January 2011 begins with a bang as a new four-issue limited series, THOR: HEAVEN & EARTH, delves far and wide into the God of Thunders stomping grounds. Writer Paul Jenkins drew us a map to explain the series' unique nature.
"THOR: HEAVEN & EARTH is a series of one shots designed to illuminate the mystical nature of the Asgardians," he says. "We're dealing with concepts such as faith and belief in higher powers. In these four issues we don't always provide answers, but we often allow the reader to ask questions. After all, who am I to make decisions about the existence of higher powers?
"The impetus for this series was the four-story collection I did in the CAPTAIN AMERICA: THEATER OF WAR series. I feel-and I think my editors do [as well]-that my strengths have always been in single-issue stories. I'm embarking on a series of tales that-fingers crossed-will allow me to flit around the Marvel Universe and tell different self-contained tales about the various wonderful characters there. Much like Jeph Loeb branded his series with colors, mine is branded with contrasts."
THOR: HEAVEN & EARTH #1 kicks off close to home for Thor, perhaps even a bit too close for comfort.
"Our first story deals with Thor's antagonistic relationship with his half brother, Loki, and it is set around the time of Ragnarok." Jenkins notes. "I think Loki is a tremendous character who does not always have to be painted with one color. Yes, he creates problems and, of course, he is the God of Lies. But what if lies are not always bad, and what if, as Loki says, is not necessarily an end but also a new beginning? I feel the best villains are the ones who provide a compelling justification for their aberrant behavior, and Loki is great at that!
"We will also certainly show the Asgardians' feelings towards their fabled home. In fact in the first issue, titled 'The Day Before Winter,' we're showing the gods at a time of upheaval where Asgard itself may be ready to collapse."
The writer states that the series includes a multitude of familiar and not-so-familiar characters, ones he hopes the readers embrace and enjoy in these singular spotlights.
"During these four stories we get to see the embodiment of the Red Dragon of Wales, a subject dear to my heart," he says. "And we'll also see the return of a character Mark Buckingham and I made popular in our Spider-Man run a number of years back. I'm not saying it's Typeface; I'm just saying..."
The amazing artists on THOR: HEAVEN & EARTH include Ariel Olivetti, Mark Texeira, Pascal Alixe, Stephen Segovia and Steven Sanders.