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Review: Thor #612

Things get complicated down below.

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As Hela relocates the domain of her kingdom to new territory in hell, Thor attempts to enlist the aide of Mephisto himself to aid the Aesir's fight against the death eaters.
 

The Good

Gillen's characterization of Mephisto is the stand-out of this issue. I enjoyed all his lines, especially his interactions with the ever-stoic Thor. His speech was refined, but still streetwise, and I liked how the differences between his personality and Loki's were stressed (how he's able to sniff out a ploy from the death eaters.) Though things get a little confusing (more on that below) I still enjoyed the notion of Valhalla's demons colliding with the demons of a different corner of the Marvel Universe. The results are much more unpredictable than the usual "villains team up against the hero" plot, with varying levels of gray and bartered alliances. And I continue to be impressed by Gillen's command of these characters' more classical speech style.

The Bad

I'll bring this up every single time I see it because it looks awful every single time I see it. Braithwaite is an amazing penciler and the coloring team on this book has great skill, but without inks, their art looks like mud on the page. It kept taking me out of the story and I was wishing for the line work of somebody like Bill Reinhold to tighten this up. Production qualms aside, I also got a little mixed up by all the intersecting mythology. I wasn't quite sure if we were in Hela's hell, or Mephisto's hell, or which sections of which.

The Verdict - 3.5/5

I've been enjoying Gillen's take on this title up until this point, but things have gotten a little muddy in this issue, both in the art and the story.  Mostly, I feel like I would've enjoyed this issue a lot more and understood it a lot better if there had been an inker involved. That might seem to be a small thing to harp on, but any serious comics fan will know how important an inker is and how lacking a reading experience can be without one.