Comic Review: The War of the Realms #5

We’re back again with Marvels latest comic-book event, The War of the Realms! The God of thunder is back from his battle with the Frost Giants and with his new metal arm, he’s ready for war. The heroes of Earth are mounting their counter-attack, accompanied by their allies from the other conquered realms. War of the Realms issue #5 yet again takes the reader on a trip around the world, at breakneck pace choosing to showcase various heroes rather than stopping to focus on a few. It certainly sells the “war” in War of the Realms but It does lead to some neglection for its main hero and villain.

(This Review Will Contain spoilers) 

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Plot

The War of the Realms #5, written by Jason Aaron with artwork from Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson and, Joe Sambino opens up with Thor himself traveling with the Devil of Hells Kitchen towards a sun. A sun which houses the World Tree. Thor makes use of the World tree to find Malakith but first, a price must be paid. Thor has no problem paying this price and only asks that Daredevil, the man who can hear all, ignore his screams.

We cut to before Thor arrives at the World Tree on Midgard, where the War Angles battle it out with the fierce Dora Milaje and the women warriors of Asgard. Black Panther fights of his home, whilst riding a Pegasus, (which may be the coolest thing from this series so far, just saying) before The Punisher and his army of light elves open fire and light up the skies. I really loved this battle, espcially the almost “A-force like” moment at the start.

We cut to Montevideo as Ghost Rider, Dr. Strange and Spider-Man battle The Enchantress and her army of undead. Again, Spider-Man leading the Spiders of Hel into battle was ridiculously cool. Another great battle, but this time it really shows how weak The Enchantress and the rest of Malakiths forces are. They aren’t particularly compelling as villains and just serves as someone for our heroes to fight.

She-Hulk, Iron-Fist, Luke Cage, Daredevil and the merc with a mouth, Deadpool all battle in Australia fighting against trolls. The Lord and Ladies of Vanaheim along with Blade fight against, the leader of Roxxon Roz Solomon. Whilst each of these battles are cool in their own right, they feel rather disconnected except for one common trait. An almighty storm surrounds each battle, across the globe as lightning strikes and thunder sounds. Seeing Thor fly around the entire world, helping at each battle was a nice way of making up for his absence in earlier issues. He still needs to step up a little more but I liked his inclusion throughout.

We get a small rest from the action as we see Jane Foster and Heimdall talking. Jane knows that one Thor isn’t enough to stop this but is she willing to do what’s necessary to beat Malakith? We don’t get to rest for long, however, before we shoot off to Shanghai, where Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, The Warriors Three and Wolverine battle the Fire Goblins. Quite possibly the funniest battle is up next, with Iron-Man and the War Machine Dwarves (yes, you read that right) battle the Frost Giants in Manhattan alongside the Fantastic Four. Seeing The Dwarves in miniature War Machine suits was the best thing to come out of this whole issue. Like seriously I want an Iron-Man and War Machine Dwarves standalone series now, please.

In London, Captain Britain and Captain America fighting side by side against Malakiths Dark elf assassin’s all whilst the God of Thunder flies overhead to hand out a quick assist.

Speaking of the God of Thunder we go back to present day, as Thor screams in agony burning at the World Tree. He seeks Malakith who has his own surprises up his sleeves. He has not only captured the Venom Symbiote but has also captured Thor’s parents, Odin and Lady Freyja. Honestly as shocking as this reveal was it left a really bad taste in my mouth. Their supposed “Death” last issue was a pretty solid send-off for the characters and after Odin’s previous fake out this just felt cheap.

The issue wraps up with Jane Foster embracing the power of Thor once again, to battle Malakith because one Thor simply won’t be enough. As someone who isn’t a huge Jane Foster Thor fan, I didn’t find this moment truly epic but I imagine fans of the character will love it.

Characters

Issue #5 separates its characters into various different teams all spread out fighting their own battles. Thor consistently shows up but he’s only really a background character in these fights. Out of the various teams, the standouts were the Dora Milaje and the Asgardian Warriors, Spider-man, Dr. Strange and Ghost Rider and obviously Iron-Man and the War Machine Dwarves. They had easily the best moments of the issue and unfortuanlty overshadowed some of the other, more forgettable, teams.

We finally get to see Thor in action, although admittedly not for very long. His various fly-bys in each battle were cool in their own right but felt buried behind the actual battle in the foreground. He gets a pretty serious “level-up” near the end but I still want to see more from the God of Thunder.

Malakith is unfortuanlty very lackluster this issue. Barley making an apperance and when he does he feels like a mustache-twirling cheesy Saturday morning cartoon type of villain rather than a deadly and psychotic antagonist. Malaktih still has potential to be a pretty epic villain and will, hopefully, finally have his long-awaited throwdown with Thor at some point, but in this issue, he did not impress.

Artwork

Once again, War of the Realm’s tale of epic proportions is accompanied by some truly Epic Artwork. Every battle looks unique due to the various locations around the world and the fantasy look of Malkiths evil forces. Every hero is captured brilliantly, easily recognizable amidst all the chaos. Thor even gets a great look too, although its only for one panel.

War of the Realms issue #5 certainly carries on the literal “War” of the realms but doesn’t quite push any of its characters forward. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to love about this issue, the action is outstanding both visual and from a storytelling perspective but I wish they did more with Thor and Malakith. The issue is build up to Thor and Malakiths eventual final battle, and as that it does a good job but it could have done more.