Thor and the Warriors Four

Thor and the Warriors Four
Marvel Comics
Written by Alex Zalben
Art by GuriHiru

In my efforts to turn myself into a Thor fan, I recently picked up Marvel’s digest reprint of a mini-series from earlier in the year, Thor and the Warriors Four.

Many know the stories of the Thor’s heroic battles alongside the Warriors Three — Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg — but few know the story of Thor’s battle alongside the Warriors Four, better known as Power Pack!

I seem to recall Power Pack from a very long time ago, when I worked in a comic shop in West Virginia.  Four siblings, in age from about five to about twelve, with super-powers who form a super-hero team.

Thor and the Warriors Four opens with the Powers siblings — Alex, Julie, Jack, and Katie — learning that their grandmother is hospitalized and soon to die.  The siblings cope with this in different ways, and Julie is given a book of Norse myths to help her.  She reads it, and discovers a story about the magical golden apples of Asgard that keeps the gods young and energetic, and she believes that if Power Pack can reach Asgard and acquire one of those apples they can cure their dying grandmother.  And if they can find Thor, they can find Asgard, and if they can find Asgard, they can get the golden apple.

When you’re about ten, that kind of reasoning makes perfect sense.

Soon, Power Pack find themselves in battle alongside the Pet Avengers, led by Frog Thor.  While Frog Thor isn’t Thor, he does send them in the right direction of Asgard, and what follows is a downright fun story that involves a convoluted plot by Loki, Beta-Ray Bill (whom the youngest Power Pack-er, Katie, prefers to call “Thorse” — he’s “Thor as a horse,” so of course he’s Thorse), a logic puzzle that wouldn’t be out of place in an Indiana Jones movie, Baby Thor, Beta Ray Bill rocking an afro, the Midgard Serpent, and Ragnarok itself.

I really had no clue who Power Pack was; in spite of a two-page splash explaining their origins and powers, it doesn’t really matter what their powers are, just that they’re four very determined young kids who don’t want to see their grandmother die and who have a pretty wild adventure and learn a lot of things along the way.  As for the book’s take on Thor, it falls pretty clearly outside regular 616 continuity; it’s set in the present day, Thor’s costume is modeled on the JMS-era version, but Asgard itself and the cosmology hearken back to the Simonson-era.  There’s the mythic sensawunder, there’s epic sieges by Frost Giants, there’s mighty halls and stone floors, there’s the Midgard Serpent; in other words, if you want a mythic Thor, an epic Thor, you’ll find that in Thor and the Warriors Four.

This was an incredibly fun — and funny — read.  Dialogue all rings true, Beta-Ray Bill gets some great reaction lines (and poses), and there’s even an “I say thee nay!”  The artwork from GuriHiru Studios is delightfully cartoonish, but also incredibly vibrant.  Whether they’re drawing Frog Thor or an Asgard overrun by Baby Aesir or a hospital room with a dying grandmother, Thor and the Warriors Four is pleasant — and pleasing — to look at.  It’s a really solid book, all the way around.

As an all-ages book, come next summer, when Kenneth Branagh’s Thor hits theaters, Thor and the Warriors Four will be the Thor book to hand the young and budding Thorphile.

Recommended.