If you're new to comics, or just haven't read a certain character's comic in a while -- annual's are definitely the way to go. THE MIGHTY THOR ANNUAL #1 is pretty much a perfect example of that and of why that is, too. The issue opens with a conversation between the Watcher (an entity who pretty much "watches" and can see into the future of everything that happens in the Marvel U), and the Scrier. The Watcher reveals he knows of the plans that the Scrier has for Earth -- and these plans have the power to strike a bit of fear into the heart of even Galactus. As least a little bit. But what does this have to do with Thor?
We are introduced to Donald Blake and the narrator explains on the following page that Thor is Donald Blake, and that the God of Thunder voluntarily chose to live amongst mortals. The first scene where we see Blake he is having a cup of coffee with his friend Rachel. I really like this dynamic here --- the first scene opens with these omnipotent, intergalactic beings; and then the story shifts showing the reader Donald Blake -- a God who chose to be a human. It serves as a great metaphor for Thor who is both a God and a human being -- an omnipotent force who strives for simplicity and a smaller existence.
Like I said before, The Watcher sees all -- so it only makes sense that the character would act as the narrator of this issue. The story definitely picks up and moves in a different direction; it doesn't take long before we see Thor thrust in action between the two cosmic entities Galactus and the Scrier. What follows is this really crazy cosmic battle set on a grand scale.
The art in this issue is solid. There was some panels where I felt Thor did look a little bit funny, but overall I thought that the cosmic battle scenes were pretty cool. I like the use of obscure, jagged panels to depict the different characters during the action scenes. Also, really great, vibrant colors in this issue.
If you like inter-galactic battles centered around omnipotent being then you are going to absolutely love this issue. However, if you need your stories to be grounded a bit more in reality (something I am generall a big fan of), then you'll miss it in this issue. Sure we get an introduction to Donald Blake, but he doesn't get a whole lot of panel time. Additionally, this issue doesn't feel that much like a Thor issue as much as it does a Scrier issue; and if the villain overpowers the hero then it just doesn't feel right.
Overall, this is a good issue. I think the thing that stood out the most to me in this issue is the fact that Thor is this great, powerful God -- and you really get that sense in this issue because he is battling these extremely powerful cosmic being. So while it does a great job showcasing the capabilities of Thor as a character and a superhero; I don't think it did a very good job introducing readers to Thor's identity. He does not feel very "human" in this issue, but maybe that's how he was supposed to feel. Overall, this oversized issue is worth your $4.99; particularly if you're into those cosmic battles.