For months now, the majority of my google alerts on the subject of ‘Thor Ragnarok’ have been filled with the same recycled garb about Loki losing his head (as per Michael Oeming’s Thor: Ragnarok series written as part of the 2004 crossover event that was Avengers Disassembled) and the likelihood of this play out on the big screens in 2018.
But um, Walter Simonson?
While I’m sure the True Believers out there still remember Walter Simonson’s (Marvel) take on Ragnarok, it seems the click-bait media (who unfortunately tend to rule those damn google alerts) know only of Michael Oeming’s comic run. They really do love to keep bringing up the separation of Loki’s head from his body. I guess ultimately, the sensationalism makes for more hits.
To be fair, I suppose I can understand their difficulty in sourcing any other reference to the end of Norse days so far as Marvel’s own mythology is concerned. Even if the name “Walter Simonson” gets through to them, try typing “Walter Simonson Ragnarok” into google and you’ll likely find nought but news regarding his new Ragnarok comic series, released by IDW Publishing, and entirely unrelated to the epic saga he once wrote for Marvel.
So let’s shed a little bit of light on his work:
‘Surtur Saga’ by Walter Simonson
Back in the 80’s, Simonson was brought to Marvel to work on Thor, and what came out of his brain was subsequently considered by many as one of Marvel’s best comic runs. Certainly he changed the story of Thor in a way that broke the Norse God from the campy cheese-ball niche he had previously existed in, and [somewhat] returned the blonde beefcake to his mythological roots.
There was some beautiful story-telling in Simonson’s ‘Surtur Saga’ which involved an epic battle against Surtur as the fire demon strove to light the twilight sword and bring about… Ragnarok.
To quote from an article I wrote for ForAsgard.org:
Eventually Surtur is defeated and the crisis of Ragnarok averted. Though this victory comes at the cost of Odin, who falls into the same abyss as Surtur; never to be seen again. (Until he is eventually brought back in a later series, of course.)
If there’s one scene from this comic I’d love to see adapted for the MCU, it’s the moment where Odin plummets into the abyss and Loki – despite all his years of hating his foster-father and plotting against his family – finally cries…
Now let’s quote again from For Asgard and look at Michael Oeming’s Thor Ragnarok written as part of the Avengers: Disassembled cross-over event:
Avengers Disassembled: Thor by Michael Oeming
Unlike Walter Simonson’s take on Ragnarok, which left most of Asgard and its inhabitants relatively intact afterwards, Michael Oeming wiped out everyone.
It begins when Loki obtains the mold Mjolnir was created from, and takes it to the fire demon Surtur with the instruction to create more hammers from it. With the assistance of his own wolf child Fenris, and Ulik the troll, he almost manages to destroy Thor, but the Thunderer uses the last of Mjolnir’s shattered power to transport himself to Midgard, where he calls upon the aide of Captain America and Iron Man. They return with Thor to Asgard, but find the city now in ruins. Few have survived Loki’s attack, for even the army of dead rose out from Hel and played a hand in Asgard’s destruction.
This epic story is as beautifully told as it is devastatingly brutal, but while many are expecting Thor: Ragnarok‘s script writers, Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle, to draw much of their inspiration from this particular comic, there are many elements of Oeming’s story that are unlikely to sit well within the confines of Marvel Cinematic’s PG-rated Universe.
Indeed, while Walter Simonson and Michael Oeming’s stories are fantastic tales which reshaped Thor for years to come, there are aspects to both of them that would not adapt well for the PG-rated confines of MCU’s continuity. Oeming’s particularly, with his love of cleaving off heads and tearing out eyes.
Which is why I find it somewhat baffling that it’s Michael Oeming’s Ragnarok which the media masses most often fall upon, when discussing which comic the Thor 3 writers might draw their influence from. Despite that even Oeming once said (via on his Facebook page) this would be unlikely.
“I’m sure it will be more based on Simonsons but I hope they pick a few things from my run, that would be fun”. – Michael Oeming, when asked whether Thor 3: Ragnarok will be faithful to his story.
I do expect Marvel will draw influences from possibly both of these comic stories, particularly with regards to Loki’s meddling and Surtur as the villain* of the tale.
However let’s not forget that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has created its own continuity, outside of that of the comics. So as with the rest of Marvel’s movies, don’t expect Thor: Ragnarok to be faithful to any particular comic book story. I mean really, would you want it to be? Really?
* Speaking of Thor 3’s villain: I join the masses in picking that Surtur will be the logical bad guy. But I’m hoping the MCU’s take on this will reveal that he’s acting in service to Thanos. A twist much more in keeping with movie continuity. And I’m hoping Simonson’s influence will cause Loki to try and help save Asgard rather than rage against it. Hey, it if happened in comic canon…
Unrelated to the topic at hand but worthy of mention:
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