Monday, May 25, 2020

Marvel's Thor: Metal Gods, by Aaron Stewart-Ahn (author), Jay Edidin (author), Brian Keene (author), Yoon Ha Lee (author), Daniel Gillies (narrator)

Serial Box, December 2019

Thor and Loki have each had their adventures and made their mistakes. In this adventure, their past mistakes collide and they have a major problem they will have to solve--even if, this time, they have to, however reluctantly, solve it together, and learn from each other.

Many years ago, Thor responded to a request from the government of the planet of Miskandr, to help them put a stop to terrorist attacks from rebels. Thor does so, and upon successful completion of his mission, they give him a crown made of a metal unique to their planet. Thor has lots of such trinkets, and he puts it in his treasure room and forgets it.

Years after that, in the 1980s, Loki steals it, and uses it to boost a musician in the band he's amusing himself with into an apparently major talent. The musician, Sylvain, gets more self-involved and stops believing Loki has anything to do with his success. They break up, and Loki doesn't manage to get the crown back.

Eventually, he gives the task of finding and retrieving it to Zir, a Midgardian who is, for unexplained reasons, immortal and able to change gender. Zir uses, reasonably enough, they/their pronouns.

And one fine day, Thor responds to a call from an old friend of his, a Korean tiger goddess named Horagi. She's angry because young Korean bands are being kidnapped and taken to a performance venue where something is clearly very wrong. She's convinced Asgardian magic is involved. They head off to investigate--and yes, indeed, the impresario of this venue, who calls himself Nihilator, is wearing the crown that Thor hadn't even realized had been stolen.

There's another K-pop band performing there, recently kidnapped, and getting them safely home is even more urgent than getting the crown back. In the midst of their attempted rescue, though, a pirate ship swoops in and grabs them. Thor and Horagi manage to board, and after initial hostilities, Zir, the captain, manages to call a halt to that, and they discover that they have essentially the same mission: getting the kidnapped band home safely, and retrieving that crown so that it can't cause any more mischief.

Zir's crew is very mixed, including two Frost Giants, whom Thor would normally not consider allies, and a young woman who is, in fact, one of the last surviving Miskandrians, whose planet was finally rendered uninhabitable as it got sucked closer to the nearby black hole.

What follows is a wild adventure, including escaping from Nihilator's impromptu attack fleet, a raid on an armory that turns out to be as much a library. (Information is power. In the language of the people who run this institution, "library" and "armory" are the same word.) Thor learns just how terrible a mistake he made on Miskandr, and later on in their adventures, Loki discovers that he can, horror of horrors, cope with needing to be the responsible one occasionally. Along the way we have a major battle, Valkyries, and the awful truth of what Nihilator really is.

It's a lot of fun. Recommended.

I received this Season One of Marvel's Thor: Metal Gods as part of one of Serial Box's Thursday evening giveaways, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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