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"Ages of Thunder" Thor

Marvel Universe
by Rustin Parr

I stopped reading comics monthly about five years ago, and in doing so started to lose interest in Marvel, who was up until that point my preferred universe. As a result, when Hasbro announced Rock of Ages Thor as an exclusive for San Diego Comic Con 2010, I thought "what's a Rock of Ages? Isn't that a JLA story? Oh well, Thor is cool, I'll get it whatever that means" assuming it to be a pretty cool costume. Well, I was wrong on both counts ("Rock of Ages" is a JLA story, this figure is from Ages of Thunder, and the costume is just goth Thor) but I still got the figure.

There was a time when the cracks of thunder rolled across ancient battlefields, calling men to war. This was the call to arms of Thor, ancient god of thunder. He was the master of the storms that whipped the North Sea into frenzied whitecaps and drove the Norsemen to conquest. He was their strength and their armor. In the millennia since, Thor has turned his eye to the protection of all mankind, rather than the patronage of a select few. He wields his hammer as a defender of Earth, and protector of the weak, calling down the fury of his storms on the evil that plagues mankind.

Thanks, cardback. That is a general description of Thor, but anyone who bought this Comic-Con Exclusive already knows what a damn Thor is - what's an "Ages of Thunder!?" Well, the inclusive kindness of the internet instructs us that Ages of Thunder is a graphic novel by superstar Matt Fraction which incorporates the Marvel verion of the Norse gods into the classical Norse mythology. Since the mythology is cyclical in nature, the idea is that while this is our Thor, it's our Thor outside of any established continuity so this story informs character but doesn't directly affect story. Hence we get a familiar but different costume, designed by artist Patrick Zircher.

Clearly this figure was produced to hype up next year's Thor movie and to tie in to the Thor Movie Hype that Marvel spread across the con like the bountiful and potent V.D.s of a tropical port's lone hooker amongst the crew of a ship. But seeing as Iron Man got his own line this year and it's been implied/confirmed Cap and Thor will get similar treatment next year, why put this figure out at the con? Maybe it was needed to balance out the 100% new sculpt of WW2 Cap or maybe they wanted to save the cooler outfits for retail, but either way this is an odd choice of a figure whose slot would have been better slotted to Iron Man 2 or otherwise more interesting figure. Not only is the costume dull, Ages of Thunder Thor is basically just a repaint. Thor uses Thunderball's body from Series 1 of the Secret Wars Comic Packs, with the Series 3 Comic Pack's Thor's calves (aka boots). This gives us a 4⅝" height, including the helmet wings, and 18 points of articulation, the same of the aforementioned figures and fairly standard to the Marvel Universe format.

The upper torso is retooled with a peg hole for the left cape button to plug into (the right is attached to the belt wrapping around the torso and plugs into the cape). The belt/loin cloth and cape are new sculpts, as is the head. The head, at least, is the best looking of the three Thor heads Hasbro has yet to release under the 4" banner. The rest is just paint. And while good, it's nothing exciting - basically just heavy black washes on the gray legs and tan boot straps, with gray drybrush on the black shirt.

The arms and neck have a very peculiar heavy light-gray wash. I suppose it's a sylistic thing accurate to the book art but it just looks odd and cadaver-ish. There is a very, very thin wash on the face of either white or gray; just enough to be there, but very subtle. The cape has some black airbrushing which helps keep it in tone with the rest of the figure. Thor does come with Mjolnir - how could he not? - but even that is a very dark repaint of the hammer from the Comic Pack.

Like WW2 Cap, Thor came with the standard Marvel Universe SDCC Exclusive packaging, which means card art by Joe Quesada (oooh, aaaah...), reflective silver and a flimsy slipcase featuring the same art. Though it's fully expendable, I like the slipcases, actually, they help add to the perceived value and, more importantly, make it much easy to pack the figure into a bag or box to get the figures home (and when you shop at SDCC in the volume I do, that's a pretty big concern).

When it comes to collecting, I fall more on the completist side of things. However, Marvel Universe is a more "pick'n'choose" line for me. I am pleased to have this figure, though more for looking forward to additional costume variations of Thor. Ages of Thunder Thor looks good in a group but as a standalone is pretty disappointing.

-- 10/04/10

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