Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 08.14.2013 – Thor: God of Thunder #11

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Avg Rating: 4.8
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 55.8%
 
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Thor_God of Thunder_11
Story by Jason Aaron
Art by Esad Ribic
Cover by Esad Ribic

Size: 32 pages
Price: 3.99

Lo, on a day in which most of the heaviest hitters in all of comic books lumbered into the arena to engage in glorious battle to decide the best comic book in all the land (this week at least), the god who wielded two hammers was the last man standing.

Really, how could there have been any doubt? Two hammers. Two.

Thor: God of Thunder #11 wraps up the epic eleven-part storyline that kicked off Jason Aaron’s run on the character that he now, looking back, seems pretty obviously born to write. I’ve been reading Thor comic books off-and-on for nearly 25 years and I cannot think of a Thor story that I have loved more than this tale of deicide, hypocrisy, and three Thors plucked from various moments in his life and made to stand side-by-side with the fate of all of the universe’s gods hanging in the balance. And that includes Walter Simonson’s rightfully legendary run on the character. That’s how good this story is.

When last we left the three Thors—old King Thor, current Thor of the Avengers, and Young Thor—they seemed to have failed in their attempt to stop Gorr The God Butcher from igniting his God Bomb which, once unleashed, would kill all of the living gods in the universe, and for good measure it would also kill all of the gods who had ever lived throughout time. It was a pretty powerful bomb. Wielding both his Mjolnir and the Mjolnir belonging to his older self, King Thor, Thor of the Avengers had entered the God Bomb to destroy it before it could go off.

As it turns out, the Thors successfully stop the bomb, defeat Gorr, and save the day just as we always knew they would. But the devil’s in the details and Thor: God of Thunder #11 perfectly encapsulates why this series has been so amazing and why we have sung its praises like a bunch of drunken Vikings.

First, let’s talk about artist Esad Ribic who was doing great work before this series on books like Ultimate Comics The Ultimates but who has leveled up into some sort of rarefied artistic stratosphere with the ten (out of eleven) issues that he drew here. There is a mythical quality to his art which, obviously, is appropriate for a story in which the fate of the gods lies in the balance. The sheer weight of the story comes through on every page—you can see the cracks and missing pieces in Mjolnir, Young Thor struts with overconfidence but his eyes also bulge wildly with fear, and each mighty blow—whether from fists or from magical hammers—reverberates off the page. I also continue to love that we can see Ribic’s pencil work beneath the coloring. It lends the work a wonderfully tactile feeling and adds a rough quality to his generally elegant line. Speaking of Ribic’s line, if Jae Lee draws with an ethereal elegance that gives his characters a light and airy feeling then Esad Ribic is his polar opposite—his characters have a delicate elegance that carries a tactile weight, both physical and emotional, that is almost contradictory. There is so much great body language and facial acting in Ribic’s work that you almost don’t need the script to follow along.

But oh, what a script.

It’s clear that writer Jason Aaron really gets Thor. He gets the mythical quality, he gets the reckless abandon, he gets the love of beards, he gets Asgard and its divine denizens. When gods do battle the stories should feel epic, they should feel important, and they should feel like everything hangs in the balance. When I read an epic Thor story like this one I should feel like I did when I first watched The Lord of the Rings on the big screen, I should feel like I’m watching magical being in whose every action hangs the fate of the world, or in this case, all of the worlds.

That’s the feeling I had reading this storyline and this issue.

Despite the fact that I knew that, of course, the Thors would prevail against the God Butcher it was still tense up until the very end. How would they—and every other god in the universe that existed and ever existed—survive the detonation of the God Bomb? What kind of emotional toll would this entire affair have on the Odinson? What would the young Thor, the middle Thor, and the old Thor have to teach one another? In the end it was the final two questions that had the most resonance for me because, after 11 issues, Aaron had crafted three distinct versions of the same person, each with their own personalities shaped by their experiences but also still all so clearly Thor. It was exquisite character work and I am going to so miss spending time with these three Thors; they play off of each other wonderfully.

As it turns out there is a lot of emotional fallout when you team-up with time displaced versions of yourself to save the lives of every god that has ever existed and when you are faced with those other versions of yourself you see that maybe not all of your hopes and dreams will be realized or you see all the squandered potential or perhaps you find renewed vigor to become the man you always hoped to be. In the end that was the real genius of this storyline that was brought to such a satisfying conclusion in Thor: God of Thunder #11—it was the story of a man who had to quite literally face himself in order to save all that which he held dear, and to do so he had to accept that man he was, is, and is destined to be.

No easy feat. Even for the God of Thunder.

Conor Kilpatrick
Why do the two Thors have to leave us? WHY?
conor@ifanboy.com


Comments

  1. I can’t wait to read this! I’ve loved this entire storyline. Just top notch across the board comic booking!!!

    I betting Batman is going to be pretty cool too, so to have this issue of Thor get the PoftW really makes me happy the Thor sorry ends on a big high note.

