By Kevin Mahadeo
Month after month, writer Roger Langridge wields the mighty Mjolnir and rains fun and excitement down upon readers with THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER, which casts the Asgardian adventurer in all-ages modern day adventures.
The series, with art by Chris Samnee, revamps the early appearances of the hammer-swinging hero, eliminating his Donald Blake persona and featuring a slightly amnesiac Thor attempting to discover why exactly his father banished him to Earth. The Thunder God quickly meets and befriends Jane Foster, his first adventure involving saving her from the hulking villain Mister Hyde.
Only four issues in, THE MIGHTY AVENGER has already featured appearances by Thor's fellow Asgardians Loki and the Warriors Three, as well as Giant-Man and The Wasp-and Langridge promises even more to come in the coming months.
The writer took some time to talk with Marvel.com about the series thus far, developing the Jane and Thor romantic relationship, plus appearances by the Fantastic Four and more.
Marvel.com: What's it been like presenting this fun new take on Thor in THE MIGHTY AVENGER and what about this all-ages, fun take appeals to you the most?
THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER #2 cover by Chris Samnee
Roger Langridge: Well, the word "fun" in your question is an enormous clue! I'm very proud of the fact that it's a book you can jump into cold, without any prior knowledge of Thor or the wider Marvel Universe, and I think that probably makes it seem less like "hard work" to a lot of readers. I'm hearing from a lot of lapsed super hero comic readers who are picking up the habit again through this book, which is quite a thrill. It seems to me that that's what super heroes are all about: something to excite your imagination and enjoy yourself with.
Marvel.com: Jane Foster plays a very big role in the series. In a way, the story plays out from her perspective as much as if not more than Thor's. Why did you make that decision?
Roger Langridge: I thought it was important that, at least initially, we experience Thor as others do in order to get the full impact of what it might be like for someone living in a small town to suddenly find this magnificent being from another world walking in their midst. Seeing him through Jane's eyes seemed to be the best way to do that. We can imagine being Jane far more easily than we can imagine being Thor. For Jane, and for us as readers, the day we meet Thor is the day everything changes!
Marvel.com: Something I really like is that you're also taking time to focus on the Jane and Thor relationship, something that hasn't been around for a while. What do you like about their dynamic? Do you have a
favorite scene between the two that you've written already?
THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER #3 cover by Chris Samnee
Roger Langridge: [Writer] Mark Waid has talked about how, when he was writing Thor, his way in to the character was to focus on the relationship between Thor and Odin; that was the thing he related to, the idea of being a kid who can't ever be good enough to please his Dad. My way into the character is different. The part that connects with me is the idea of being a stranger in a foreign land, somehow broken and incomplete, and being made whole again by embracing humanity-in Thor's case, the love of a mortal woman. In the early 90's, I arrived in London, 12,000 miles away from my family, resigned to the life of a cartoonist being forever alone-ah, the melodrama of being in your 20's-and met the woman I later married and with whom I started a family of my own. So that's essentially my story, too. Thor's lost more than his family, of course, he's lost his entire world. He has to make the Earth his home now, and Jane is there to help make him whole again. Of course, the stakes are bigger-he's Thor, for Odin's sake!-but that relationship is the thing about Thor that resonates most strongly for me.
Favorite scene: I think people will like the end of issue #6, I really do. Of the bits we've seen so far, that mad night in issue #1 when they really met for the first time is something I'm quite proud of.
Marvel.com: We recently saw Loki enter the book and we saw flashes from the other gods of Asgard via Thor's dreams. Will you be slowly bringing in more of these characters as time goes on?
THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER #4 cover by Chris Samnee
Roger Langridge: Yes, we've definitely got more Asgardians on the horizon, both on Earth and closer to their home. We're building up to some big stuff involving Asgard at the end of the first year-and that's all I'm telling for now.
Marvel.com: We've also seen mentions and appearances of other heroes from the early Marvel Universe, such as Tony Stark via a news program and a full issue with Giant-Man and The Wasp. What are some of the other characters you're planning on bringing in? Is there anyone you're just dying to have guest star?
Roger Langridge: Coming up, Iron Man, the Sub-Mariner, the Incredible Hulk, and a very special adventure involving Captain America! Between these guys and the appearances we've already had by Captain Britain, Giant-Man and The Wasp, I'm amazed we've had any room for Thor at all. As for characters I'm dying to include, I do like the Fantastic Four a lot. Maybe in the second year. And there are some villains I'd love to play with: The Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime, Arnim Zola, The Mad Thinker. Too many toys, not enough pages.
Marvel.com: Off of the previous question, you're playing in a very early version of the Marvel Universe. What do you like about that? Does it give you a chance to really show the classic take on these characters without the heavy continuity behind them?
Roger Langridge: Absolutely. Like I said, it's a book for people who either have zero familiarity with Thor and/or the Marvel Universe, or people who have been away from it for a really long time. So the "classic" take seems entirely the right way to go. Minimal catch-up required. Also, it kind of has to be an early version. We start off with a world without Thor at the beginning of issue #1, so presumably there are no Avengers yet, no Captain America. This version of the Marvel Universe is growing before our eyes. And if Thor is only one of a handful of super-beings, instead of one among hundreds, it makes him that little bit more special, too.
THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER #5 cover by Chris Samnee
Marvel.com: I definitely want to hit on artist Chris Samnee. He definitely brings a really good sense of fun and action to the series. What do you like best about his style? Is there a character that you particularly love his take on?
Roger Langridge: Samnee's amazing, isn't he? He can do anything. He draws like Alex Toth crossed with Jordi Bernet. And he's about 12. Okay, he seemed like a young 'un the one time I met him. He may be a grandfather for all I know. It's hard to single out a favorite element because he's the full package: dynamism, rock-solid drawing chops, great acting, great storytelling, attention to detail, the works. The works, I tell you. I'm very, very pleased to be working with him, in case you hadn't noticed. I really, really like his Sub-Mariner, but everyone looks great.
Marvel.com: As a final question, what do you have planned for the future of the series? What are some of the villains and stories you can tease that we'll be seeing?
Roger Langridge: More from Loki! Big robots! Trolls! A sinister criminal mastermind! Heimdall! Balder! Sif! What exactly happened to Thor's memory! And, would you believe, King Arthur?
THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER #6 cover by Chris Samnee
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