Comic Book Reviews (Week November 15, 2023): The Immortal Thor Issue 4, The Deviant Issue 1, and More!

The Immortal Thor issue 4 review
The Immortal Thor Issue 4 (Image: Marvel Comics)

Welcome to my comic book reviews for this week (November 15, 2023). I will be covering Immortal Thor Issue 4, Something is Killing the Children Issue 34, The Deviant Issue 1, and more!

I have to begin by talking about the amazing The Immortal Thor issue 4 by writer Al Ewing and artists Martin Cóccolo (illustrator) and Matthew Wilson (colors). The opening panels did a wonderful job of eliciting a sense of dread around the threat of Toranos as it hammered home the message that regardless of what was happening he was coming closer and there wasn’t much that could be done to stop him.

Faced with such a powerful foe, it made sense for Thor to call for reinforcements. It was time for him to create a new Thor Corps and every member made sense. This was a battle between Thunder Gods (and adjacent beings). And I can’t wait to see how it will all pan out.

With Ewing also writing Storm in the X-Med Red series, I was interested in seeing how he would handle Ororo being asked for help by Thor while she had pressing matters to attend to on Arakko. As far as my opinion goes, Ewing did a good job, even allowing Ororo to not hold back (for a bit) as she made Thor realize she didn’t appreciate being abducted in such a manner. The scene where she easily surrounded Thor with the immense pressure from Jupiter was amazing. I love when writers made Ororo do more than throw lightning. Her powers aren’t limited to simply controlling the weather.

Thor bringing up the point of how people wonder who is stronger felt meta to me. It was as if Ewing was trying to make the readers realize that when it came to fictional comic book characters, their power levels were dependent on what the story needed them to do. And in a more in-world sense, Thor’s statement linked to how heroes like himself and Storm could face any challenge as long as they had the willpower to do so.

Due to Thor running out of time, I appreciated Ewing making it clear that Ororo didn’t require the hammer to use her powers on par with Thor or other Gods for that matter. Her magical heritage also set her apart from the rest. However, as I mentioned, the story didn’t have time to develop Ororo’s birthright. And so she had to hold Mjolnir for a boost to her physical stats. Ewing also addressed Loki manipulating Storm into holding Stormcaster decades ago. Storm didn’t say much but at least Loki apologized to her.

From what I could understand, Thor’s current plan involved allowing the Thor Corps to take turns holding the hammer (the effects lasted a couple of seconds) during their fight with Toranos. A bunch of Thunder Gods should be able to defeat him, right? Well, I’m not so sure. But I’m excited to find out. And if the previous issues are anything to go by, the art during the finale is going to be epic!

Even though I enjoyed reading The Immortal Thor issue 4, I have to bring forth a complaint. While I do agree with Storm needing to hold Mjolnir to gain the power of Thor due to the ongoing circumstances, I hope certain Marvel writers would consider exploring Ororo gaining divine powerups through her connection with African Gods. I want Storm’s own belief system to be explored instead of relying on Norse mythology and others. It’s similar to Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel gaining strength from a religious source other than Islam. It just feels weird.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

The Deviant Issue 1 review
The Deviant Issue 1 (Image: Image Comics)

The Deviant Issue 1

From writer James Tynion IV with art by Joshua Hixon, if I were to review The Deviant issue 1 in only one word, it would be “WOW!”

I don’t know what I was expecting when I decided to read this murder mystery story set during Christmas time, but I’m glad I did. The narrative has layers and I can’t wait to get hold of the second issue!

The chapter opened in Chicago in December 2023 with our queer lead Michael telling his boyfriend Derek about how he can’t seem to wrap presents anymore. Even though he was taught how to do it, he just can’t seem to line up the different pieces. His inability to do so made him feel something was wrong with him and Michael feeling such a way, more or less, became a throughline in the first issue. And I think that will continue to be explored as the series continues.

Jumping back to Milwaukee in December 1973, we got our first glimpse of the story’s serial killer. Kudos to Hixon for the visuals. Masked serial killers are already scary. Put them in December’s snowy cold and they become scarier.

