Story by Jason Aaron
Art by Esad Ribic
Colors by Dean White
Letters by Joe Sabino
Cover by Esad Ribic
$3.99 / 32 pages / Color
Published by Marvel Comics
Arriving like a blow from the hammer of the god himself, Thor: God of Thunder #1 is here to wreck lesser comic books like so many wayward Frost Giants.
It’s difficult to talk about this book without spoiling the particulars, but I’m going to do my best. Thor would ask nothing more of me.
In a story that unfolds in Thor’s past, present, and future, Thor: God of Thunder #1 is at once a giant Norse action-adventure and a dark murder mystery. And it’s kind of ingenious in its construction. The bulk of the tale happens “now”, as in the present, but with an opening scene that takes place in Thor Odinson’s more impetuous youth and a closing scene that takes place far in the future featuring an old, battle-scared Thor, we get a really strong sense of the scope of the danger that Thor is about to face. It’s a danger that has spanned the ages and will, apparently, plague him all of his life. It’s a time honored storytelling tradition to tell the end of the story first and leave the audience wondering just how in the hell we are going to reach that point, and here it’s used to devastating effect.
When Jason Aaron was first announced as the new Thor writer I was immediately excited. Not only do I think that he’s one of the best and most versatile writers in comic books, but his sensibility is perfect for a character like Thor. The opening scene–featuring a young Thor consumed with fighting mighty creatures, drinking untold tankards of ale, and bedding as many young ladies as possible–is wildly entertaining from a character stand point. You get an immediate sense of who young Thor is: primarily a powerful young man who has never known hardship or adversity or anything less than adoration. When we flash forward to the present and meet the Thor of “now” that young man is still there under the surface. He might be older and wiser but he’s still willing to stop and drink ale and tell stories of his mighty valor to crowds of adoring worshipers. It’s the old Thor that is the most shocking. Things have clearly happened to him and those around him that have sapped all of the mirth from one whose life was once filled with nothing but. It’s a wonderful character study of the arc of one’s life told entirely in a single issue.
As excited as I was for Jason Aaron to write Thor, I was almost as equally excited to have Esad Ribic draw Thor, and he exceeded every expectation, and then some. I’ve known his work primarily from Uncanny X-Force and Ultimate Comics The Ultimates and knew right away that he’d be perfect for a Thor book. His style lends itself to a grand epic tale and if there was ever a character whose adventures fit that bill, it’s Thor. Just in the first issue alone the action spans the galaxy from the ancient fjords of Iceland to the planet Indigarr located deep in space and Ribic, along with fantastic colors from Dean White, renders it all beautifully.
Thor is tricky. I’ve always been a big fan of the character but only a sporadic fan of his books. He’s a character–quite like Wonder Woman over at DC–who I only find interesting when the proper tone is established. When the stories stray to far from the epic sword-and-sandal influenced adventures and too deeply into the often humorless machinations of the gods, I tend to lose interest. Right now, with this initial issue it seems as if Jason Aaron and company have found the right tone–a tone similar to that of the hugely successful film–one that features big action, great characterization, and twinges of humor, all set against the epic backdrop of gods and monsters.
Much like the renewed interest in the X-Men that I felt after seeing Bryan Singer’s X-Men in 2000, I have found that the recent Marvel Studios films have revived my love of Thor and my desire to follow his solo adventures. With Thor: God of Thunder #1 the future looks bright for Thor Odinson, even as it looks like he might be facing his greatest threat yet.
Story: 5 / Art: 5 / Overall: 5
(Out of 5 Stars)