Marvel Knights: Thor & Loki Blood Brothers

Actors: Daniel Thorn, David Blair
Directors: Joel Gibbs, Mark Cowart
Producers: Ruwan Jayatilleke
Format: Animated, Color, DVD, NTSC, Widescreen
Language: English
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Shout! Factory
DVD Release Date: September 13, 2011
Run Time: 72 minutes





I’ll just come right out and say it: motion comics suck!

They essentially constitute someone reading a comic book to you and showing you the pictures, robbing you of the visual dynamic while offering nothing in return. Thor and Loki Blood Brothers benefits from a beautiful palette and a compelling story, but its lack of action gives us no reason to spend money on it instead of the original comic.

The good news is that it’s a very good comic. The “Thor” part of the equation is quite disingenuous; we focus almost entirely on Loki and an existential quandary that proves scarier to him that any magic hammer. We open with Loki usurping the throne of Asgard, casting Thor and Odin into chains and claiming the crown for himself. He finally gets everything he wanted . . . and then learns that he can’t stand it. The god of mischief needs an authority figure to defy, and when he himself becomes the authority figure, it takes a lot of steam out of his stride.

For the better part of an hour, we follow him in this quandary, evinced by beautiful dialogue from comics writer Robert Rodi and delivered with relish by actor David Blair. It gets into surprisingly deep stuff, including the old fate vs. free will question and the idea that Loki really sees himself as the better option than Thor.

Unfortunately, all of that pondering remains completely internal: great if you’re reading, but frustratingly static on the video screen. That fundamental flaw dogs Thor and Loki from the first scene. The imagery invokes Esad Ribic’s artwork from the comics quite well, but the computerized animation jars badly with his rich oil colors. Thor himself hardly appears at all, lending the suspicious sense they they’re cashing in on the recent live-action movie here, and as a further step into the Thor mythology, it remains surprisingly limited.

The meaty nature of Rodi’s story saves it from being a total waste of time. On the other hand, why experience the story in this bastardized version when the original comic is still readily available? The extra six dollars delivers the tale in a far more appropriate format and eliminates the frustrating sense of motionlessness that dogs the DVD from beginning to end. Let Kenneth Branagh handle the moving version of these characters; the story we see here belongs firmly in another medium.

THE DISC: The disc has a bare spate of extras: some behind-the-scenes material and a trailer for the piece. The most rewarding is a conversation with Rodi in which he discusses the genesis of the story.

WORTH IT? Not unless you absolutely cannot find the original comic book. Considering that Amazon has it on discount, that shouldn’t be too hard.

RECOMMENDATION: Thor vs. Loki features a solid story that finds much better expression elsewhere. Even completionists can probably give this one a pass.

- Rob Vaux



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