Coming back to Milwaukee in December 2023, we got to see Michael interviewing an old man named Randall, imprisoned for the brutal murder of two young boys. Now, this is where I realized that Tynion wasn’t playing around when it came to telling a murder mystery involving queer characters. Tynion didn’t hold back when he gave readers a glimpse of Michael’s thought process when he, as a queer little kid, found out about the Deviant Killer and how he liked to have sex with boys. It was the first time a kid Michael had heard about men having sex with other men. It was problematic, but it made a kid Michael feel seen.

As I said, this story had layers to it. The title The Deviant can be interpreted in different ways depending on what happened in the first issue alone. Michael and Randall’s conversation is heavy. And it will make you think. I loved it! 

With Randall sticking to his innocence and an apparent Deviant Killer copycat beginning his killer spree, the second chapter can’t come here soon enough.

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes.

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Something is Killing the Children issue 34 review
Something Is Killing The Children Issue 34 (Image: BOOM! Studios)

Something is Killing the Children Issue 34

From writer James Tynion IV and artists Werther Dell’edera (illustrator) and Miquel Muerto (colors), Something is Killing the Children issue 34 did a lot to stack up the odds even higher against our troubled heroine Erica. I’m not sure how she’s going to survive facing the powerful Duplicitype coming at her while also trying to beat the crazy Cutter. To top it all off, she has to do what she can to ensure Gabi and Riqui come out of the ordeal alive. It’s too much for a single hero to do.

The creative team did an enjoyable job of closing the walls around Erica as her plans fell through and she found herself being the only player left in an action-packed issue. Erica needs to get over not being able to shoot an arrow ASAP!

Does it have obvious queer characters? Yes. 

Recommendation: PICK IT UP!

Project Cryptid Issue 3 review
Project Cryptid Issue 3 (Image: AHOY Comics)

Project Cryptid Issue 3

I was provided with a free digital copy of Project Cryptid Issue 3 for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

The third issue of Project Cryptid featured two short stories. The first one titled ‘The Loveland Frogman Never Did Anything For Me’ was by writer Bryce Ingman. The second story titled ‘Demon in the Pines’ was by writer Paul Constant. The art for both tales was done by Peter Krause with Pippa Bowland doing the colors.

If I were to describe a common theme featured in both stories, I would say it would be the theme of offering help. The first tale was about a man on the hunt for the Loveland Frogman. Turns out, the frog/human hybrid entity never helped the man even though numerous other folks had stories of the Frogman lending them aid in their time of need. Heck! The Frogman even helped a young girl with her Math homework. The man wanted to hunt the Frogman as revenge for not helping him on various occasions as well as sell the Frogman’s body to science for much-needed money.

I liked how the story unfolded and how the man came to the realization of why the Frogman did what it did for others and how the supernatural being’s emphatic nature ended up impacting the man when he’s faced with making an important decision. In a roundabout way, the Frogman came through for him when it mattered the most.

Also, I don’t know if it’s just me, but some of the art during certain panels was giving me hints of Elmer Fudd hunting Kermit.

The second story had darker elements as it followed a married couple, Carl and Edith, in the 1880s as they left Maine for the northwest territories looking for coal to mine. It became very clear that Carl wasn’t a good husband, even hurting Edith when she wrote with her left hand. He also didn’t listen to Edith’s suggestions when it came to camping in the forest because as far as he’s concerned, what could a mere woman have to tell him about living in the wilds?

Things changed for the two when a herd of creatures known as the Gumberoo approached them. The Gumberoo, for some reason, liked staying around Edith and Carl. Also, I think having one of the creatures lick Edith’s left hand was a deliberate decision.

With the cold approaching and Carl being more interested in getting rid of the Native settlement nearby instead of focusing on building a cabin for himself and Edith, I liked how the story progressed as Edith finally put her foot down. This one can be considered a story of self-empowerment as Edith took her fate into her own hands and left Carl behind for a better life.

Though I understand that every short story might not be for everyone’s taste, I do appreciate Project Cryptid introducing readers to creatures, folklore, and entities they might not be familiar with. It makes me want to Google more about them.

Does it have obvious queer characters? No

Recommendation: Pick it up!

Which comic books did you read this week? What did you think of The Immortal Thor issue 4?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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