Rating: 3/5 – This Tribute to the Lee/Kirby Thor Needs to Kick It Up a Notch
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
Valhalla Mad seems to be Joe Casey’s loving tribute to Lee & Kirby’s Mighty Thor. The main three characters come to Earth from their Asgard-analog realm of Viken to participate in ‘The Gluttonalia’, a bacchanalian fest of consumption that focuses in this issue on drink, but could conceivably move on to feasting as the story progresses.
The main 3 characters seemed to me to be analogs for characters from Marvel’s Thor mythos: The Mighty Thor = The Glorious Knox, Volstagg the Voluminous = Jhago the Irritator, Hogun the Grim= Greghorn the Battlebjorn. Casey’s story in this first issue didn’t have enough meat on the bone for me (or perhaps I should say not enough mead in the flagon). Knox, Jhago, and Greghorn come to New York, engage in some mild heroics, drink, interact with the locals a bit…and not much else. Casey’s dialogue was a pitch-perfect recreation of Stan Lee’s pseudo-Shakespearean from early Thor comics. Paul Maybury’s art seems to be channeling Jack Kirby by way of Michael Fiffe. That isn’t a bad thing, I enjoyed the style used for the main characters, but there was a lack of background detail in many panels that could have been enhanced to give the story more of a feeling of place.
Casey and Maybury lent the issue a definite feeling that it had been plucked out of an earlier time in comics with just enough of a modernization in dialogue and trappings from the residents of New York to give it a bit more appeal to current readers. That said, I didn’t feel like I got a sufficient chunk of story in this debut issue to make me really want more. Not a lot of forward story momentum, what we got was mostly atmosphere. Fans of stories with a retro Lee/Kirby feel may enjoy this for those attributes alone and this may read better as a collected edition. As a standalone #1 issue, this was OK, but not something I put down and thought “Wow! I really need to get my hand on issue #2.”
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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