Pick of the Week

June 12, 2013 – Thor: God of Thunder #9

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.8
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 40.9%
Users who pulled this comic:
Story by Jason Aaron
Art by Esad Ribic
Colors by Ive Svorcina
Cover by Esad Ribic & Julian Totino Tedesco

Size: 32 pages
Price: 3.99

Nine issues with three Picks of the Week is a pretty good run for a Marvel comic book these days. The most obvious reason this happened is that Thor: God of Thunder is smashingly good. The more I think about it, and the more I talk about, the more I find to love. This comic book series is reminding me of all the things I used to love about Thor, but repackaged in a perfect combination of modern and classic comics.

For some reason, when I used to see Esad Ribić on a book, I can’t explain it, but it wasn’t my thing. Then, this Thor thing comes along, and all of a sudden I’m in love. It’s like those rom-com movies where the characters never see that their true love has been right in front of them all along. Or I guess that’s what happened after I turned the movie off. The point is, this book is stunning to look at, in every possible light. I’d be surprised if we got issues this beautiful more than once every six months, but we’re getting a pretty regular dose, and I think there’s only been one alternate artist. This is a treasure of riches. I’m loathe to say that Ribić is solely responsible, because the color and texture added by colorist Ive Svorcina has such a huge portion of the responsibility of what we’re seeing. From the planet’s surface to battles in space, the visuals are coming in all different flavors and textures, and yet it all works together. The protagonists are three versions of the same character working in concert, and besides just having different outfits, they have different (but related) shapes and postures.

Then there’s the lettering. Has anyone mentioned the lettering? Because this is exceptional lettering from Joe Sabino. When I think of my favorite lettering (which is a thing I have), I think of John Workman and Walt Simonson from the classic 80s Thor run. The organic sound effects from that run are legendary, and while these aren’t the same, rumbles, grunts, and THWACKADOOOOOMs in this issue tickled me. Just leaf through the pages and check out the sounds of impact throughout the issue. They blend into the panels and move through the story in the best way. So often, the modern sound effects stand out when placed against pages like this, but they got the formula sorted out to make the whole package that much stronger. It’s really something special that most people aren’t going to notice. Make sure you do.

Writer Jason Aaron has lined up all these pieces, and it looks like we’re headed into the grim final battle, with the three Thors headed straight at Gorr, the big baddie. The conflict is suitably epic, and there is no single device in modern comics more fun than watching the tri-Thor interact with itself. Since we’re trained to expect stories to go in a certain way, we expect that this battle will close things off and good will be triumphant.

Except that I’m not entirely sure Gorr is wrong. Sure, he’s a butcher and he’s not a nice dude, but I don’t get the sense that he’s insane, or even blood thirsty. He thinks he’s right, and Aaron does a pretty good job at showing him in a different light, and at the same time, showing that he understands Thor, in all his varieties, and what drives him. When he pins down Thor’s motivations, I don’t think he was wrong. Do the gods of this universe really make things better? I’m not so sure. He’ll be vanquished, and good will triumph, but it won’t be clean, and the white or black hat scenario might not necessarily apply. It’s very well played nuance, and makes what could be rote much more interesting.

When all is said and done, the thing that really makes Thor: God of Thunder stand out for me is that I’m excited about it. I genuinely enjoy reading it, and I don’t nitpick, and think about the details. A review like this is hard to write for this issue, because I just experience it without analyzing it. So many other times, I’m not experiencing comics like I’m meant to because I think about them in terms of review and deconstruction. I have trained myself over the many years I’ve been doing this to see the bones of the thing, to see the trees instead of the forest, and this is one of the few books where I don’t do that. I just flat out enjoy it. I’m deluged with comic book content, and that can tend to flatten out the experience of reading comics, but this book transports me, and makes me remember what it is that I love about comics, even superhero comics, which I’ve had my issues with lately. And it’s not done by showing us how dark, and how grim these former children’s characters can be, even though there’s some grim stuff. It’s done by showing me how much fun Thor can be, and in a way, how silly he is at the same time. Nine issues in, and I feel like I could read this story forever. It’s that good.

Josh Flanagan
I guess Conor needs to write one now.


  1. That’s gonna be a hard pick to argue with, since the book is so consistently awesome. But I had a BIG week with a lot of strong books, so I’m anxious to get home and start reading.

    BTW – is there a way for us mortals to view Paul’s, Conor’s, and your pull lists? I’d like to see what else you read that might have been in contention for POTW.

  2. I’m in agreement with this pick, in a big way. This particular comic came along right at a time when I’d begun to pull away from comics in general, and superhero comics in specific. This one, though, grabbed me before I even realized it. A cursory look when the storyline started indicated to me that it seemed similar to earlier storylines, some still rather fresh in memory. But it began to worm its way into my mind, making me think about it days and weeks after I’d finished an issue.

    There definitely is a tension inherent to the book – the sheer fun and occasional lunacy of comics at their classic juvenile best vs an increasing streak of doubt on the part of the reader, and, perhaps, the protagonist himself, that the bad guy may actually have a good point. I don’t like Gorr, and hope the Thor triumvirate bash him good, but that’s more due to his methods rather than his reasons concerning what he does.

    I’d gotten more than a little tired of all the crossovers in Thor books and Journey into Mystery. Thor: God of Thunder came along and gave us what is not just a self-contained storyline, but almost a self-contained universe. I, too, felt much the same way, that I could read this story forever. That’s tempered by the knowledge that it won’t last that long, of course, and the events in it will be ephemeral in the larger Marvel Universe scheme of things. But I think this storyline and art will stick with me long after the comic has moved far beyond them.

