When I was really young I absolutely loved Spaceballs. (Spaceballs, The Reference!!!!!!!!) Surprisingly though I never really related to Lonestar. I was a Dark Helmet fan through and through and I could never figure out why everyone treated him so badly or why things always seemed to go wrong for him. To me he was just a misunderstood middle manager with a super demanding boss and a crew full of incompetent underlings.
(ok… most of that isn’t true… the truth is I really liked the helmet.)
At this point, you might not be surprised to learn that my family really didn’t like spoofs. In fact, as a child, I’m pretty sure the only spoofs I ever watched were Airplane and the aforementioned Spaceballs. This reduced spoof diet from my childhood has left me with little love for the idea of spoofs for spoofs sake. A spoof needs to be about more than simply making jokes for me to be entertained. I need plot, character, caring, concern, something… and that’s what made my choice to review Joe Casey’s new comic spoof Valhalla Mad an interesting one.
In Valhalla Mad writer Joe Casey and artist Paul Maybury bring Thor to… (oh wait that’s right, it’s not Thor)… So “Not Thor” (otherwise known as Knox) comes to Earth with his warrior companions “Not Volstagg” and “Not Fandral” after many years of absence. Upon arriving on earth they set about saving an airplane from destruction and then commence to begin a gluttonalia by engaging in a pub crawl and then… well… that’s really it. (Sounds like a really interesting plot, huh?)
Since Valhalla Mad is heavy on jokes and short on those other things I told you about at the beginning of this review that are so important to me, you are now no doubt expecting me to destroy it.
It’s true, I can’t tell you what this story is about. I can’t tell you why you should care about “Not Thor” and his “Not” friends. I can’t even tell you that the jokes were all that funny because honestly the best they got out of me was a chuckle. However despite his lackluster plot and character development Casey has hit upon an idea that I find interesting, he has taken the concept of the immortal god and asked himself what would actually happen if Thor came to earth once a generation. How would the people of earth respond to these god like visitations and how would those same gods view the changes that occur here on earth, would they be impressed by what built in twenty or thirty years or would they be disappointed? By engaging with this question Casey manages to make this silly new comic book of his more than a simple spoof of Marvel Comics and into a commentary on human beings and the rules we place upon ourselves as a society.
3.5 out of 5 Stars (and more like 4.0 out of 5 if you really like spoofs)
[Editor’s Note: Our apologies to esteemed staff writer, Desmond Hassing, for leaving this article in the incubator for so long.]