Comic Book Review: Ultimate Thor #4

Cover Art for Ultimate Thor #4

Story: Jonathan Hickman
Pencils: Carlos Pacheco
Inks: Dexter Vines, with Jeff Huet and Jason Paz

In a Nutshell

Thorlief Golmen, the European fellow who believes that he’s Thor is actually the latest reincarnation of the Thunder God. And Dr. Donald Blake turns out to be Balder. Crazy, right? But all these twists make Ultimate Thor #4 a very interesting read for this week.

All this time, the European Union Super Soldier High Command has been designing a new outfit for Thor. One of their scientists has also created a portable power unit capable of weather manipulation and even teleportation. Initially, the size of the machine was a problem. But at Thor’s suggestion, the scientists worked around this little snag by incorporating the machine inside a huge hammer-cum-axe, reminiscent of Beta Ray Bill’s hammer except the new one is made from what looks like indestructible steel.

Eight months later, the latest reincarnation of Thor – along with the newly reintroduced version of Captain America – has become the most recent addition to the Ultimates. And it does not take long for Thor’s deeds to get noticed. The Americans, through the versatile Nick Fury, tries to recruit the God of Thunder. At first, Thor says no.

Meanwhile, back in Germany, an old man named Helmutt goes to Norway and uses the long lost Asgardian runes to open a portal that frees Loki. In short, Loki has returned as a god while Balder and Thor have been reborn as mortals. As evil looms, Thor eventually reconsiders Nick Fury’s offer. And the first order of battle for the new Thunder God is none other than the Incredible Hulk, who now has stamped out Iron Man and Captain America.

What's Cool

  • This issue blew my mind off. Awesome finish for Ultimate Thor series.
  • Excellent cover art by Carlos Pacheco and Dexter Vines.
  • Eye-popping color work.
  • Now, I know how Loki got out of the Room with No Doors, one less loose end for me to puzzle over.

What's Crap

  • The timelines in this issue can be confusing, moving forwards and backwards. Damn, the comicbook spine has been worn-out in one sitting.
  • I still love Thor with his classic Mjolnir and not with a hammer combined with an axe blade.
  • Thor authoring books and involved in speaking engagements? C’mon!

The Bottom Line

Ultimate Thor #4 is a fitting finale for the series. As a matter of fact, I think issue #4 is the best in the series. It’s just fun to read and Carlos Pacheco’s artwork… well, it brought down the house. I can’t wait for a new collaboration between Jonathan Hickman and Carlos Pacheco.

Comic Book Review: S.H.I.E.L.D. #5 – The Forgotten Machines of Nikola Tesla


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Cover Art for SHIELD #5

Story and Art: Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver
Colors: Christina Strain
Letters: Todd Klein

In a Nutshell

First off, reviewing this comicbook is not easy. Frankly, I had to re-read the previous four issues because I have already forgotten what the story is all about. You see issue #1 was released around the first half of 2010 and now the series is only in issue #5. So here goes…

Since the beginning of time, S.H.I.E.L.D. is the one organization that has taken upon itself the safety of the human race against the known and unknown. At present the High Council of the SHIELD is ruled over by the immortal Sir Isaac Newton. But Leonardo Da Vinci’s return has challenged that leadership. Da Vinci wants a more enlightened rule as opposed to the domineering control imposed by Newton. The fight between these two great men goes way beyond egos. In reality it is a clash of ideologies, between hope and fate, with eternity on one side and the end of the world on the other.

In the middle of all these, a young man named Leonid is poised to receive the higher calling of leading the SHIELD, after all he is the eternal dynamo or the source as Da Vinci puts it. Leonid’s father, known as the Night Machine, had planned to destroy the Immortal City, the seat of the SHIELD. Two stalwart SHIELD agents stopped him. These were none other than Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards (fathers to Iron Man Tony Stark and Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards, respectively). But Stark and Richards – along with Night Machine – disappeared in the explosion that ensued in the fight.

Now, Stark and Richards find themselves six hundred thousand years into the future. And their only chance to come back is to find and save the Night Machine, who’s revealed to be Nikola Tesla.

What's Cool

  • Nikola Tesla as the latest addition to the great men who played major roles in SHIELD’s history.
  • SHIELD car used by Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards in 1951 reminds me a lot of the one used in Men in Black. I have always been amazed by old clunkers that transform into space-age vehicles at the push of a button.
  • Very impressive artwork, very striking character facial expressions and vivid color work.

What's Crap

  • Storyline is moving at a slow pace.
  • Reading this comicbook can give you headaches, if you haven’t read previous issues.
  • I think the story about the evolution of helium into oxygen and the resultant comparisons between Da Vinci’s and Newton’s philosophies are a bit forced and heavy for the ordinary comics reader.
  • I find the cover art less inspiring as compared to the first four issues.

The Bottom Line

Honestly, I love the S.H.I.E.L.D. comics series. Story-wise, I find it hard hitting. Imagine human history replete with events that we never heard about in school. The only problem with this comicbook series is the fact that the release dates for each issue are far between. Still, I find SHIELD to be very entertaining. Issue #5 is made more exciting by the fact that another scientist, Nikola Tesla, holds the key that will determine the fate of the world. Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver both deliver in this issue.