  3. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    My pick as well. Sweet lords beyond heaven, that was great!

  4. Josh, you guys need to BBQ again (or at least SkypeBQ), so that you can call this out on your top five:)

  5. This and Saga are my must reads every month. There’s so much packed into every issue, but it never feels overdone. Aaron has introduce a great villain in Gorr. He’s memorable and feels like a genuine threat.

  6. Great review Josh this is my pick too. On a side note is it me or does Josh’s POW reviews always come out earlier in the day?

  7. Sucks for me, I’m trade-waiting! 🙁 It’s so popular my LCS rans out of issues so I gotta wait… BUT, the first hardcover that just came out is so good, I recommend it to people who were stupid enough like me to pass on this on the initial run! 😉

    • I’ve done the same thing with Nova and I regret it every time I hear someone say how much fun it is.

    • Agree about the first trade. Just finished it last night and it is SOOOO good. Makes me really want to break out the old Simonson stuff and re-read it.

  8. Wow this must have been a good issue to beat out Superman Unchained, Zero Year, and Long Road to Hell

  9. Lightning does strike three times in the same place!

    This was my Pick of the Week as well. Your review Josh hit many of the same points I use to describe why I am so enamored with Aaron/Ribic’s Thor series. Most of all – I’m excited about it and it’s the title I look forward to the most each month!

    I’ve never been a big Thor fan (…even Simonson’s run…I know, I know), but for me, the fact that I’m a monthly consumer of the God of Thunder, is the biggest testament to how fantastic this series continues to be.

  10. I’ve been reading it through Marvel Unlimited. I’ve gone through the first two issues and its amazing. Glad the real deal lived up to the hype.

  11. Just finished the first HC last night, wow… This epic is destined to stand right next to Simonson’s run as the Thor story of a generation. That’s a given as Aaron continues his reign of excellence and versatility at Marvel. And Ribic’s still got it as a painter, always has always will, but after loving his pencil debut on “Ultimates” and looking at this book it’s clear he’s getting even tighter and there’s a synergery with Svorcina that eclipses what I thought was the artist’s pinnacle with Dean White on colors. Great pick and a great book, and it’s great Marvel’s getting these collections out fast because I can’t wait…

  12. This book was just amazing. Aaron’s voice in this book is what stood out for me. It’s very easy to overdo the “epic” sound, and make things seem like an episode of Dragonball Z. This one truly feels like I’m reading some ancient bardic myth about an epic battle between gods and monsters. Aaron pulls back though at just the right time to bring it back down to “Earth”, so to speak. When Gorr tells Thor, “I changed my mind. You’re my favorite Thor”, it strikes the perfect mocking tone. The looks on Thor’s face does convey exactly what they were saying in that scene too. He looks like he knows they can’t win.

    Damn, I’m so jacked when each issue of this book comes out.

  13. Excellent review, sir. I have nothing constructive to add, except…

    That two-page spread.

    God. Damn.

  14. I read this prior to reading Zero Year and Superman Unchained. I saved my Snyder for last because it could wait and simmer. As I closed Thor I said out loud, “gonna be tough to beat this for pick of the week, Scott.”

    Jason Aaron is so lyrical with this narrative, so much poetry especially as he wraps up the issue. So so so good.

    If you somehow had managed not to heed the clamoring the last 8 times someone has said you need to be reading Thor might I suggest your cynicism has lead you astray.

  15. “Then there’s the lettering. Has anyone mentioned the lettering?”

    Hehe. After three POWs, that’s gotta be about the only thing you haven’t talked about yet. Haha. Just winding you up. Nice review, a good book on all accounts.

  16. In this book we have Thor doing things and operating on levels of power that I haven’t seen before.
    Under another writer I would most likely have a problem with it but Aaron is writing a book about Thor the god and not Thor the superhero.
    This is Thor doing things that only a god could do and no other Marvel character could meet this challenge.

    Beautiful and Amazing.

  17. The Asgardians need regular doses of the golden apples of Idunn in order to maintain their puissance and essential immortality. Without partaking of the apples, Asgardians become essentially human. How are Gorr’s Asgardian captives getting their necessary doses of Idunn’s apples?

  18. So does this beat out Fury MAX from last year? Or are they tied. I just remember seeing it picked a bunch. And for good reason, great storytelling by great storytellers. I always thought of Aaron as being a product of reading lots of Ennis work. I’m glad he decided to find his voice in mainstream super hero comics. It was sooooo needed.

  19. This was page after page of awesomeness! 90% of the panels could make Best of the Week. The fight scenes were thunderous with beautifully done positions, the dialogue was great and snappy, the opening scene was insightful, there was sadness, YOUNG THOR ON A SPACE SHARK SHOOTING LASERS OUT OF IT’S EYES! So much happened so perfectly. I’m with you Josh, I’m sure this comic has its problems, but it is done so damn well that I see right past it. We had been waiting awhile to see the going-downs of this issue and it delivered. Great pick.

  20. I primarily read DC but have hopped back into Marvel on a few titles. Thor is one of them. This issue is why.

    Utterly amazing. The book almost felt lyrical, truly invoking a sense of mythology. Can’t argue with this as Pick of the Week. It’s just too good.

  21. Aaron is killing it with Thor, but Wolverine and the X-men was perfecto!