marvel Thor story obviously, but Walter Simonson creating a whole new Norse inspired story? I couldn’t believe it. It seemed damn impossible luck. I had to read this book as quickly as possible.
Immediately, the story sucked me in. Ragnarok playing out before my eyes. The end of the world. The final confrontation between the Norse gods and their enemies. Thor standing proudly before the Midgard Serpent. And then it was all gone . . .
Oh, didn’t I mention that Ragnarok is the beginning of this tale? Oops, sorry. But it is. The end of the world is just the beginning here; the start of a renewal of the cosmos. The world transforming into a familiar but different place. One thing remaining constant however: foul trickery and devious cleverness; these seemingly universal traits leading to the real story of Ragnarok.
The tale begins with a dark elf assassin finding herself caught up in a plot to destroy a being imprisoned at the edge of the world. Her quest not one to her personal liking but forced upon her out of love for her child and a deal with a capricious god-ling. Yet she is an elf of her word, and she would see her mission completed, no matter the personal costs.
Once she confronts the object of her quest yet another clever trap is sprung. One which was planned and put into place by a long dead god; one who wished to cheat the fates and, perhaps, undo Ragnarok itself!
The avatar of this dead gods’ plan is a long dead corpse. Someone who finds himself animated but confronted by the reality that all he knew is gone. Everyone he loved is ashes. He himself is merely a shadow of what he once was. And he has no idea why he has been resurrected from the halls of the dead. Any plan which was put in place kept a secret from him as well as everyone else.
All the thrills, mysteries, brawls, and daring-do spiral out from this set up. The narrative seamlessly shifting from Norse mythology to earth-shattering fights to tender moments of personal grief. One never overpowering the other, but complementing each other. And I found myself ensorcelled by it all, racing along with these characters and events until the wee hours of the dawn.
Honestly, I don’t get excited about many things. I’ve gotten too damn old for much to impress me, I guess. Or made I’ve lost my inner kid. Who the hell really knows.
The simple fact is that few things get my pulse-pounding and wake up that teen boy who dreamed of soaring through the skies holding a magic hammer, but this story by Walter Simonson did. It captured all the amazing Thor mythos and took it in a whole new direction, promising so much more to come.
Mystery. Combat. Emotions. Ragnarok has it all! And you should go get it now, because great stories like this only come around once a lifetime . . . well, maybe, three or four times, but who really wants to put a limit on greatness.