Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Prelude (A Graphic Novel) by Marvel Comics; Illustrator: Lan Medina

A precursor to the movie
(Thor: The Dark World, 
movie release date: Nov. 8, 2013).
Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

    Marvel's Thor: The Dark World Prelude (Graphic Novel) was released on October 29, 2013. So, why am I reviewing a graphic novel? First, because I love all sorts of books, everything from hardbound, paperback, electronic books, CDs and audio books, to comic books and graphic novels. To me the actual form is unimportant (I LOVE what's on the inside!). OK, folks, you can help me out with the answer to why I am reviewing a graphic novel. I know you can. All together now, "Sharon . . . LOVES . . . BOOKS!" Yeah! You did it...thanks for your help.

    I know it's silly, but really, with the subject matter at hand, I'd really love to have fun today reviewing the graphic novel. So, I invite you to take a little fun excursion with me in reviewing the book. The second reason for reviewing this graphic novel is that I see a real opportunity to review for you a story that will soon be on the big screen. Thor: The Dark World is to be released to theaters on November 8, 2013. Of course, since the graphic novel is released less than two weeks before the movie, I think we can assume that it's suppose to be a teaser, a tantalizer, so to speak, to help the public get all tingly and excited for the upcoming movie.

     So, to get us started, please enjoy the short trailer so that after viewing it, we will have some "Thor" images in our mind that may help us consider the images in the graphic novel. Here it is, Thor: The Dark World trailer:

     So, the graphic novel--let's begin with the cover, since it's the first thing we see. Thor is firmly planted in the center of the image. He is in focus, with the background slightly blurred or out-of-focus--this is done so we will concentrate on the in-focus image of Thor. Our eye naturally wants to look at the more focused parts of the image. The blurred background implies movement (as does Thor's cape, though it is in focus). With Thor in focus and the background blurred, we feel as if Thor is solidly planted on the ground (even though we don't see his feet). The impression is one of being immovable. Powerful. Unbeatable. Men want to be him, women want to have him. 

     Notice the repeat of the red color on the Avenger logo below the photograph and the "Marvel" logo above the photograph. These repeats of Thor's red lends a continuity to the photograph without being distracting or jarring. The red helps to frame Thor and reflects a little color into his face making him appear real flesh and blood, not cold and distant. Red is a high energy color, implying that we have a dynamic hero with energy to burn. Thor's hair colors are repeated in the lettering above, as is the white color in the lettering to the white accents in the photograph (subtle use of white). Well-done image. Balanced in all respects and visually appealing. Sorry, folks. My photography background has led me to get carried away, here. 

     The cover is heavy paper (like cardstock) and the pages are glued into the cover. None of the pages fall out and seem to be firmly anchored into the cover. I had one graphic novel do this [Hercules: The Thracian Wars by Steve Moore]; it is just so disappointing when the publisher can't be bothered with putting the book together correctly. So, anyway, the Thor graphic novel appears well-constructed. However, the better constructed graphic novels I've purchased are bound with hard covers; I prefer the graphic novels be created this way. Even so, I can't fault companies that use card stock, as it is an acceptable form of cover.

     The synopsis is both easy and difficult. Easy, because the book consists almost entirely of previous story lines. We get the plot from the first Thor movie. We get the plot from The Avengers movie. What's difficult is what's left: a few pages of new material that can be surmised if you have watched the two movies.

Thor's Hammer, Mjolnir.
     SPOILER ALERT (NOT MUCH OF ONE, ANYWAY): At the end of the Avengers movie Loki was sent back to Asgard in handcuffs--here we see he's thrown into the "dungeon" to supposedly never see the light of day again. (We could have guessed that. But we already know from the new movie trailer he will join forces with Thor to fight a common enemy.) Jane writes off Thor because she saw him on TV with the Avengers saving Manhattan and he never even contacted her after he got back to earth. (Again, not really a spoiler, because the new trailers of the Thor: Dark World show that. We also see in the movie trailer that she will forgive him.) And lastly, the nine realms are threatened because of the destruction of the bifrost and the Asgardians must use the tesseract and unite to fight their enemy. (Not really that much of a spoiler if you watch the movie trailer.)

