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By Marc Strom
Even the gods have their family squabbles.
Writer Matt Fraction, with artists Patrick Zircher and Clay Mann, brings the epic story begun in THOR: AGES OF THUNDER and continued in THOR: REIGN OF BLOOD to a thunderous climax in THOR: MAN OF WAR #1, on sale November 26.
The previous two one-shots, which featured Thor in a more mythological context, laid the groundwork for an epic brawl between the God of Thunder and his father, all-seeing Odin, in the newest special. Fraction sums up the conflict at the core of his story in rather simple terms:
"[It's about] the tensions between sons of a certain age and fathers of a certain temperament," the writer explains. "And the powers of myth and the price of youthful arrogance that eventually gets paid. But doing it all in the same big, epic, insane scope of the past two specials."
For Fraction, the antagonistic family dynamic between Thor and Odin in his specials represents their relationship "not just in Marvel history, but in the actual Norse myth."
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"We've seen how and why Odin cast Thor out in THOR v1 #159," he remembers. "This cycle of specials honors that, and enhances it. The story, across all three [specials], is [about] why did Odin cast Thor out of Asgard, and force him to become mortal? What in the world could Odin's son have done to deserve that? In a way, it's a prequel to Marvel's own Asgard cycle, I guess."
While Thor and Odin's relationship has certainly taken up a chunk of Fraction's story, he's also focused his attentions on the Enchantress, a character who has only infrequently taken center stage in the past.
"The goddesses of the Norse myth cycle are critically important, but I always felt like they got second-shrift in the Stan [Lee] and Jack [Kirby] glory days," Fraction reasons. "So I wanted to find a way to tie some of my favorite Norse myths into the Stan and Jack stuff. Rather than retrofit either minor characters or introduce new ones that somehow we'd never heard about, it made sense to me to graft these Norse stories onto Enchantress, to make Enchantress the nexus between those two different strings. My favorite thing about the Stan and Jack stuff is how they so
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brazenly rewrote and reworked the source material as they needed.
"And, hey, look at her. She's an amazing Kirby woman, with one of the best designs in comics. Why not try to put some meat on those bones, as it were?"
Fraction's story, which spanned almost 20 Ragnaroks in the first two specials, will continue to jump forward in time in the third, something which the writer had a couple of reasons for.
"The Norse myth cycle is precisely that—cyclical," he notes. "It ends with the seeds for the next cycle to begin. And I knew we were going to have a throng of different artists so I needed some reason for each chapter to have its own look and feel. The idea was that these stories are timeless and repeat themselves infinitely."
THOR: GOD OF WAR #1 rumbles into stores on November 25. Check out more Thor on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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