Picked up with Thor #1 (1998)
Dropped with Thor #6 (2008)
I always thought I liked the character of Thor. He was Marvel’s Superman (before the Sentry came along, anyway), and he could wipe the floor with damn near anybody in the multiverse. Even Superman himself, if my high school fan fiction is any indication. I’d always liked Thor as a member of the Avengers, and I absolutely loved his late-nineties/early-oughts series.
But I realized this week that it’s not so much a love for the character, but a love for the stories that Dan Jurgens told using the character. I think the story Jurgens told over his 79-issue run on Thor is one of the best extended runs on a character since I’ve been reading comics. Granted, extended runs in this day and age are few and far between, but I’d rank this up there with the Mark Waid’s Fantastic Four and Grant Morrison’s New X-Men as one of the best runs at Marvel in the last decade. When Jurgens was unceremonoiously booted from Thor in 2004 so that Brian Michael Bendis’ buddy Michael Avon Oeming could Disassemble the title, I was infuriated. Jurgens quite clearly was forced to end his story prematurely, and just so some other guy (who was primarily an artist, for pete’s sake) could come in for six issues and end the series.
When Thor was killed off and his series ended, I began anxiously awaiting the return of the series. I thoroughly enjoyed the Thor: Blood Oath mini-series, and was pleased as punch when I heard J. Michael Stracynski would be writing the new ongoing (this was before…you know). But when Thor finally returned, it was all pretty underwhelming. The new series has certainly suffered from it’s share of delays, but when I was reading the fifth issue this week, I realized that wasn’t the only thing holding the title back. The story just wasn’t that great, and not a whole lot was happening. All Thor has done in five issue is bring five Asgardians back to life and turn Loki into a chick.
Thor really is Marvel’s version of Superman. He’s a cool character, and excels when he’s part of a superteam, but unless there’s a really good creative team working on the character, his solo stories kind of suck. I’m giving Thor one more issue (just so I’ll have a trade’s worth of issues in case I decide to pick the title up again later), but unless something pretty spectacular happens, it will be the last one I buy for a while.