‘Asgardians Of The Galaxy #8:’ Love, Death, and Team-Ups

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Asgardians of The Galaxy #8

From MAJK’s Coffee Corner: 

Asgardians of The Galaxy #8 made my week last week. The Asgardians popped into The War of The Realms (quite literally) where we found love, death, and insane action.

There’s also the solidarity of the team, which, I think, even surprised Angela.

Annabelle, Throg, and even Thunderstrike all have moments that remind the reader that Midgard is their home and everything near and dear to them is facing utter destruction. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a just a sentimental issue. There is plenty of action. In the heat of battle, we see some incredible and unusual team-ups (*hint hint Marvel* the Punisher / Executioner team-up would make a great mini-series).

Asgardians of The Galaxy #8 reminds us exactly what it is about humanity that makes Midgard a place even displaced Gods are willing to fight to keep free. The number of great cameos during the heat of battle make it clear why Malekith had to gather the forces of nine other realms before daring to attack Midgard. There is much to love in this issue and, with War of The Realms #2 out today, you can keep going.

Spoiler Warning: If you have not read Asgardians of The Galaxy #8 or War of The Realms #1 There May Be Spoilers Below


Creative Team: 

Publisher: Marvel     Written: Cullen Bunn     Art: Matteo Lolli

Colors: Frederico Blee     Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit     Cover: Gerardo Sandoval and Antonio Fabela

Above: Asgardians of The Galaxy #8 Main Cover 

This is one of those times when I like the standard cover much better than the variant.

No offense to Phil Noto for his nice work on the variant cover. I just really love the Sandoval / Fabela cover. Angela is every bit the fierce fighter at the center of the action. I’ve read arguments that her right thigh looks too thick. My take: that’s due to perspective and the insane poses women on comic covers often perform. Seriously, you try standing/crouching like that for five minutes.

Another factor is that the shadow covering her knee messes with the optics. Add to that, Angela is a no stick figure and her thighs are going to have some muscle to them. Overall, she looks great.

Moving on, I love Valkyrie’s expression. It’s as if she is assessing her foe and finding them lacking. Thunderstrike’s look is far more mature than in the interior, but it’s still a great look on him. He’s grown a lot in the series.

I really have nothing bad to say about this cover. If I had a niggle, it’s that Skurge looks a bit more like a Samurai Warlord than a Norse giant but I’m not sure I dislike that look. It suits him.

The Story So Far: 

Asgardians Of The Galaxy #7 saw our team in rough shape. Yes, they managed to save the planet (something humans haven’t yet accomplished), but it was a bittersweet victory. Angela and Sera chose to go their separate ways for the greater good.

Kid Loki was dismissed by the real Loki (possibly because Loki sacrificed himself for Freya). He said his private good-byes to Angela in a heartbreaking moment of familial love. He might have been an annoying little brat at times but aren’t most younger siblings?

A Fool with a Death Wish

Our team lands on the remains of the devastated Asgard. Remember, they now possess the Naglfar Beacon.

I’m excited to see how a weapon of that Magnitude comes into play during The War of The Realms.

Angela seeing the destruction that her home has endured immediately worries about the beacon being secure. Urzuul lists off all of the ways he’s secured said beacon and that “only a fool with a death wish” would attempt to access it. That’s when Heimdall saunters up, carrying both the beacon and a shard of the Rainbow Bridge that was used to power their ship.

Well, so much for security.

Heimdall is gathering all of the shards to rebuild the Rainbow Bridge in order to eliminate the advantage that it’s destruction gave Malekith. Heimdall also unloads the bad news: Midgard is under attack, and remains the only realm not under Malekith’s control. Heimdall creates a portal to send them to Midgard to join the fight. As they leave, he tries to tell Annabelle something he has foreseen but she cuts him off.

I can understand Annabelle – your home and everything you love is in danger, you’re going to be less interested in prophecies than in fighting.


You Meet the Strangest People

In Manhattan, the war is raging full force and our Asgardians hit the ground fighting.

Unfortunately, Thunderstrike, Throg, and Annabelle have more on their mind than the fight in front of them. Captain America’s compliment to Thunderstrike is a sweet moment mid-fight but Thunderstrike has no time to bask. He’s got other things on his mind, like saving innocents.

Spidey assures him that civilians are being evacuated as fast as possible before getting distracted by Throg. Spidey apparently appreciates the cuteness of Throg. The next several pages are so action-packed you’ve got to see them to really appreciate the scale.

Annabelle discovers that, with Kid Loki gone, she no longer can use the Nova helmet. Enter Valkyrie.