     A novel has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I was planning on giving you a story arc, here, but really, there is no need if you have seen the two movies, Thor and The Avengers.

     Basically, I was very disappointed with the graphic novel.

     Good points, first: I liked the cover photography used, it was very well done. The binding is good and the pages stay bound. The art work is wonderful, as is the artist's use of color. I really loved the Illustrator's (Lan Medina) graphic sense, skill at rendering the images, and wonderful use of vibrant color! ...all positive good things.
This page is from the Thor:
Dark World Prelude.
It is
the first of 26 pages of a
new comic, advertised
inside Thor:
Dark World Prelude
     Negative points: My biggest complaint first: This graphic novel was marketed as a prelude to what happened between the Avenger's movie and the new, to be, movie, Thor: The Dark World Prelude. I counted a total of 11 pages of new material taking place between the two movies. And, if you look at what happened between Thor and the Avenger's movie, a few pages of new material. With the total pages in the book at 120 pages, this is woefully inadequate for new material.

     Since this book was marketed as a graphic novel, I expected a whole story line from the end of the Avengers to the beginning of Thor: The Dark World. The pitiful amount of new material isn't even really new because the trailers advertising the new Thor: The Dark World movie give away almost all of the new material in the graphic novel.

     Second criticism: Graphic novels are novels (with a beginning, middle and end), no advertising (unlike comic books), and are more lengthy than a comic book. Here, Marvel gave us the condensed Thor and Avenger's movies in one graphic novel. If I had wanted those, I would have gone to the comic book stand. Additionally, 26 pages of the book is taken up with a brand new comic called, "Thor: God of Thunder, THE ACCUSED, Part one of five." I would much rather have seen the 26 pages used to flesh out the Thor: The Dark World story. I didn't buy this graphic novel to read a new comic I didn't want in the first place.

     Did the Graphic novel achieve its goals? I think so, I mean, it got me to spend $9.66 on it--that's got to be a great profit margin for Marvel for simply repackaging its Thor and Avengers material. I was so excited about this graphic novel, and now after having examined the book, I just feel ripped-off.

Would I recommend this book?  Sorry, folks. After all the excitement and looking forward to a great book, and really wanting to write something terrific, here, I regretfully have to give my first ever thumbs down.


2.5 Stars out of 5.

Series: Thor (Graphic Novels)
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Marvel (October 29, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0785153780
ISBN-13: 978-0785153788
Dimensions: 10 x 6.5 x 0.3 inches

Until next time...
White Rose.
...many happy pages of reading!


http://www.amazon.com/Marvels-Thor-Prelude-Graphic-Novels/dp/0785153780/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382378727&sr=8-1-fkmr2&keywords=thor+dark+world+prelude+volume+1 - Marvel's Thor: The Dark World, Vol. 1, cover from Amazon; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1981115/ - Movie release date from IMDb; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npvJ9FTgZbM - Thor: The Dark World Official Trailer HD; https://www.google.com/search?q=thor+comic&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=nCxwUpLzMemQjAK0lIHQAQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1092&bih=741#es_sm=122&espv=210&q=thor+hammer&tbm=isch&facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=Q53tbjWYBw2dZM%3A%3BE13WFtcrOJor-M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fih1.redbubble.net%252Fimage.12736486.6991%252Fsticker%252C375x360.png%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.redbubble.com%252Fpeople%252Fkorikian%252Fworks%252F9476991-thor-hammer%3B375%3B360 - Thor's hammer; http://www.amazon.com/Hercules-The-Thracian-Wars-ebook/dp/B009HB0R10/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383084917&sr=1-1&keywords=hercules+the+thracian+wars - Hercules: The Thracian Wars; http://www.amazon.com/Marvels-Thor-Prelude-Graphic-Novels/dp/0785153780/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382378727&sr=8-1-fkmr2&keywords=thor+dark+world+prelude+volume+1 - About the book; https://www.google.com/search?q=two+and+one+half+stars&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=whtwUoaGAajmiALX3oDgAg&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1114&bih=727#imgdii=_ - Two and one half stars out of five; https://www.google.com/search?q=white+rose&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=63BlUrKNBKi0iQLn8IHwDQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ - White Rose.