The X-treme Holofoil Edition- Thunderstrike #1
- Published on Wednesday, 16 March 2011 01:00
- Written by Jordan
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Thunderstrike #1Creative Staff:
Script & Plot- Tom Defalco
Pencils- Ron Frenz
Finished Art- Al Milgrom
Lettering- Rick Parker
Color- Mike Rockwitz
Thor has an odd history. During the Bronze Age, he was briefly bonded to a man named Eric Masterson, much like how Thor and Donald Blake were bonded. Their adventures were grand and epic, but eventually Thor decided to return to Asgard. In his place, though, Thor handpicked Eric as his replacement. In the place of Mjolnir , Thor has Odin forge a new weapon: the enchanted mace, Thunderstrike. Striking out on his own Thunderstrike aims to help people all the while struggling with new powers, his life and his commitment to hold up the honor of Thor. These adventures were chronicled in the series, Thunderstrike. The subject of this week’s review is Thunderstrike #1. It is a microcosm of the 1990’s. It has the replacement of a classic Silver Age character for a more edgy, modern character; features some wonky art; 90’s character designs complete with mullets, single earring wearing men, and sleeveless, leather jackets/vests; it has a special foil cover; and it has a character named Bloodaxe.
Thunderstrike #1 follows the titular hero as he tracks a series of carjackings and at the same time protecting them from an Asgardian powered vigilante, Bloodaxe. Thunderstrike easily deals with the carjackers after they taken down his ex wife’s new husband in the streets. Thunderstrike catches the carjackers in their hideout and places them in prison.
This in turn, angers the villainous Blood Axe. The Asgardian vigilante breaks into the cell of the carjackers and slaughters them in cold blood. This attracts the attention of the police and Thunderstrike.
Thunderstrike, with the police closely behind, follow Bloodaxe’s trail to the Carjackers base. They arrive just in time to stop Bloodaxe from slaughtering the petty criminals in a fit of crimson rage.
It is during the bout with Bloodaxe that Thunderstrike quickly learns that Bloodaxe is not a fan of his style of putting the criminals in prison where they can just escape again. He believes that the criminals must pay for their actions with their lives.
Thunderstrike, being the hero that he is (or at least trying to be), does not let Bloodaxe have his way. It is during the fights that he learns some unfortunate news; he is nowhere near the power level he was at during his term as Thor and when he possessed Mjolnir, instead of Thunderstrike. Bloodaxe uses this difference in power to quickly overwhelm the much weaker Thunderstrike, but before he could take the new hero’s life the leader of the police force scares off Bloodaxe with a warning shot.
Eric quickly growing tired of being called Thor and fearing of ruining the legacy of the real Thor decides that he needs to do something about it. He comes to the realization that running around in Thor’s old costume is not helping the case of mistaken identity.
Eric seeks out a costume designer to give him a new look. He reinvents himself as the lightning bolt earring-wearing, ponytail rocking, leather jacket/vest loving Thunderstrike.
While on a date, Eric discovers that the carjackers have been realesed from prison and that his ex wife’s husband has gone after the carjackers to seek revenge for being attacked in the streets earlier. Eric races off to save him from the gang and the possible threat of Bloodaxe. Just as predicted, Bloodaxe arrives but not before meeting the newly reinvented Eric Masterson in his new costume and with a new style of fighting. Eric changed his fighting style to suit his weaker power level (not visible in the comic, though).
With a change in style, Thunderstrike is able to disarm Bloodaxe and take the villain down. In order to protect the civilians and to keep Bloodaxe from further harming anyone, Masterson confiscates the axe at the end of the battle.
When asked what his name was, Eric quickly goes with Thunderstrike. Marking the first official time he goes by that name in the comic.
The comic attempts to introduce new readers to the character of Eric Masterson and his relation to Thor. It does so with several flashbacks to Thor along with reminders through Masterson’s thought balloons. These are successful to a degree, but the endless streams of thought balloons are annoying. This is the flaw of the comic. There is not a page that goes by without the characters spewing thought balloons and the third person narration explaining what goes on. The writing should guide the story and provide dialog not tell everything that is going on in the comic. The art should be the storyteller.
The thought balloons would not be so grinding if it was not for the characters were so, for the lack of a better term, whiny. The entire issue is filled with Masterson going on about how hard and difficult it is to be a hero. He is always whining about his fear that he would not live up to Thor’s legacy. While this is characterization and used in characters before (especially with those assuming the roles of more famous heroes) but when that is all he can think about and it fills up page after page it gets frustrating. It was as if the writer was being paid by the word (he might have been, not sure). The panel shouldn’t be full of text. It is a book of sequential art, let the art shine.
Speaking of the art, it was…okay. It is wonky in some spots especially during the flying scenes, backgrounds, and a few fight scenes. It is odd that the artist was able to capture the classic Jack Kirby look of Thor considering the entire book was done in a different style and line weight. It looked like a swipe but you can be the judge of that. With that said, the art was okay throughout the issue and provided something solid to base the first issue of a new ongoing on.
Thunderstrike would end after only 24 issues with Eric Masterson’s death in the last issue in an act of heroic sacrifice. The mystical mace, Thunderstrike has returned recently in the pages of the Thunderstrike 5 issue mini-series. Its wielder is the son of Eric, Kevin Masterson. Thunderstrike (Kevin) also appeared in the little known Marvel Comics 2 (MC2) universe. The universe is a bizarre world that is what would be if the 90’s kept going forward. Defalco, the writer of Thunderstrike, wrote it so it is only natural that Thunderstrike is in the MC2 universe.
In conclusion, Thunderstrike is a rare microcosm of the 90’s in comics and quite abundant in the bargain bins in local comic shops. Pick it up if found in the dollar or less bin, but other than that pass on this title if found. It is a weird moment in Thor history but ultimately forgettable.
The X-TREME Holofoil Edition X-tra!
This cover features a unique foil pattern that gives the illusion of a lighting strike. Kind of cool, but really dates this comic. If you find it in the bins you would immediately think 1990’s. Still a unique cover design and I wonder how well it worked in making the comic pop to the new readers back in 1993.