We get a way cool moment between Black Panther and Urzuul. T’Challa has always had an appreciation for tech weaponry, so I can imagine when this is all over that he’ll introduce Urzuul to Shuri. Just picture those two collaborating.

Also that Punisher / Executioner team-up combo I told you about – yeah, it’s epic. Skurge with a machine gun back to back with Frank Castle is everything.

Dear Marvel, make this happen!

Your People Have Croaked! 

Asgardians of The Galaxy #8 is certainly action-packed but there’s a lot of character development too.

The bulk of the issue is narrated by Annabelle but we get a brief and heart-wrenching interlude in which Throg returns to his people. The horror that meets his eyes is almost too much. At that moment, when Throg realizes he has failed his people, he acknowledges that he is unworthy. I got a bit misty-eyed at this part. Only a callous, cold, animal hating monster wouldn’t be touched by Throg’s realization and declaration of vengeance.

Keep this in mind, next time you make a frog angry.

Love is Bigger than Anything in Its Way

My favorite part of the story is Annabelle and Ren.

It’s no secret that I’m pretty invested in Annabelle as a character. Here she is a brilliant, brave, but basic human on a team with Superheroes and Gods. Sure, her body is host to the fierce and fiery Valkyrie Brynhildr, but who wants to be a glorified timeshare? Even the Frog has more mystical mojo than she does. Yet, it’s Annabelle’s human qualities that make her a hero. Throughout this particular sequence, I kept hearing the U2 song in my brain. Reading this while listening to it – highly recommended.

Mid-fight, Valkyrie loses control of her host to Annabelle, or so it seems. Annabelle leaves the fight, frustrating Angela, but Thunderstrike has Annabelle’s back on this. He calls Angela out on having done something quite similar. Even the look on his face says he is proud of Annabelle’s choice. He’s come a long way from being “That guy.”

Skurge, too, understands and sends Thunderstrike to keep her safe. Angela begins to rage about “Midgardians” and Skurge pulls her up short, reminding her that they are Asgardians now. The team has solidified beautifully.

Annabelle finds Ren, who is holding her own against a pack of Dark Elves by… dancing? Yes, you read that right. Ren is slicing Dark Elves to ribbons by dancing. The reunion is tender and sweet but short-lived. Anabelle’s theory on how she wrested control of her body from Valkyrie is great. I’m betting we discover she’s right.

It will have to be after we discover where the heck Annabelle has been transported to and who those women pointing swords at her are? Are they enemies or reinforcements?

Asgardians of The Galaxy #8: Art & Writing

Cullen Bunn is rocking this story. It’s engaging and he’s elevating a bunch of lesser-known characters. I’ve already raved about the team-ups because the chemistry of the characters makes perfect sense.

With so much happening in an event this big, it amazes me that all the panels still came across well and didn’t feel crowded. All the elements of cinematic greatness are here (hint hint Marvel / Disney make this happen): Lovers reuniting, strangers coming together to defend their home, a pissed off frog of thunder, Frost Giants, Dark Elves, fiery beasts, explosions, and flying shrapnel.

Lolli handles the art for this issue. It’s good to see him back. The monumental splash pages with intensely detailed action contain so many moving pieces that it takes few minutes per page to just absorb it all. The line work is consistent and detailed which is important given that you have a bunch of iconic heroes doing cameos. His work on the Annabelle / Ren close-ups was exquisite. The detailed expressions deepened the emotional impact.

Blee’s work on colors gives life to Lolli’s kinetic art. The colors blend exceptionally, with the texture and tones giving the battle segments an incredibly dynamic feel. This is exactly what you need when in a massive battle like The War Of The Realms. There are bright and powerful colors with shading and tones that give us depth not only in terms of physical perspective but in emotional expressions. Think comic art is easy? Just try drawing a pissed off frog in the middle of an epic battle scene.

Speaking of pissed off frogs, Petit’s lettering was key to the Throg interlude working well rather than coming off as silly. The difference narration between the Annabelle and Throg segments ensures we stay in the moment. The font in Throg’s interlude set it apart, taking what could have been a comical segment and giving it a more serious undertone. Throg’s internal dialogue and self-admonition come off forceful and it works. Petit’s lettering also helps lead the eye through the high-action scenes, such as when characters have conversational moments. This contributes volumes to the atmosphere of this battle.

MAJK’s Age Recommendation for Asgardians of The Galaxy #8

Despite the epic battles, the violence is very cartoon-style and not extreme. The most horrific moments occur during the Throg interlude. I feel comfortable recommending this to a twelve and up audience but would warn those sensitive to animal violence to proceed with caution.

Next Issue: May 22, 2019

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