Ragnarok #4 marks the fourth installment in a series that has only recently received my attention. That said, there’s a few hidden charms in this title that might not seem obvious from outside, with Ragnarok #4 being a prime example of just what it has to offer.
The official description from IDW:
Beyond the Forest of the Hanging Dead, Thor encounters the Village at the End of the World and its guardian, an armored Troll. He and the Troll exchange favors, and Thor comes to envy the dead, as the tale of the Last Day of the Gods is told.
Despite the title, this series is all set after the aforementioned Ragnarok, and feels more like a ‘Heroes Journey’ of sorts. Thor, the main character, roams from event to event, while other side arcs seem to link hidden strings together and build up a much stronger mythos. Its early days, so it never gets too deep, but thats not always the point. This issue wraps up a singular arc within itself, presenting a nice narrative that easily moves the pace along and provides just enough to keep people interested.
Walter Simonson’s greatest appeal here, as writer, is the way he adds an old-school fantasy atmosphere. The main hero is quiet, stoic and reserved. This isn’t about being big and splashy. In fact, this only makes those elements appear all the more heightened, as readers aren’t simply spoiled with all manner of visual action. It helps add to the dead sense of the world, with Simonson teasing just enough to hint at bigger things to come.
Visually, this isn’t my preffered art style, but it certainly doesn’t hinder the title. Walter Simonson’s pencils have a sense of action and fluid dynamic that easily translates to the page, but the skethy nature reminds me of comics from the late 1990s. Still, its good to see a Thor that follows a more traditional aesthetic, making a stark difference to the ever-evolving equivalent at Marvel. The same goes for a lot of Simonsons design work – similar to writing, he keeps the setting realistic where possible, making the fantastical all that more believeable. Through in some decent colors – visually impressive without being over vibrant – from Laura Martin and you have a decently rounded package.
In short, this series is showing a lot of promise. As I said, its early days and the title’s taking its time to ramp up the main plot, but its not letting this get in the way of good storytelling as it goes.