Thor: Metal Gods is published by Serial Box, written by Aaron Stewart-Ahn, Jay Edidin, Brian Keene and Yoon Ha Lee, and narrated by Daniel Gillies. At the behest of his old ally, the goddess Horangi, Thor sets out to help her find some of her people who she fears have been taken off into the stars. What begins as a simple rescue mission will bring Thor, Horangi, Loki and a the misfit crew of space pirates to the edges of not only space, but their very minds.
With Thor: Metal Gods coming hot off the heels of Orphan Black, and after listening to our site’s interview with Serial box community manager Rachel Pinnelas about the project, I jumped at the chance to review it. Especially as Thor was one of the first comic titles I ever got into some 20 years ago.
And even though my history with Thor is long, his presence in the comic landscape is far longer still. With his first appearance coming all the way back in 1962, taking a new approach to the titular Thunder God can be tricky. One needs to make him feel unique enough to be remembered, but not so different that he is no longer Thor and the writing team at Serial Box does a marvelous job of this. Thor is portrayed at his most boisterous and his confidence is befitting a warrior who has triumphed over his foes for millennia. Yet, he is still kind and compassionate. He always seeks to preserve innocents and protect. Just don’t get on his bad side.
That said, because of the aforementioned millennia of life it is often hard to give Thor a genuine feeling character arc. After all, if all these years haven’t already changed Thor, what could now? Thor: Metal Gods delivers an amazing arc for Thor. By confronting him with mistakes from his past the writing team is able to give the Thunder God room to grow. Some truly emotional scenes are driven by Thor’s need to be the best that he can be. Even as what being “the best” may mean evolves around him.
While Thor is handled magnificently, I was not as fond of the approach taken to his brother. Loki is a complicated character. Loki always used to be portrayed as a villain. Though perhaps his motives were more complex than most comic book equivalents, he was still villainous. Lately, however, it feels like people want Loki to be viewed as a villain without him being one. Similar almost to so many pirates we see in movies. Sure, pirates are bad, but we still want to be allowed to root for them. This watering down of Loki hurts the character and even while I feel this isn’t the best iteration of Loki’s larger character, his moment-to-moment banter with Thor is often priceless.
The rest of Thor: Metal Gods cast is handled with skill. Every character, from fierce Horangi, lost wanderer Skarra, to the pirate captain Zia are each impressive personalities in their own right. Every character gets moments to shine and contribute something special to the story.
There really is only one area where the story fails a bit to me. There are moments in Thor: Metal Gods that feel a little bloated. Side tracks that don’t feel particularly necessary, or that go for too long. While there are still good moments within, they felt ultimately unnecessary. A bit of filler to get the episode count where it needed to be. This isn’t a huge problem by any stretch. Just a minor stumble.
While the writing on Thor: Metal Gods is mostly fantastic, all these elements wouldn’t shine so brightly if they were not delivered properly. Luckily there are no worries on that front. Gillies does a masterful job with each character. Voices are distinctive and powerful. By the halfway mark of the story I found myself wishing they would stop wasting time with the lines of “then Thor said” as I never had any problem discerning which character was speaking. Given the broad spectrum of origins and personalities at play here, that everyone character feels so unique and clear is an impressive feat.
The only remaining criticism I have of Thor: Metal Gods lies in its formatting. The story has been broken into 15 episodes. Many of these episodes run for a scant 20-ish minutes. This length didn’t work for me at all. With some episodes comprising of a single scene, I often felt a moment of frustration as the credits began playing. Almost as if I had been unfairly teased with only a partial chapter instead of a full experience.
Beyond a few minor complaints however, I absolutely loved Thor: Metal Gods. It captures its protagonist wonderfully. Delivering fun humor, great character growth, and possibly the coolest Mjolnir moment short of Cap’s weilding it in Avengers: Endgame.
Thor: Metal Gods is available now from Serial Box.
Thor: Metal Gods
It captures its protagonist wonderfully. Delivering fun humor, great character growth, and possibly the coolest Mjolnir moment short of Cap’s weilding it in Avengers: Endgame.