|THOR #604 cover by Billy Tan|
With a name like "Doom," you'd think the Asgardians would have enough sense to stay away.
Balder recently relocated Asgard to Doctor Doom's home country of Latveria; writer Kieron Gillen and artist Billy Tan bring Doom's relationship with his newfound neighbors front and center in THOR #604 on December 3.
As to just what Doom gains from allowing Asgard to reside within his borders, Gillen explains that forming an alliance with a city of gods has its tactical advantages.
"Well, generally speaking, [Doom gains] a first-line defense of powerful cannon fodder against anyone-i.e. everyone with any moral sense-who may want to invade Latveria," the writer elaborates. "More specifically, he likes them because of what they are. Doom is a scientist whose areas of interests cross the natural and the supernatural, the scientific and the magical. Doom is interested in seeing what he can learn from them and [dragging] the heavens down to Earth. [Of course] when I say 'learn from' I don't mean anything vaguely civil. I'm talking 'Guinea Pigs.'"
According to Gillen, the average Asgardian sees Doom as "'that guy in the iron mask I saw talking to Balder and Loki,' at best.
"If the average Asgardian knew much about Doctor Doom, they would never have come to Latveria. Here, the Asgardians, despite all their ancient history and nobility, are the equivalent of people who can't locate Afghanistan on the map. They don't follow the news, metaphorically speaking. And they're going to learn the peril of being in a society that's so inward-looking."
When they finally learn of that danger, it will fall on Thor to give them a hand, despite his current state of exile.
"Thor does what Thor has to do," Gillen says of the Thunder God's motivations for helping his homeland. "It's one of the many reasons why he's a hero. He'd save Asgard even if they'd actively betrayed him. It doesn't matter whether they've cast him out, they are still his people and
|THOR #605 cover by Billy Tan|
"And there's the other thing coloring all this: I suspect Thor would have done exactly the same thing if the places were switched with Balder. The law is the law."
Beyond Thor's exile, Gillen will also pick up on a number of other plotlines established by outgoing writer J. Michael Straczynski.
"I'll be picking up from them directly," Gillen specifies. "JMS left the series in an exciting place, and I pick up barely thirty seconds from where he leaves it at. As those of you who've read THOR #603 will know-and, for Odin's sake, why not?-Loki has been helping Doom in some particularly dark and traitorous acts. The after effects and implications of those acts power [my] first three issues, in a somewhat explosive style. More generally, the emotional straits the characters find themselves in is something I'm following on from. Thor as exile. How the crown of Asgard sits awkwardly on Balder's brow. The repercussions of the mortal/divine love affair of Bill and Kelda. Heimdall having those splendid star-filled galaxy eyes. Expect to see lots on all of that."
THOR marks the second series that Gillen will write featuring a divine protagonist, as he also currently pens DARK AVENGERS: ARES, issue #2 on sale this Wednesday, November 25.
"There's a little [similarity in writing the two characters], but the context changes a lot," notes Gillen. "My Ares [series] is about a sole god and how he interacts with a load of mortals. At least half of Thor's cast [is] gods. This changes the timbre. How gods interact with other gods is a different thing from the culture-clash between a guy who fought in the Trojan Wars and a bunch of modern grunts. In fact, in terms of the Latverian scenes, we've reversed that dynamic. Doom is the odd man out, and the bitterness that he shows towards their deities is absolutely key to what I'm trying to do with it."
|THOR #606 cover by Billy Tan|
"Billy Tan is drawing his heart out on this. I think we're both highly aware of what big shoes we're filling, and bringing the proverbial A-game. I almost don't want to tease anything else. Suffice to say, stuff happens within the first six pages that'll have people dropping the comic and hurrying to the Internet to type in glorious capitals. We come out swinging."
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