I should’ve known better. After I was less than impressed with Matt Fraction’s first arc on the regular “Thor” series, “The World Eaters,” passing on this volume should’ve been a no-brainer. But continuing goodwill from the writer’s “Ages of Thunder” stories with the character and the fact that I think he’s a decent writer convinced me to pick this up in paperback. Unfortunately “The Galactus Seed” is a lethargic drag of a storyline that has an epic scale, but not the energy to sustain it.
It feels weird to be saying that about a story that has the Silver Surfer and Galactus facing off against Thor, Odin and the rest of the Asgardians. There is a decent story idea here in that has the title character helping to recover the Worldheart at the base of the sundered World Tree. Where Odin sees it as the foundation for a new universe, the Surfer envisions it as something that can sate his master’s hunger forever. Much fighting ensues. Odin headbutts Galactus. Thor punches the Silver Surfer to Mars. Kid Loki uses his wits and subterfuge to save the day. Familiar changes are made to the status quo. The End. Wait, Thor does get a mysterious glowing wound that... really doesn’t do all that much to him. I guess it’s there to set up a subplot, but there’s not much to get me to care about it here.
Though there is some epic action, the pace is so slow that it’s hard to get wrapped up in it at all. This is yet another story that showcases the bad side of decompression, as you get the feeling that the central conflict could’ve been wrapped up in three, or even two issues. Yes, we would’ve missed out on things like the Brigade of Worlds taking on a rock giant, the inhabitants of Broxton deciding that they’ve had enough of the Asgardians, and everything Volstagg. The largest of the Warriors Three is the only thing I’d miss as the verve in his dialogue gives you the impression that Fraction really loves writing him and would probably be more at home in a series focused entirely around his exploits. I’d rather have read that series than what we got here which must’ve felt like an interminable experience to those reading these six issues as they were originally serialized.
I’d like to say that it at least looks great, but the art from Oliver Coipel (and Khoi Pham in issue #5) is a bit of a mixed bag. He’s good with the characters, providing the necessary scale for a character like Galactus, and shifting between the weirdness of Asgard and the mundanity of Broxton. The problem is that Coipel’s art isn’t the easiest to follow at all times. Several times he does two page spreads where the progression between panels lost me for a little bit. This is most pronounced at the climax with Galactus and The Destroyer where I have no damn idea how the latter got the former to back off, but that’s also Fraction’s fault too.
So I’m off the wagon for Fraction’s run on “Thor.” It had potential, but the bits that I like just aren’t enough to compensate for the fact that it’s a thoroughly unexciting read. I’ll miss Volstagg, but not Kid Loki as he’s the focus for Kieron Gillen’s “Journey Into Mystery” which will FINALLY be available in paperback in a few months.