A Mighty Tome
♦Tripwire’s editor-in-chief JOEL MEADOWS takes a look at IDW’s Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: The Return of Beta Ray Bill Artist’s Edition, out now…
Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: The Return of Beta Ray Bill Artist’s Edition
Writer/ Artist: Walter Simonson with Sal Buscema
Last year we had The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition which reprinted the first four issues of Simonson’s seminal Thor run plus 360-362. So now we have another mammoth IDW collection that represents The Mighty Thor 349-354 plus Mighty Thor #380 which was finished by Sal Busecma.
Thor is one of the earliest comic characters I read when I was a kid. I would borrow them from my brother and so it is wonderful to see them published again in such a lavish format.
The Return of Beta Ray Bill is the epic story of Surtur’s invasion of Earth after seemingly toppling Asgard and defeating the Norse gods. Beta Ray Bill returns with Thor’s former squeeze Sif from outer space to help out Thor and the Warriors Three to defeat the machinations of the fire god.
This a classic Marvel superhero epic pushed up a notch by Simonson’s kinetic and elegant pen and ink renderings. As with the other Artist’s Edition books that IDW and editor Scott Dunbier have crafted so lovingly, The Return of Beta Ray Bill showcases the grand work of comics master Simonson in a manner that a smaller format just wouldn’t do it justice. There is a scale and drama to his work that very few of his contemporaries are really able to match.
As well as the huge epic, we get a postscript story, Mjolnir’s Song, which is finished by Sal Buscema, drawn as a series of increasingly dramatic single and double page spreads. Even though it isn’t inked by Simonson, Buscema does a pretty decent job of keeping the heart of Simonson’s layouts while adding something new to the art.
The reproductions here are magnificent and yet again, it is the closest way for fans to own the original art without spending thousands. Simonson doesn’t sell his work anyway so that wouldn’t be a possibility anyway.
IDW’s Artist’s Editions are labours of love, edited by a man with a deep understanding and affection for what lies at the heart of comics and Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: The Return Of Beta Ray Bill Artist’s Edition is a magnificent addition to the bowing bookshelves or creaking coffee tables of any aficionado of quality comic story and art. Walter Simonson is a true original. Like the late, great Joe Kubert, comics runs in his veins and it is to IDW’s credit that they are continuing to celebrate his past and future career with collections like this and titles like Ragnarok.
Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: The Return of Beta Ray Bill Artist’s Edition is out now from all good comic shops