As the Siege of Asgard comes to an end, a new Heroic Age is on the horizon for the God of Thunder, heralded by a brand new creative team -- Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry, who take the reins beginning with Thor #611.
Yet after the threat of Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers, Asgard is in a precarious place among the mystical Nine Worlds of Norse mythology -- and that makes it the perfect time for a new danger to rise. The details are scarce, but only one thing is certain -- this series promises to be big.
To get a fix on what will happen with Thor and his brethren, Newsarama caught up with writer Matt Fraction and artist Pasqual Ferry to talk about their inspirations for the series, what will happen with the human aspect of the book, and to tease what's next for the battered but unbroken sons of Asgard.
Newsarama: Matt, based on the solicits, it looks like this story will examine Asgard and its place among the nine worlds of Norse mythology. For the uninitiated, could you guys tell us a little bit about this World Tree, and how it might impact Thor's homes in Asgard and Broxton?
Matt Fraction: Well, the Asgardian cosmology -- their map, their conception of the universe, is that there's this world tree, a great Ash that connects nine realms, nine worlds. From Asgard to Hel and the seven points in-between, they're all like fruit hanging off of the limbs of this mighty tree. So, to Asgardians, that's the shape of the universe, basically.
And what impact Asgard being on Earth has... is exactly what our first arc is about.
Nrama: A lot of your recent Marvel work has used metaphors to drive storytelling arcs, whether it's the notion of a minority building a nation in X-Men, or the idea of upgrading -- and downgrading -- over in Iron Man. Without giving too much away, is there a similar central metaphor at work here for Thor?
Fraction: Hm. Everybody has gods. Or at least, everybody can look up. Scale is infinite. Um...
Nrama: This isn't the first time you've taken on the God of Thunder before. For you, what's the appeal of a character like Thor as opposed to Tony Stark or the X-Men? And what do you feel is the sort of potential for a book like this?
Fraction: Thor is... well, he's a god, trapped inside of a man, and a man, trapped inside of a god. There's a metaphor there, I suppose.
The potential for Thor, to me, is a cosmic, colossal... bigness. It's the corner of the Marvel U that takes place in the only place bigger than Manhattan, y'know? The gods are as fallible and real and flawed as us mortals are, but the scale is much more amplified. The breadth and depth of stories Thor allows for are just opened up to the extreme.
The potential is limited only by the insane stuff I can think up.
Nrama: Outside of Thor himself, are there any other characters or character dynamics among his supporting cast that you guys have been particularly digging? Could you tell us a little bit about them?
Fraction: Well, Jane Foster is back and sticking around, and I'm bringing in a new guy to complicate her feelings for Blake, Blake's feelings for Thor, Thor's feelings for Sif, and all that noise. I love that romantic melodrama stuff in Thor so I want to bring that back some.
I like how the Asgardians and the folks of Broxton interact, so there'll be more of that. Each side finding these little moments of humanity and divinity in their day-to-day lives.
And we're going to be seeing an Asgard that has to rebuild after Siege...
Nrama: Matt, just in terms of getting a sense of what the flavor of this book might be like -- what kinds of books, music, movies, and the like have you been consuming in terms of influences, or at the very least getting your head into writing Thor's universe?
Fraction: I don't really go out looking for things to influence me. I live on top of a mountain that spits clouds out of the ground. If I need to be inspired I turn on some metal and watch the mist crawl through the treetops. I think about giant things stalking through it. I think about Jack Kirby and outer space... then usually the screaming starts.
I've been reading up on a lot of cosmological sciences, quantum physics, the old Norse myth cycle, and old Thor books that I love.
Nrama: How about working with Pasqual Ferry? As far as we can tell, this is the first time you two have collaborated -- what strengths do you feel he brings to a project like this? Have you ended up tailoring your scripts in any way to suit his style? What's the back and forth been like here?
Fraction: Pasqual is a giant hiding in the skin of a man. I'm writing the Pasqual Ferry book I've always wanted to read. The back and forth has been apocalyptic. He's from outer space. He's not making anything up. He's seen it all and is recalling it with his pen... and the women! Oh god, the women...
Nrama: Pasqual, you've tackled a lot of Marvel characters, like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, but never Thor. Visually, what makes him stand out to you? Is there any particular quality that you've felt really needs to get on every page to make this book sing?
Pasqual Ferry: Well obviously every character has his own concept, that every artist needs to reinterpret trying to give his personal visual. Thor is a character that I really wanted to do, because he's a mixture of very weird concepts. To me Jack Kirby did an incredible design job doing Nordic-pop-ABBA stuff that I really love; besides there is all this cosmic mythologic stuff full of chances to do challenging creative work over....
Nrama: Looking at your blog, Pasqual, you have your "new project designs" up -- and yet, they're all pixelated. You're a tease! So of course, now we have to ask -- could you guys tell us just a little bit about the foes Thor and Asgard will be facing from, as it reads in the solicits, another reality? Are these, like, mirror- or reverse-Asgardians? Or something else altogether?
Ferry: Well, something dark is coming. Very fun dark stuff. The teaser that I put on my blog is pixelated just because I don't want to show anythig until Marvel makes the "official" presentation of the project. But you know, billions of fans have been asking about my next project, so I wanted to give all of them this little gift -- kidding, you know. :)
Nrama: Gentlemen, it's time to test your Thor knowledge a bit -- outside of what you guys are working on right now, is there a particularly "pivotal moment" for the character of Thor that you think has been the highlight of the franchise as a whole? Some bar that you guys are hoping to vault over -- or at least match -- with your new work?
Fraction: Thor and Galactus sit on a moon somewhere and talk about how hard it is to be Galactus -- Thor #168 and #169. That just so perfectly encapsulates the Kirby era for me... I don't think it's vaultable, but it's a high-water mark to keep an eye on... just to see how high the wave can crest...
Ferry: My all time favorite Thor stories are the "Tales of Asgard." Really love all these that are young Thor and young Loki. Simonson's Thor is incredible, solid and fun stuff. What Matt is doing now is high-level, fun, cosmic, mythologic stuff. I think that it will be a classic for sure. I'm really flattered and honored to be there doing the art!
Nrama: Finally -- for those who are still on the fence about you guys' run on Thor -- what would you guys say to get them onboard? Is there any teases you can give us, any moments you are particularly excited or proud to see on the page?
Fraction: Epic space metal. Now in comic form. Think of the biggest thing you've ever thought of. Now imagine Thor hitting it with a hammer while torrents of cosmic blood erupt from the membrane of spacetime. That sound like your thing? Sweet. Us too.
Ferry: Thor will be comic book fun with very, very well-worked plots, with all my energy in doing something spectacular on the art side. I think that this comic will not go unnoticed...