ADVANCE REVIEW: Thor: God of Thunder #1 (Minor Spoilers)

Thor: God of Thunder #1

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

Oh.

Oh boy.

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)

Comments

  1. SuperMoore SuperMoore says:

    I can’t wait to read this on Wednesday!

  2. Dan Kelly Dan Kelly says:

    I am so pumped for this and even more so now Conor has reviewed it. I agree completely about the tone of the book and am glad you have reviewed it so highly!

    What a day of comic goodness tomorrow brings!

  3. I think this has officially become my most anticipated book of Marvel now.

  4. Damn. I wish Land was drawing this instead. Seriously, I’m kidding.

  5. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    I was looking forward to this. Now I’m pumped. Thanks Conor.

  6. zlbenson zlbenson says:

    I have been very much on the edge with this. I have no affinity for Thor, nor Jason Aaron (because I haven’t read much of his stuff) – but the concept and art has me very intrigued.

  7. Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

    Holy crap, do not miss this.

  8. superharley superharley says:

    After reading the review I’m even more excited for this.

  9. 400yrs 400yrs says:

    Well, with two of the ifanboys liking it, I guess I will be trying this. I love me some Jason Aaron, but don’t really care for Ribic. I really don’t like that cover at all.

  10. MegaPhilip MegaPhilip says:

    I’m extremely hesitant about adding a $3.99 ongoing book but I think I’ll cave and buy this. I love Jason Aaron and the tone and set up of this has me more excited than any other Marvel NOW book. I guess I’d rather pay the extra dollar for something pumped for…

  11. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    (Disclaimer: I write the recaps for this series as well as X-Men Legacy, accessed through the AR App)

    This book is stellar. It’s the book I was most looking forward to in the Marvel NOW! launch, and damn does it deliver. Aaron and Ribic in top form. Totally deserving of those 5s.

    If you dig on this, definitely check out Ribic’s Loki mini-series. It’s the source for that Thor & Loki Blood Brothers motion comic. He’s SO good at the sword and sorcery stuff.

  12. r3v r3v says:

    Jason Aaron + Thor mean’s I’m in. A 5/5 preview? I’m even more excited.

  13. mickmac59 mickmac59 says:

    Dammit! I was trying so hard to cull my list & then I read this review. Oh well *sighs* take my money.

  14. kmob181 kmob181 says:

    I had budgeted for two Marvel NOW books but I ended up settling on three. This was the very first one I added. Jason Aaron is fantastic on the right book and a character-driven story with deep mythology seemed like the perfect fit (a bit like Scalped). That being said I thought the Thor movie was meh to crappy.

  15. Nordh Nordh says:

    After reading it this morning I couldn’t agree more. What a fantastic book and I can’t believe I’ll get more of this in two weeks. I feel utterly spoiled.

  16. Cronin Cronin says:

    Mr Aaron rarely disappoints.

  17. KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

    Add me to the chorus of folks who weren’t planning on getting this until this week’s deluge of rave reviews. I’ve never been big on Thor, but all the positive buzz is making me feel like this is a party I can’t be late to.

  18. Frank S says:

    Mr Aaron did it right and Esad’s art was a joy…by the way, I did enjoy the nod to the 13th Warrior and the man who really would have been a great Thor, Vladmir Kulich.