  2. “And for one moment that stretched across time… every god in all the universe closed their eyes… and prayed to Thor.”

    Often these HUGE EPIC MOMENTS they end these big stories get bogged down with purple prose or just ring false, trying to hammer home the drama…this is one of the rare times it just works wonderfully. Powerful but understated. Aaron’s narration/characterization is practically flawless throughout, and Ribic/Svoricina are doing the Lords work right now.

    If you missed out on this Thor: God of Thunder story, make sure you get the oversized hardcover when it comes out. Shit is fire. Instant Thor classic, and I don’t say that lightly.

  3. wraith1701 wraith1701 says:

    I’m ready for the trade. NOW.

    • Nightwing97 Nightwing97 says:

      You’re in luck. All Marvel trades come out like two weeks after a story is done! ;)

      I’ve heard goods things about it, so I’ll check it out, too!

  4. I gotta admit I read the first trade of this new Thor run and I just couldn’t get into it. The Ribic art was fantastic, as always, but for whatever reason the story couldn’t gel with me. Old Thor and Young Thor were fun though and I do agree we should see more of them. It’s like how I feel about Remender when it comes to Jason Aaron: Great ideas but their writing never holds me at all to become a fan. Still a good review though Conor.

    My POTW was INFINITY #1 because it was the first event since Final Crisis that actually entertained me.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      Classic.

    • ScottE ScottE says:

      I might be wrong but it sounds like you haven’t read past the first trade, if that it’s the case I think you should give it another chance and pick up the second half of this arc. Maybe when the Thor movie comes out they’ll put the issues out for a Marvel Monday at .99¢ on comixology and you could try them then. While I loved the first part I felt it really picked up and got amazing in the second half. I just finished reading this issue and it is honestly one of the greatest endings to a comic story I’ve read in a long time.

  5. Tuff_Ghost says:

    I had the biggest grin on my face reading this issue. Like you mentioned, I know Thor(s) will prevail but I was so tense with every page turn. I don’t know how he did it but he truly did make everything feel epic and have a weight to what was happening. Can’t wait to sit down and read the entire thing again. The character work at the end was fantastic.

  6. callthisrational callthisrational (@givexitxaxgo) says:

    EASILY POTW. This week was full of five-star books and they still couldn’t match the greatness of this story.

  7. Kamilo Kamilo says:

    Wow 4 picks from each of the 4 hosts in only 11 issues. Truly a modern classic.

  8. kmob181 kmob181 says:

    Two questions/comments:

    1) Where does Aaron go from here?
    2) Clearly my inability to grow a beard will keep me from achieving greatness or godhood in this lifetime.

    • Well, it seems by interviews the biggest thing to take away from this one is A) future stories involving Young and Old Thor, and B) Modern Thor wrestling with what it means to be a God, and what can he do to be a “good” God.

  9. JSAkid JSAkid says:

    Godbomb will make a great Deluxe HC.

  10. RobotZombie RobotZombie says:

    The best Thor story I have ever read.

    The action was stunning and epic but it was the personal moments between the Thors that made this story transcendent.
    Seeing the interactions between the three Thors, who at the same time hated and were in awe of their other selves, was amazing and Old King Thor’s last words to his younger selves was tragic and moving.

    Speaking of Old King Thor’s last words, how about that little cameo appearance by you know who?

  11. CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

    An epic issue, an amazing story and a superbly written review!

    My POTW as well.

  12. I loved the voice I heard in my head narrating this as it ended. It was like something from The Neverending Story haha.

  13. WacoKid says:

    Since I was about 10 Thor and Captain America have been competing as my favorite superhero, with Cap usually coming out on top. These 11 issues, with the incredible script and everything else in them have settled the debate. I still believe Cap to be the most essential member of The Avengers, but Thor is the greatest.

  14. randall4000 randall4000 says:

    Top notch! Sad to see this arc end but also looking forward to some new laughs on Midgard! I hope we haven’t seen the last of the 3 Thors!

  15. seanxxo seanxxo says:

    After reading infinity #1 I was positive that it’d be my pick but this just beat it, what a fantastic run.

  16. BronxRonin BronxRonin says:

    The only marvel book I really looked forward to took long to finish arc…but I liked it.

  17. “Eyes of a hawk, ears of a wolf, strength of the bear!” —- Bravestar is awesome, especially the movie.

  18. theWAC1 theWAC1 says:

    I loved the “symbolism” in this issue. Exquisite. This second arc was much more subtle but it drove the motif home very well. I kept thinking if the Thors as a trinity and thought Avenger Thor was very “Christ-like” in his action. Im probably reading too far into this, but it works for me. Great, great ending. And thank you Conor for not picking Batman.