Review – Beta Ray Bill #1
Published by: Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 31st, 2021
The second-most famous wielder of Mjolnir. The right-hand man to the god of Thunder. And now, a warrior without his best weapon. Beta Ray Bill is tired of playing second fiddle to Thor—and with Bill’s famous hammer, Stormbreaker recently destroyed at the new All-Father’s hands, tensions are higher than ever. The Korbinite must strike out in search of a new weapon…and a new destiny. Assuming he can first defeat a Knullified Fin Fang Foom!
The issue begins with a welcome recap of Beta Ray Bill’s origin as chosen protector of his people, the Korbinites. His horse-faced cybernetic exterior is now permanent due toThor destroying Stormbreaker. Without it, Bill can’t revert to his original Korbinite body. Making the best of his situation, Bill accepts Thor’s offer to serve as Asgard’s Master of War.
Writing and Artwork
I’m combining art and writing in the review as Daniel Warren Johnson does a stellar job as a one-man army in this issue. The rough edges of the artwork, all scribbles and fast flow. His style of art is both quirky like Skottie Young but also takes the best of the 60s and 70s style of Marvel comics. You feel the dejection of Bill towards the end and the flashbacks to his origin add another level. Not sure why Hook is playing on the monitor of Scuttlebutt but who and I to question?
During the King in Black event (something I’ve been avoiding as I’m bored with symbiotes), Knull possesses Fing Fang Foom and sends the toothy dragon to Asgard to wreak havoc. Despite his best preparations, Sif and Bill are unable to defeat Foom and a timely intervention from All-Father Thor saves the day, leaving a dejected Bill with an understandable sense of failure and isolation.
This is added to during the victory celebrations when Lady Sif entices Bill for a little bump and grind. But when Sif find out that Bill is stuck in his form she quite horribly rejects him in the worse way possible.
Johnson’s writing maps seamlessly to his artwork and while some artists struggle to take up the keyboard (see our review of Wonder Girl 1 as an example) he adds pitch-perfect narration and speech to the book. I’m glad that King in Black was almost a second thought in this issue as he’s far too annoyingly taking over every Marvel title at the moment.
It’s hard to be the Betamax to VHS and here we see the Beta Ray not able to match Thor. BRB was always a kind of one trick pony (ahem) but here he’s the most prominent and human character. I give Johnson a solid 4 stars for a Dennis Waterman style write the theme tune, sing the theme tune!
If you’ve enjoyed this review of Beta Ray Bill #1 then perhaps you should ask your local shop if they have any left.
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